KC Royals: Predicting the 2022 Opening Day lineup

(Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals, Adalberto Mondesi
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Batting seventh and playing shortstop for the KC Royals: Adalberto Mondesi.

Adalberto Mondesi can almost everything. He hit 14 home runs and a respectable .276 in just 75 games in 2018. He led the majors in stolen bases in 2020 with 24. His defense is so spectacular that he’s an excellent bet to win at least one Gold Glove before he retires.

But what this still-young player—he won’t be 27 until July—can’t seem to do consistently is stay healthy. His short career’s injury history is already almost legendary; only once has Mondesi played a full season, and that was the short 2020 campaign.

So great are his talent and potential, however, that the Royals must maintain hope he can shake the injury bug and help lead them back to relevancy. His sizzling 2020 September (.356/.408/.667 with six homers and 20 RBIs in 24 games) still serves as a reminder of how well he can play when healthy.

Mondesi, apparently recovered from the injuries that limited him to 35 games last season, is back at shortstop, where Kansas City hopes he picks up where he left off in 2020. And seventh seems a good place for Mondesi to hit, at least while he eases back into playing regularly. The pressure isn’t acute there, so he can relax and work his bat into the groove the Royals know it has.