Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Not to be confused with his father, this Raul Mondesi is an 18 year old shortstop that played for the Wilmington Blue Rocks last season. Even though his numbers in Wilmington were quite underwhelming, as Mondesi posted a .211/.256/.354 batting line with eight home runs, one has to remember that he was also approximately five years younger than the average age in the Carolina League last year.
That, at least to some degree, explains why Mondesi is considered one of the top prospects in baseball. In fact, Mondesi is considered to be the 27th best prospect in baseball by Baseball Prospectus, and is 28th according to Baseball America. Given his pure tools, it is easy to see why the Royals, and those who follow the minors, would be excited as to what the future would hold for Mondesi.
Even though Raul Mondesi was, at times, overmatched in Wilmington, there were still a few signs that he could develop a solid offensive game. His speed was on display, as Mondesi stole 17 bases and hit twelve triples last year. Those numbers also had the potential to improve with normalized luck with the batted ball, as Mondesi only had a .273 batting average on balls in play.
Obviously, Mondesi still needs a lot of work before his offense is ready for the majors. He drew only 24 walks in 472 plate appearances while striking out 122 times. An improved approach, and better recognition of the strike zone, could well be the key to unlocking the offensive potential within Mondesi.
While it may seem as though the Royals are rushing the young shortstop, Raul Mondesi has been moved up exactly one level each year. Likely to start the season in AA, it will be interesting to see if his offensive game begins to show signs of maturation, or if he will, once again, be overmatched by the competition.
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