The KC Royals are one of the fastest teams in all of baseball. Adalberto Mondesi is a large reason why, and he’s getting national respect for it.
For years, the KC Royals have been built on speed and defense. With how spacious Kauffman Stadium is as a ballpark, it only makes sense to have some of the game’s fastest players flying around the diamond. Shortstop Adalberto Mondesi certainly fits that mold.
After swiping 32 bags in 75 games during the 2018 season, Mondesi followed it up with another 43 stolen bases last season in 102 contests. The Royals have always listed his speed as one of his best traits, and it was a large part of why he was so heavily-recruited towards the beginning of the last decade.
Not only does it show up on the basepaths, but Mondesi accelerates quickly and has the range to get to just about any ball hit his way on defense. While the shortstop has accumulated some injuries recently as a result of his proclivity to dive after fieldable balls, his athletic ability still brings tremendous value to his overall game. Should he figure out how to be a bit safer, we could hopefully soon see a full season of Mondesi — something we’ve yet to witness.
MLB.com recently published an article listing the fastest players in the AL Central. Mondesi got the nod for the KC Royals, which should come as no surprise. Team beat writer Jeffrey Flanagan explained how some have predicted Mondesi could possibly steal upwards of 60 bases a year in the future. He also gave some interesting analysis on his speed, putting it in numerical terms:
"“Statcast backs up the argument of Mondesi’s elite speed. His 29.9 feet/second average sprint speed in 2019 was ninth best in baseball, a tick ahead of Gore and Hamilton. Mondesi had 68 “Bolts” — those runs about 30 feet/second — which was second best in MLB, despite missing over a third of the season.”"
Flanagan is referring to Terrance Gore and Billy Hamilton, of course, two former Royals with blazing speed. They were in the conversation for fastest-on-the-team honors, much like Mondesi. With both of the aforementioned players having moved on to greener pastures, it’s the 24-year-old Mondesi’s crown for the taking.
There haven’t been many more exciting players on the KC Royals in recent years than Adalberto Mondesi. He’s always flashed potential but due to inconsistency and multiple injuries, he has yet to put it all together. In what will be a shortened 2020 season (assuming we get one), perhaps that time is now.