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, Adalberto Mondesi
(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

Not yet 25 but a veteran of at least parts of the past four regular seasons–and a World Series–with the KC Royals, Adalberto Mondesi seems destined, like his father, to have an excellent major league career.

Adalberto Mondesi is busy in Arizona’s spring training sunshine, working his way back to the KC Royals’ lineup after injuries cut short his 2019 season and required shoulder surgery. He is sure to resume his role as the KC Royals’ shortstop in what will officially be his fifth big league season. Remarkably, and at only age 24 on Opening Day, this will be his ninth professional campaign, a result of the deal he signed to join the Royals as a 16-year old in 2011.

When he was 24, Adalberto’s father Raul was playing in his second full major league season and would be named to the NL All-Star team and win a Gold Glove to go with the NL Rookie of the Year award he won the year before. Adalberto has yet to become an All-Star or win a Gold Glove, but he has one thing Raul never will–a World Series ring, a career treasure acquired in historic fashion. Without spending even a second above AA ball before the 2015 Series, he found himself on the Royals’ Series roster.

He was the Royals’ “specialist” in the Series, having displaced Terrance Gore from that role because, unlike Gore at the time, he offered slick defense, could handle the bat and bunt, was a switch-hitter, and could steal bases like Gore. Although he struck out in his only at bat, he became the first player in modern baseball history to make his big league debut in the World Series…and won a ring.

Adalberto made it back to Kansas City the next season but hit only .185 in 47 games, then .170 in 25 2017 contests. His 2018 was far better–in 75 games, he clubbed 14 homers, hit .276, had an .804 OPS (115 OPS+), stole 32 bases, and claimed the shortstop job for his own.

Had last season not been interrupted twice by the injuries that shortened his campaign to 102 games, young Mondesi might have had even better numbers than he did. Despite missing almost 40% of KC’s games, he still had 20 doubles, 10 triples, 9 homers, and 62 RBIs, and stole 43 bases. In parts of four seasons, he now has 35 doubles, 16 triples, 26 homers, 115 RBIs and 89 steals. His .249 average and .282 OBP require significant improvement, but his steals prove he knows what to do when he gets on base.

For Adalberto, the key is to stay healthy. The question is, can he?