2016 Fantasy Baseball: Prospect Preview — Raul A. Mondesi
Ever wonder what it’s like to follow in your father’s footsteps in professional baseball? Ever wonder what it’s like to make your Major League debut in the World Series? Well, ask Raul Mondesi because we’re sure he’ll have a pretty awesome story to tell you.
The son of a former Rookie of the Year, Raul Adalberto Mondesi made history in 2015 when he became the first player in MLB history to make his debut in the big leagues during the World Series. That’s a pretty hard pill to swallow for his dad who played in more than 1500 games at the professional level but had never played a single inning in the fall classic.
Despite the early call up for the 20-year old short stop, Mondesi has had some significant question marks in his short career. Signed as a free agent in 2011 Mondesi was only 16-years old when he got his first look at professional baseball. He’s equipped with a significant amount of tools that grade out on the above average side of the spectrum, His swing is level, fluid and quick through the zone with the ability to place the ball nearly anywhere he wants on the field.
Standing at just over six feet tall and about 185 pounds he has the potential of being yet another 20/20 caliber player in the ever growing middle infielder prospectus. However, despite the projected outcomes he hasn’t shown the talent that is expected of the youngster with a .246/.293/.372 slash line in more than 360 games played in the minors.
Mondesi is making it pretty difficult for the pundits to provide any real sense of value. With the amount of tools he has at the dish and in the field, his numbers are just not adding up to expectations, which is starting to make some question whether to keep him on the accelerated path or not.
Originally listed as the 47th best prospect in 2014 and 28th prior to the 2015 season he has actually dropped a spot, listing out at 29th by Baseball America this year. MLB.com has provided similar fate for the speedster ranking him as 38th in 2014 and regressing in 2015 to 40th before fitting in at 37th ahead of this spring.
Graded by MLB as having some of the best all-around tools of any of the shortstop prospects, he is getting high praise with names like Corey Seager and Trea Turner among others sitting above him. But his slow start to his career is causing some to be a bit more cautious.
There is absolutely no question what Mondesi can do. It’s just a matter of actually seeing him do it that will make the difference between him grading out like Jose Reyes or Hanley Ramirez and something drastically worse. Most are confident in his ability to swipe bags on the paths with 71 stolen bases in 93 total attempts. While that stolen base percentage isn’t the greatest number (just over 76%) most of the negative numbers come from the 10 times he was caught stealing in 2013. He has been much better on the paths since then.
Mondesi is also thought to provide a ton of pop in his bat and could potentially come close to matching Carlos Correa in that department. However, he has yet to hit more than eight homers in any stint in the minors but his quick bat and ability to knock the ball to all fields should make those numbers rise.
The most worrisome of his numbers so far is his very high strikeout percentage and very low walk percentage. Despite the assumption that he will inevitably be able to see the ball well and protect the plate he hasn’t shown it yet, which is problematic.
Projections And Predictions
Although he turned heads by being the very first player to make his debut in the World Series all signs point to Mondesi getting more time in the minors specifically at AA Northwest Arkansas with the potential to get upgraded to AAA Omaha in the PCL.
Mondesi’s upside is crawling out of his ears but he also has a ton of risk for both his every day club and for fantasy teams. With the ceiling to be one of the leagues top tier shortstops in an otherwise thin position fantasy-wise he could develop into the next big thing at the position.
The biggest concern of course is whether or not he will develop his hit tools. But it may take some time for the youngsters’ immediate fantasy impact to shine.
Steamer projections currently list Mondesi as seeing limited time during the regular season with only 46 plate appearances over the course of 11 games. But if he increases his slash line early on look for those projections to change as the season progresses.