Adalberto Mondesi made his debut for the Kansas City Royals in the 2015 World Series but needs to make these adjustments to take the next step.
I couldn’t even begin to understand the pressure that Kansas City Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi felt when he made his major league debut on the most grand of stages. He had just the one at-bat in Game 3 against Noah Syndergaard, in which he struck out, but he’s no doubt been one of the most exciting players on the field.
If not for dislocating his shoulder in mid-July, the 24-year old would surely have at least 50 stolen bases in his first full season. Entering Tuesday, Mondesi has a slash line of 0.266/0.294/0.422 with 18 doubles, 9 triples, 7 home runs and 54 RBI’s. In order for him to keep developing, he’s missing one critical element to his key.
Mondesi has just a 4.3 percent walk rate which is pretty consistent with his career average of 4.2 percent. Former Royals’ centerfield, Billy Hamilton, had a ton of speed as well but the knock on him was that he couldn’t steal first base. Hamilton had a career-high 0.321 on-base percentage in 119 games with the Reds during the 2016 season. Combined with his poor hitting and lack of ability to draw walks, Hamilton was released by the Royals earlier this season.
Mondesi will need to work on his plate discipline as he comes into his prime if he doesn’t want to have a similar path as Hamilton. Per Fangraphs, he is swinging at 41.4 percent of pitches outside of the strike zone with the league average being 31.5 percent. He’s making contact with approximately 44 percent of pitches outside the zone and is generally seeing just 47 percent of all pitches thrown to him within the strike zone.
This tells me that opposing teams have figured him out and know that’ll extend his zone quite often which likely results in poor contact or a missed swing altogether. I’d like for him to slow down a bit and take a couple more pitches per at-bat as he is currently one of the worst in the big leagues in that category (3.61 pitches per plate appearance).
With as many bases as Mondesi steals, increasing his walk rate closer to 10 percent would do wonders for the rest of the lineup as more times on base would result in more times distracting the pitcher. Fangraphs has projected his 2020 slash line to be 0.269/0.305/0.500 but it would be ideal if his OBP were at least 0.330 with 0.350 preferable.