KC Royals: “Like father, like son” for KC’s Mondesi?

Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images
Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images /
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KC Royals
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It didn’t take Raul Mondesi long to establish himself as a valuable outfielder in the National League. He could hit for power and average, was an All-Star and earned two Gold Gloves.

Like his son Adalberto, Raul Mondesi caught the eyes of major league scouts in the Dominican Republic and cashed in on his baseball talent as a teenager–he signed with the Dodgers as a 17-year old in 1988, while his son beat him by a year when he signed with the KC Royals when he was just 16.

Proof that the Dodgers hadn’t wasted money on Raul came swiftly. He debuted in 1990 in Rookie ball where, in 44 games, he hit .303 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs and stole 30 bases. He played at three levels the next season–High A, AA and AAA, and hit a cumulative .277 in 83 games; he hit .296 between AA and AAA in 1992. Then, 12 homers, 65 RBIs and a .280 average at AAA in 1993 earned him his first taste of the big leagues. Summoned to LA for 42 games, he hit .291 and never appeared in a Dodger minor league contest again.

Raul hit .306 (123 OPS+) with the Dodgers in 1994 and reaffirmed his power with 16 homers in 112 games. Those numbers, together with 27 doubles, eight triples, 11 steals and a .849 OPS were good enough for Rookie of the Year honors. He was an All-Star and Gold Glover the next season.

He played five more years in LA; despite hitting .253, his lowest Dodger average, he achieved his career highs in homers (33), RBIs (99) and stolen bases (36) in 1999. His Dodger days ended with 163 homers, 518 RBIs, 140 steals, a .288/.334/.504 slash, and 122 OPS+, and he won both his Gold Gloves as an LA outfielder.

The elder Mondesi then spent three years with Toronto, averaging 22 homers and over 65 RBIs a season; he slashed.251/.328/.470 with a 103 OPS+. In the four years that followed, he wound down his career with the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Pirates, Angels, and Braves, never recapturing the performances of his Dodger years. He retired after the 2005 campaign–10 years before Adalberto would make a historic major league debut.

Raul’s was an admirable 13-season career: he hit 271 homers, drove in 860 runs, stole 229 bases, hit .273 and had a 113 OPS+.