2020 KC Royals player season preview: Adalberto Mondesi

KC Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi played a career-high amount of games in 2019, but still missed a lot of time. Can he turn in a complete 2020?

Welcome to the continuation of Kings of Kauffman‘s 2020 KC Royals season previews. Leading up to spring training, we’ll be breaking down 30 different Royals. Our analysis will include what they accomplished last season, what to expect this season, along with any other information pertinent to the player. Today’s subject: Adalberto Mondesi.

Mondesi, son of former major leaguer Raul Mondesi, debuted in the 2015 World Series at the age of 20. He then played 72 regular season games over the next two seasons combined, hitting under .200 in both stints with the team. Despite having immense speed and a good glove, it was clear that Mondesi needed additional time in the minor league system before seeing extended action at the MLB level.

2018 was a breakthrough year for Mondesi. Playing in 75 games, he managed to post a .276/.306/.498 line (.804 OPS) with 14 home runs. He also stole 32 bases and held things down quite well at short. It was a partial season for him but overall, Mondesi finally gave the Royals a glimpse of what he was capable of at the age of 22.

What did he offer last season?

On the season, Mondesi played 102 games. He missed half of July and the entire month of Aug. because of a shoulder injury, then reaggravated the same shoulder in Sept. and underwent surgery. He’s set to return for Opening Day but nonetheless, health continued to be a concern for the young shortstop.

Mondesi also took a bit of a step back at the plate last season. His OPS dropped from .804 to .715, along with him striking out more often (132 times). On the bright side, both stolen bases and defense were areas to be proud of once again. It wasn’t the 2019 many expected for Mondesi, but he was still a 2.6-win player.

What should we expect in 2020?

Here are two stat line projections for Mondesi’s 2020 season, courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs:

B-Ref: 417 AB, .266/.306/.451 line, 6 3B, 15 HR, 60 RBI, .757 OPS, 34 SB
FG: 600 AB, .253/.293/.430 line, 9 3B, 20 HR, 76 RBI, .723 OPS, 48 SB

There’s a lot to unpack here. Firstly, it appears Baseball-Reference doesn’t plan on Mondesi playing a full season. His at-bats are nearly identical to 2019, but the results predict a bit of a bounce-back campaign. FanGraphs anticipates a complete season’s worth of ABs for Mondesi, but with a trade-off between power and on-base skills. The stolen base total looks crazy, but he’s certainly capable of swiping close to 50 bags.

The verdict

Adalberto Mondesi is a good player. He’s only 24 years old. The KC Royals know how high his ceiling is, though. Mondesi possesses All-Star potential. At his peak, he should be a player with great raw power, average on-base skills, elite speed and terrific defense. Until then, he’s a player with good raw power, poor on-base skills and some injury concerns.

The defense and speed alone will make Mondesi valuable. If he can stay healthy for the entire season, though, he could be in for a huge year. The pieces are there — they simply need to be put together to form what may turn out to be an amazing puzzle that is Mondesi’s 2020 season.

 

Next: 2020 season preview: Alex Gordon

What do you think, Royals fans? Is Mondi in for his best season yet, or will he struggle? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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