Adalberto Mondesi must stay healthy for KC Royals in 2020

Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images /

Adalberto Mondesi is considered a franchise centerpiece for the KC Royals. He won’t be able to recognize that potential if he can’t stay healthy, though.

The KC Royals had a rough 2019 season. While the team lost 100-plus games for the second-consecutive season, there were a few bright spots for fans to hang their hats on. One of them was shortstop Adalberto Mondesi.

Mondesi, who entered his most recent season facing high expectations both from himself and supporters of the team, was able to play in just 102 games last season. After bursting onto the scene in 2018 to the tune of a 115 OPS+ and 14 home runs, he came back down to earth. In 443 plate appearances throughout the 2019 season, Mondesi hit for a .263/.291/.424 line and saw his home run total drop to nine.

He still played terrific defense and was able to steal an impressive 43 bases on the year, contributing to the 2.6 WAR he accumulated. When Mondesi was on the field, regardless of whether he was hitting well, he was quite a valuable player. That’s a testament to just how good he is at tracking balls at short and speeding around the basepaths.

A shoulder injury ended Mondesi’s 2019 season early, although it’s expected that he’ll be ready to go for Opening Day. Without an offseason to assume a normal training routine, it’s rational to wonder if that could throw him a bit out of wack. The good news is that even if his bat doesn’t come around to start the year, it should once the game slows back down for him.

Contrary to what he’d do earlier in his career, Mondesi started off the season early and regressed as the days went by. Even as recent as 2018, he had a tendency to get off to an immensely-slow jump out of the gate. With that issue seemingly behind him, perhaps a complete 2020 season is in the cards for the son of former major leaguer Raul Mondesi.

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If the KC Royals are to win anything close to 70 games in 2020 (one of the more positive projections by fans), Adalberto Mondesi needs to remain healthy for the entire season. His defense and speed are both invaluable, and his production at the plate should only improve over time. Mondesi has star written all over him — it’ll be up to him whether or not he lives up to the hype.