Adalberto Mondesi found offensive success for the Kansas City Royals in late 2018, and he is looking to build off of that in 2019.
Adalberto Mondesi was called up to the Kansas City Royals in June, and his bat looked no different than on his previous call ups. A batting average around .200, with few extra base hits, and no evidence he had turned a corner. His place in the batting order in early June was in the mid to lower half of the line up. Ned Yost dropped him into ninth in the order near the end of the month.
This was a significant move for Mondesi. Now in front of Whit Merrifield, he finally started getting some hits. However, he was not driving the ball that much. In his first 100 at bats, he had only nine extra base hits. This pace continued until late August when his power came alive. In his last 121 at bats he had 37 Hits, five doubles, three triples and 10 home runs. This was as impressive as Ryan O’Hearn‘s end of the season.
It’s highly doubtful Mondesi will repeat that performance over an entire year. The question is, can he be the impact player the Royals believe he can be? For a little over a month, he was one of the most productive ballplayers in the game. What factors were involved that led to that kind of production?
The Royals themselves began to have success around that same time. That kind of momentum can have a positive effect on a team. By that time, Mondesi was surrounded by several of his teammates from Omaha. However, he started the season with them in Omaha. He wasn’t hitting like that then. Batting in front of Merrifield led to more fastballs and pitches around the plate. That certainly helped him.
The factor I find most interesting came out late in the year. I believe it was J.J. Picollo who said, in an interview, that Mondesi didn’t do weight training during the season. He believed only injured players worked out between games. It seems this is a common belief among young Latin players. He wanted to play and didn’t want to give them a reason to leave him out of the lineup.
They were able to convince Mondesi that working out would not only make him stronger, but also help him hold up better throughout the season. It wasn’t said when this transformation took place, although that may explain the increase in power. Some of his homers were very impressive. Most traveled over 400 feet.
I believe confidence is another factor. As Mondesi started to successfully drive the ball, you could see him begin to relax at the plate. He also began attacking the ball in a way he didn’t do earlier in the year. That aggressiveness did also lead to an increase in strikeouts, which is something he is going to have to watch in 2019.
I believe the keys to Mondesi’s success in 2019 will be to keep attacking the ball. He will see more fastballs around the plate if Merrifield gets on base and distracts the pitcher. He will see more balls in the zone if there is production behind him as well. If the three and four hitters do well, pitchers will have to pitch to him. With his speed, they can’t afford to walk him and have someone drive him in.
That is why I believe Mondesi is going to have a pretty good year in 2019. It could end up being a breakout year for him. A .275/320/500 line with something near 60 extra base hits is a reasonable result. It could go higher if the team gets hot. Winning has a way of lifting the performance of everybody.