KC Royals top prospect Raul Mondesi‘s strong showing in spring training is raising hopes that the 20-year-old middle infielder is due for a breakout season at the plate.
Scouts across baseball recognize young KC Royals shortstop Raul Mondesi’s prodigious tools, but retain reservations about his future until he enjoys success at the plate. Well-respected analyst Keith Law (who once worked for the Toronto Blue Jays player personnel department) had this to say about Mondesi while ranking him the no. 73 prospect in baseball:
"As for his performance, Mondesi was overmatched by Double-A pitching and was victimized by the lack of an approach at the plate that haunted him last year in high-A as well. He was the only teenaged position player in the Texas League last year and didn’t belong there due to poor plate discipline and a mandate to try to bunt for hits that limits the times he can work the count and develop an approach. His swing is fine, and as he gets stronger he should develop plenty of doubles power, while the other key tools — glove, arm, running speed — are already in place.Right now, he looks as if he’ll develop into a player a lot like the one above him on the depth chart, Alcides Escobar, a great defensive shortstop who contributes very little with the bat. But Mondesi is so young and still so athletically gifted that he has a chance to be much more."
Raul Mondesi has flashed significant improvement at the plate this spring while facing big league competition. In his first invite to major-league camp with the Kansas City Royals, Mondesi has responded with a solid .310/.333/.414 triple slash through 19 games (and 29 at bats) in Surprise, Arizona.
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While Mondesi’s .747 OPS probably will not win him a roster spot with the KC Royals coming out of spring training, it’s a big step up for a guy that has a career .246/.293/.365 triple slash in four minor league seasons. His .310 batting average, .414 slugging percentage, and .747 OPS would all be career highs if he can maintain them. That’s a significant improvement when you consider that Mondesi’s one at bat for the Kansas City Royals in the 2016 World Series was his first plate appearance above AA.
As things now stand, the KC Royals front office probably want to see Raul Mondesi dominate AAA before promoting him to Kansas City. The team has aggressively advanced him through the system and Mondesi needs to show that he’s developed a clear approach at the plate before starting the clock on his major league service.
That being said, don’t be surprised to see Mondesi taking over second base for the KC Royals if veteran Omar Infante and utility man Christian Colon continue to struggle at the plate once the season begins.