In a bit of a surprise move, the Royals announced that they have called up top shortstop prospect Raul A. Mondesi. Mondesi has had an odd year to say the least, as he made his major league debut last year in Game 3 of the World Series, making him the first player to ever do that. Coming into the season, we had Mondesi as our top fantasy prospect in the Royals’ organization:
The son of former Dodger/Blue Jay/Yankee outfielder Raul Mondesi Sr., Raul Adalberto Mondesi will not be putting up big time counting stats like dad did anytime soon. Ranked as the #33 overall prospect by MLB.com, Mondesi is no stranger being on top prospect lists; he has appeared on MLB.com’s top 100 prospects each of the last 3 seasons. Mondesi struggled quite a bit in 2015, as he hit .243 with a BB/K of 17/88 and a horrid OBP of .279. While the talent is undoubtedly there, he hasn’t seen much improvement in his game over the last 3 years from a fantasy standpoint. One thing to note, Mondesi has been much younger than the competition at each of his minor league stops. His development may have been hindered somewhat by the Royals aggressively pushing him through their minor league system. At this point Mondesi is worth way more to the Royals than prospective fantasy owners, but with his baseball pedigree and future potential, he is still worth a roster spot in all leagues with MiLB rosters.
He returned to AA to start this year, and was hitting .250/.304/.462 with five home runs and 11 stolen bases before being suspended for 50 games for testing positive for Clenbuterol. After serving the suspension, he has appeared at High-A, AA, and AAA before today’s call up, and has hit better during that span. In 27 games, he posted a .286/.339/.476 slash line with two home runs and 13 steals.
The Royals are expected to have Mondesi play second base on a regular basis in the majors, and that playing time could make him potentially very interesting. He can potentially provide batting average, but it’s hard to bet on that from a rookie making his first run through the league. More likely, he represents a potential infusion of stolen bases that could potential make an impact in roto leagues down the stretch. Mondesi has shown success in the minors, with an 80% success rate on 118 career attempts, and should be able to translate that at least in part to the majors.
It’s not clear whether Mondesi is up permanently at this point, given that he has played just 14 games above AA, but with the Royals failing to get consistent production at second base, that they made a change wasn’t a surprise. Choosing to bring up Mondesi was, and there have already been questions about how this could impact his development in the long-term.
I would grab him in any league where you are in need of stolen bases, but bear in mind that he may hurt in other categories as he works to adjust to the major leagues.