Though it is too early to tell, the KC Royals number four prospect at midseason according to MLB.com could be the Royals shortstop of the future. Raul Mondesi (who went by Adalberto when the season started) was just 17 years old when the 2013 season began. He was not even on MLB.com’s preseason list.
The Royals sent the youngster to Low-A Lexington for this first full professional season (he signed as a free agent in July of 2011). When I saw Mondesi the first weekend in May, he looked a bit over-matched. However, as the weather warmed up, so did he.
In June, Mondesi hit .272 in 20 games (though he struck out 23 times compared to just one walk). In July, he hit .305 in 27 games while lowering his strikeouts (19) and walking more (13). The struggles returned in August (.227), but he ended up playing 75 more games in 2013 than he ever had before.
Right now, Mondesi is a singles hitter, as he had just 27 extra-base hits in 482 at-bats (of his 126 total hits). Strikeouts are a concern for a singles hitter at the top of a lineup: he struck out 118 times compared to 34 walks.
He has shown some speed, stealing 24 bases (he was caught ten times).
Defensively at shortstop, Mondesi committed 30 errors in 108 games and 455 chances. That is seven more than in 2012 while with rookie level Idaho Falls, but in 61 more games. He gets to alot of balls and has a strong arm. Hopefully he can cut down on the errors as he progresses through the system.
The Royals aggressively pushed Mondesi in 2013 and I believe they will continue to push him. I expect him to start the 2014 season in High-A Wilmington in an infield that could include 2013 top pick Hunter Dozier and Jack Lopez (who is playing a very good second base in Puerto Rico). Mondesi is young and has plenty of room to grow (both physically and baseball-wise). I am excited to see him play a full season in person.