Monday, March 25, 2013

Prospect Countdown: #6 Adalberto Mondesi

6. Adalberto Mondesi Short Stop

Age: 17
Position: SS
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 165
B/T: S/R
Acquired: Signed as International Free Agent in 2011
From: Los Angeles, CA

Paden Bennett (6):  This tweet from JJ Cooper got a lot of Royals fans drooling, including myself.  JJ Cooper: “Asked a scout if it is fair to compare Adalberto Mondesi to Profar. Yeah he said but Mondesi will have more power”  Wow.  That's all I can say.  Looking back at my prospect list I don't know why I didn't put Mondesi as our number 1 prospect.  At age 17 he hit .290 in the Pioneer league.  I can't wait to see what Mondesi does in his second professional season and hopefully he progresses through our system quickly like Profar did and shows the power that the scout was talking about.  Look out for this guy.

Joe Cox (13)Adalberto Mondesi will open the 2013 season as a 17 year old shortstop.  Mondesi, son of former major leaguer Raul, is one of the more exciting prospects in baseball, as a young shortstop with no question about his ability to stick at the position defensively and enough offensive skill to move up the system.  If he does move up from rookie ball this season, he will surely be the youngest player in his league, and even if he stays in extended spring training or one of the rookie ball teams, he will still be incredibly young compared to the rest of his foes. 

The switch hitting Mondesi had 207 at bats in the Pioneer League last season, he showed a good offensive game with a .290 average and 11 stolen bases.  He showed the ability to take a walk, but did strike out 28% of the time, which is completely reasonable for a 16/17 year old.  Mondosi is ridiculously young, but has enough skill and instincts to be a top prospect in all of baseball in 2-3 years.  Time will tell for the youngster, as he needs a few years to develop in the low minors to attempt to become the stud that he could be.

Damion Mandalas (4): We've all seen the Mondesi comparisons before, but I want to take a moment to compare Mondesi to two of the games other top shortstop prospects. First let's take a look at their first professional seasons:

  • Francisco Lindor (short season A, New York-Penn League):  20 plate appearances, 0 homers, 1 steals, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, .316/.350/.316
  • Jurickson Profar (short season A, Northwest League): 248 plate appearances, 19 doubles, 4 homers, 8 steals, 28 walks, 46 strikeouts, .250/.323/.373
  • Adalberto Mondesi (rookie, Pioneer League*): 232 plate appearances, 7 doubles, 2 triples, 3 homers, 11 steals, 19 walks, 65 strikeouts, .290/.346/.386
*One thing to consider, is that while Idaho Falls is technically classified as a rookie league, the Royals utilize it as a their most advanced short season affiliate. In fact, there are multiple teams on the circuit that operate in the same fashion. The competition level between the three leagues above are extremely similar. 

Based off of the numbers above, Mondesi's numbers clearly stack up pretty well. However, Mondesi has one more feather in his cap: he was the youngest of the bunch. Profar was roughly five months older than Mondesi when he hit the professional circuit, while Lindor was nearly 9 months older than his Royals counterpart.

What does this mean for the Royals? Well first off, I am a bit surprised that Mondesi didn't surface on more top 100 lists this offseason. Prior to Lindor's full season debut he was ranked by Baseball America as the game's #37 prospect. Of course, this is in large part due to his high draft status. A better comparison is Profar who, like Mondesi was a Latin American bonus baby that most teams weren't sold on. Prior to his full season debut, Baseball America ranked him as the #74 prospect in the land. Here's what the two did the following seasons:
  • Lindor (Low-A, Midwest League): 567 plate appearances, 24 doubles, 3 triples, 6 home runs, 27 steals, 61 walks, 78 strikeouts, .257/.352/.355. Enters 2013 as BA's #28 prospect.
  • Profar (Low A, South Atlantic League): 516 plate appearances, 37 doubles, 8 triples, 12 home runs, 23 steals, 65 walks, 63 strikeouts, .286/.390/.493. Entered 2012 as BA's #7 prospect. 
So before we get to excited about the things Mondesi could be better than Profar at, let's take a look at one obvious area where Profar had the age. In their first professional stops, Profar's strikeout to walk numbers were twice as good as Mondesi's. One of the keys to Profar's meteoric rise through the prospect annals is his amazing command of the plate at such a young age. For Mondesi to really skyrocket up the prospect rankings, he'll need to take a nice step forward in terms of strike zone judgment. 

Don't take any of this to mean that I'm concerned about Mondesi's plate discipline. On the contrary, I was very impressed with it in the few games I was able to watch him in this summer. As a 16 year old facing pitchers 4-6 years older than him, he more than held his own at the plate. I also think it is worth pointing out that Raul Mondesi Sr. wasn't shy about taking walks throughout his career.

Mondesi is getting a ton of hype this spring and it is well deserved. He offers a blend of talent and upside that could be unmatched in the organization's history. I was in awe of his skill with the bat and in the field last summer and he will only leave others with similar feelings as he progresses throughout the system. 

Dan Ware (13):  Paden beat me to the punch with J.J. Cooper and the infamous tweet a couple weeks ago.  As a 16 year old, he played shortstop in 47 out of the 50 games in Idaho Falls.  Although committing 23 errors, from everything I've read, he seems to contain a good defensive skill set, and the fact that he was 16 in his first pro season should be a good indication that he'll improve greatly.  With an impressive line of .290/.346/.386, that itself gives us reason to believe he'll fly through the system.

Although he's not his father in the power department (yet), he has good bat speed and is able to hit anywhere in the field batting from either side of the plate.  He reminds me of Alcides Escobar with his frame, but since he's still a teenager, the maturing and filling out will definitely be on the way.  With Mondesi expected to team up with Bubba Starling in Lexington, I might just have to make a trip to the Bluegrass State. 

Total Points: 88

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