Raul A. Mondesi, son of the former major leaguer Raul Mondesi and the Royals’ top prospect, has been called up and could make his regular season debut tonight.
Mondesi, who turns 21 Wednesday, became the first player to make his big league debut in a World Series when he made a pinch-hitting appearance for the Royals in last year’s series win against the Mets.
Mondesi returned June 25 from a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. Mondesi said he inadvertently ingested Clenbuterol in cold medicine.
The World Series champs have struggled this season at 48-50. They stand seven games out of the second wild-card spot and hope Mondesi can be a spark.
Mondesi has been on a fast track ever since he signed for $2 million in 2011. He has been one of the youngest players in every league he’s played in as a pro. The Royals have had few worries that the advanced assignments would harm Mondesi’s development because he’s supremely confident, but at the same time his speedy development has kept him from ever getting a chance to get comfortable and dominate a league
Mondesi, the No. 55 overall prospect in the game as of our Midseason Update, is known for his plus-plus defense and plus throwing arm. He is one of the toolsiest shortstops in the game, with plus-plus speed and surprising power for his size.
The offense has lagged behind the glove a bit, but he is showing more power this season. He’s hit seven homers across three levels this season, one shy of his career best. In 14 games at Triple-A Omaha, Mondesi slashed .304/.328/.536 with four triples in just 56 at-bats. Mondesi has great bat speed and he’s learning to better use the entire field, because at times he can get pull happy. Mondesi has also improved at pitch recognition and laying off pitches out of the zone.
WHAT TO EXPECT
With his superb defensive tools, scouts say Mondesi can be an asset and solid regular even if he hits just .240. The Royals sent down Whit Merrifield when they called up Mondesi, so it’s likely Mondesi sees most of his action at second base, where he played two games in the past week at Omaha. Unless the Royals decide to trade Alcides Escobar, Mondesi will play second base and try to give the Royals a lift with his speed and great range in what now looks like a long shot to return to the postseason.