Raul Adalberto Mondesi Sanchez
played as Raul Mondesi 2015-2017
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 185 lb.
Infielder Adalberto Mondesi is the son of major league outfielder Raúl Mondesí. Until 2018, he was known as Raul Mondesi Jr.; to add a further degree of confusion, his older brother, who is truly Raul Mondesi Jr. shares a first and last name with both his father and brother, and also played professionally for a spell. Adalberto made history in 2015 by becoming the first player in the modern era to make his major league debut in a World Series game.
Adalberto was only 16 when he signed his first professional contract with the Kansas City Royals before the 2012 season. He began his career with the Idaho Falls Chukars of the Pioneer League that year, hitting .290/.346/.386 in 50 games against much older competition. In 2013, he moved up to the Lexington Legends of the South Atlantic League, playing full season ball while still only 17. Once again, he was not overwhelmed, playing 125 games at shortstop and hitting a very respectable .261/.311/.361. He dis display good power, with 14 doubles, 12 triples and 8 homers. He moved up to the Wilmington Blue Rocks of the Carolina League in 2014, where he fell to .211/.256/.354 in 110 games. However, he continued to play solid defense, cutting his errors from 30 in 2013 to 16, in only 40 fewer innings. Given his ability to hold his own in spite of his young age, he began showing up in pre-season top 100 prospect lists in 2013, when Baseball Prospectus ranked him #58, and climbed on this list and on other similar ones the next couple of years
In spite of his struggle with the bat in advanced Class A, the Royals promoted Adalberto to the AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals in 2015. He turned 20 in mid-season and bounced back to hit .243/.279/.372. He also stole 19 bases in 25 tries. In a surprise move, the Royals added him to their World Series roster that year, replacing Terrance Gore. It was an attempt by the team to have a slightly more versatile roster, given Gore and two other back-up outfielders, Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando, had a very similar skill set, while Mondesi could play both shortstop and second base, in addition to being a potential pinch-runner. He became the first player of the modern era to make his major league debut in a World Series game when he struck out against Noah Syndergaard of the New York Mets as a pinch-hitter in Game 3. He had not had a competitive at-bat in six weeks at that point and the Mets' pitcher needed only four pitches to put Adalberto away. Going back over a century, Bug Holliday had previously made his major league debut in a postseason championship series, in 1885, although those games were more akin to exhibition contests. Mark Kiger, in 2006, was the only other player to have made his debut in a postseason game, but it was the League Championship Series, not the big shabang.
Adalberto was sent back to Northwest Arkansas to begin the 2016 season. However, his progression hit a snag when he tested positive for a PED, clenbuterol, and he was handed a 50-game suspension on May 10th; he would normally have been suspended for 80 games, but MLB and the MLBPA had made changes to the joint drug policy in the off-season, allowing for a potential lighter sentence for certain types of substances if a player could demonstrate consumption had been inadvertent. Adalberto was one of the first to benefit from this leniency. He then went back to Class A Wilmington to work himself into shape when the suspension ended in late June, then went back to Northwest Arkansas on July 4th, and four days later was promoted to AAA for the first time, with the Omaha Storm Chasers. He was hitting a combined .268 with 7 homers in 52 games and had already racked up 24 stolen bases in 25 attempts when he was called up to Kansas City to make his regular season debut on July 26th. That day, he started at second base and hit 9th against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, going 0 for 3 in a 13-0 loss. The following day, he was involved in a controversial play against those same Angels when he laid a bunt down the first base line with two men on in the 7th; P Matt Shoemaker fielded the ball but his throw ricocheted off Adalberto into the outfield, allowing both runners to score, tying the game, and Mondesi to end up on third base, from where he scored the go-ahead run when Jarrod Dyson followed with a triple. Angels manager Mike Scioscia argued that umpire Phil Cuzzi should have called Mondesi out for running inside the baseline and asked for a video review, but it upheld the original call. After the game, which the Angels lost, 7-5, Scioscia issued a formal protest, claiming Cuzzi misapplied the rules; the protest, which stood little chance of being successful, was summarily rejected by Major League Baseball the following day. Lost in the shuffle was the fact that Shoemaker said after the game that the whole play was his fault, as Mondesi was going to be safe anyway, given his great speed, and that he should not have made a throw after fielding the ball. Indeed, Mondesi was almost on the bag when the throw hit his leg. The bunt was Adalberto's first big league hit, and he added a second in the 8th inning on another ball hit towards the pitcher. This time, Jose Alvarez fielded the ball and threw wildly, but Adalberto was credited with a hit and RBI as Alex Gordon scored from third base. Mondesi had a tough first full month in the majors in August of 2016. He had the worst batting average of any regular player in the majors that month, going only 13 for 81 (.160). Still, the Royals had an excellent month as a team, vaulting back into the postseason race, so his performance went a bit under the radar. He ended up playing 47 games during which he hit .185 with 2 homers and 13 RBIs.
Given his struggles with the bat as a rookie, Mondesi came to spring training in 2017 as simply one of a number of candidates for the second base starting job - others were Cheslor Cuthbert, Christian Colon and Whit Merrifield. However, he managed to win the job with an excellent performance, as he hit well over .350 during Cactus League games. He earned praise from manager Ned Yost for his ability to do everything on a baseball field - be it field, run, hit for power, hit for average or lay down a bunt when needed.
- AL Triples Leader (2019)
- AL Stolen Bases Leader (2020)
- Won a World Series with the Kansas City Royals in 2015