The Royals have begun their season without Adalberto Mondesi shoring up the infield at shortstop. For the fourth time since March of 2018, Mondesi finds himself on the DL. This injury comes as the Royals look to make noise out of the gate in this new season. The Royals were poised to have a deadly combo up the middle in Merrifield and Mondesi on defense and offense. Both Mondesi and Merrifield have solid bats when healthy and can be deadly on the base path.
Unfortunately, the Royals fall back yet again on Nicky Lopez to fill in for the injured Mondesi. It appears that he will be out for at least another few weeks.
How Much Impact Has Mondesi Had?
In his five seasons playing in the majors, Mondesi has played in just over three hundred games for the Royals. Mondesi over five seasons has just sixty games a season, with his highest total coming in 2019 with 102. His best numbers came in his two highest game total seasons in 2018 and 2019 when he batted .268 cumulatively. He also stole seventy-five bases over the course of those 177 games.
When Mondesi was able to play consistently, his bat and defense were invaluable to the Royals’ heart of their order. His speed allowed him to be a threat on offense when he got on base. His speed also allowed him to dig out balls on the infield to make difficult plays look routine.
While so far this season, Lopez has been one of the brighter spots on offense and defense for the Royals, having Mondesi healthy would allow for more options on the infield and in the lineup that Lopez just doesn’t quite offer.
Is His Health a Problem?
The issue that has haunted Adalberto Mondesi since the 2018 season has been his slew of injuries. Through his first two seasons, Mondesi managed to play in just over sixty games. Though his troubles were due mainly to inexperience, it didn’t help him get the reps needed to find his stride. That inability to find a stride continued for him through the next two years.
The question coming into this season, will it continue to hurt his development? Mondesi saw a slow start to his season in the sixty-game season last year. Ultimately, he found his stride the last few weeks of the season, but it was too little too late.
So the question remains, Is Mondesi a liability to the Royals moving forward? Can he be an effective part of the Royals’ future or should they look to move away from the lately injury-riddled shortstop? With Bobby Witt Junior making his way up shortly, do they bother focusing on Mondesi if Witt and Merrifield can effectively be the everyday players on the infield? At what point do the Royals decide enough is enough on the injury front?
Where Should the Royals Be with Mondesi?
There are a few factors that have to be considered at this point when it comes to how the Royals should move forward with Mondesi. First of all, is the contribution he does make when healthy worth waiting for him to battle through? Ultimately, that is something the Royals have to answer, and I believe at this point the answer to that question is, yes. Yes, Mondesi, when healthy, can take pitchers deep as well as get himself to third base on his own by laying down a good bunt and stealing bases.
Following behind a good hitter like Whit Merrifield and hitting in front of power hitters like Santana, Perez, and Soler, Mondesi finds himself in an ideal spot to create havoc with his legs for pitchers. Whether it is his ability to pull attention from the batters at the plate, or his ability to move Merrifield around the bases while still reaching himself, his contribution to the offense is tremendous. Not only is his bat and speed valuable, but his ability to make deep plays in the hole on the infield can help cut down on base hits through the middle infield.
One other major factor to consider when asking about Mondesi’s future in Kansas City is his age. Mondesi is currently twenty-five years old and won’t turn twenty-six until the end of July. With that in mind, the Royals should still view him as a key component of this team’s future. While he hasn’t had the playing time anyone would like, he has time to prove himself an anchor of this team.
While Merrifield is the best all-around player on the team, he is older and will not be around as long as Mondesi. Mondesi has a chance to develop into a five-tool player that can be the focal point of this team for years to come.
It hasn’t been pretty so far for Mondesi, but with patience, he can develop into something special. He can be the player this team needs to have success for years to come.