Adalberto Mondesi needs to show the KC Royals a bit more
That the Royals knew exactly what they might have in Adalberto Mondesi became abundantly clear when, despite his glaring lack of experience, they named him to their 2015 World Series roster. He hadn’t played an inning above Double-A when he pinch-hit in the Series’ third game.
Mondesi’s regular season debut came the next year, but didn’t reflect his potential. He slashed .185/.231/.281 after serving a 50-game PED suspension and spending time in the minors; 2017 wasn’t any better (.170/.214/.245 in 25 games) and he played primarily at Triple-A Omaha.
Mondesi broke through in 2018. Although he didn’t appear in the majors until June and played only 75 times, he displayed his power potential with 14 home runs and hit .276. He hit just .263 in 2019, but tied for the big league lead in triples with 10 and stole 43 bases.
Then came last year’s pandemic-shortened season. Mondesi played every game but one, and managed to prove how well, and how badly, he can hit. He entered September batting .186 with an awful .211 OBP, then exploded with his only six homers of the season and a .356 average to finish at .256. September was great, but Mondesi’s season didn’t come close to matching his capabilities.
His career numbers also aren’t consistent with a player deserving of a big, early extension. Mondesi doesn’t get on base enough—his OBP is a grossly substandard .256, which makes the 99 bases he’s stolen over the past three seasons that much more impressive. His OPS+ is a subpar 84 (it’s only exceeded 100 once), he strikes out almost 30 percent of the time, and his walk rate is just 4.3 percent.
Mondesi can be, and may become, a great player. His body of work at the plate, however, doesn’t yet merit a mega-contract.