KC Royals: Is Adalberto Mondesi a 2021 MVP candidate?

The KC Royals might not always be the first thought when it comes to regular season awards, but some think their shortstop is on track to win one.

Adalberto Mondesi is an enigma. That might not be everyone’s top choice of word, but it fits as the KC Royals shortstop is not only mesmerizing and unbelievable at times, but is also often a letdown, putting up disappointing numbers. Mondesi, as enigma describes, is difficult to understand.

During the 2020 season, there was a point at which it looked like Mondesi might not be able to turn things around. He had hit a slump that could easily send a normal player at the major league level packing. Luckily for Mondesi, the Royals don’t see him as just any normal player.

Mondesi has been given plenty of time to succeed and will be given more. The organization feels that he has the potential to be an All-Star player, and as long as there is hope, he will continue to get a chance.

Recently, Mondesi was picked as the Royals most likely award candidate for 2021 over at mlb.com, and an MVP award at that. Of course, this comes with some stipulations. Mondesi will have to be able to stay healthy for the entire season. Not only this, but he must do what he did to end the 2020 season, and can’t do what he did to start it.

When the season ended, Mondesi was slashing .256/.294/.416. His slash doesn’t scream MVP, but it might be a little more impressive when seeing what he had to do to salvage his season and even reach those numbers.

Looking at his month by month breakdown, it’s easy to see the shift.

In July, Mondesi slashed .206/.206/.294. He had 12 strikeouts over 34 at-bats, no walks, no RBIs, 7 hits, and 1 stolen base. A slow start by all means, but many players saw slow starts in the delayed season. Unfortunately, August didn’t get any better.

In August, Mondesi slashed .179/.212/.221. He stuck out 30 times over 95 at-bats, had 17 hits, 2 RBIs, 3 walks, and 7 stolen bases. His hits were often spaced out and he only managed more than 1 hit in 2 August contests. Something had to change and luckily in September, it did.

September again started slow for Mondesi, but he quickly picked things up. To start the month, he was batting under .200, and his on-base and slugging percentages weren’t far behind.

For the month of September alone, Mondesi slashed .356/.408/.667, striking out 28 times over 90 at-bats but adding 32 hits, 22 runs, 6 home runs, 20 RBIs, 8 walks, and 16 stolen bases. Those are MVP numbers.

With these numbers, fans can see why Mondesi was picked for a potential MVP candidate in 2021, but he must show he can continue this success as the Royals believe he can.

Kansas City believes that end-of-the-season burst has allowed Mondesi to turn a corner, and that he is capable of racking up at least 40 doubles, 10 triples and 20 homers, all while stealing 60-plus bases. That’s MVP stuff. mlb.com

For Mondesi, the fact is simple, he must produce. His defense is not in question. He struggled at times during the 2020 season, but never presented a huge defensive concern. His offense, though, has been too inconsistent to provide any real confidence for his future.

If 2021 can continue how 2020 ended, Mondesi might finally stop being the enigma, and start being the MVP that many think he can be.

MLB.com picked Adalberto Mondesi as the Royal’s top award candidate for 2021. While 2020 was far from an MVP season for the shortstop, he still might have what it takes to turn things around.