After a few years of shorter stints in the majors, the Kansas City Royals shortstop has to prove he can finally live up to his superstar potential.
For the Kansas City Royals, Adalberto Mondesi is becoming a household name. He’s muddled around in the Royals system since 2012 and has now found his way to being the full-time shortstop at Kauffman Stadium. The problem for Mondesi is that in the season where he was on track to prove his worth, he was held back by injuries.
Mondesi was included in a recent article as a dark horse candidate to bat .300 in 2020, but let’s have a quick refresh on his offensive statistics for 2019. Mondesi finished the season with 102 games, 20 doubles, 10 triples, 9 home runs, 43 stolen bases, 62 RBIs and slashed .263/.291/.424. Mondesi also only had 19 walks but 132 strikeouts.
Other than the triples and stolen bases, the other numbers probably don’t jump out to anyone as “superstar” numbers. This leads to some questions of whether Mondesi will ever live up to the superstar that he could potentially be.
Obviously, he must continue to work on his discipline at the plate. Mondesi takes a lot of strikeouts and it really hurts his numbers and potential. If he were smashing 30 plus home runs every year, it might be something that one could look past, but unfortunately for Mondi, the home runs haven’t started flying.
There is something to be said though for his numbers along with his injuries in 2019. Mondesi was able to keep a decent batting average, and even saw his on-base percentage start to rise before he fell into his first injury of the season. After the domino effect of injuries that kept him out a majority of the season after mid-June, Mondesi never really found his footing again.
It’s unfortunate, as the Royals didn’t get to see what a full season of Mondesi can really do. He was on track to likely bat in the .280-.290 range, and he trailed for the lead in stolen bases by only a couple with far fewer games many others in the race. Mondesi’s offense is sadly still in a state of unknowns until he can put together an entire season without injuries getting in the way.
For defense, Mondesi looks to be a little more on track. Because his defense is progressing better than his offense, a comparison seemed like a good idea. To determine if Mondesi can live up to his “superstar” potential, it’s important to compare him to, well, a superstar. Enter: Francisco Lindor.
This article is not about Lindor, but his stats can be useful in determining where Mondesi places on the scale of good shortstops. Let’s list out their 2019 standard fielding stats to see how the two shortstops line up. These stats are only those from the shortstop position.
Mondesi: Games: 100; Chances: 440; Put Outs: 147; Assists: 286; Errors: 7; Double Plays : 66; Fielding Percentage: .984; Range Factor per 9 innings: 4.57.
Lindor: Games: 137; Chances: 481; Put Outs: 159; Assists: 312; Errors: 10; Double Plays: 68; Fielding Percentage: .979; Range Factor per 9 innings: 3.54
See any similarities? Now, give Mondesi 37 more games at shortstop. There is little doubt that with the same production, Mondesi would have similar stats defensively to Lindor, a superstar shortstop.
Little needs to be said in the argument for Mondi’s defense. The stats speak for themselves and show that he is definitely living up to his potential in that aspect.
The superstar potential case for Mondesi is strong, but he is going to have to continue to work and progress if he wants to prove that he is living up to his full value. At 23, his defensive abilities are following right along with one of the best shortstops in baseball, but his offense obviously trails.
If he can start 2020 like he did 2019, batting close to .300 and using his outstanding base running, Mondesi might just be able to push himself over the edge and start to see the recognition and awards start to fall into place.
The Royals need Mondesi healthy and for him to finally have a full breakout season. With hopes of contention in the near future following this poor rebuild the team has found themselves in, a top tier shortstop who can tear it up at the plate will help to push the Royals even closer to that goal.