The World Series rosters were announced today and the Kansas City Royals are including their top prospect, 20-year old shortstop Raul Mondesi. He was added to the 40-man roster after the team designated RHP Joba Chamberlain for assignment.
Mondesi, the son of the former outfielder of the same name and 1994 National League Rookie of the Year, has never played above Double-A. He hit .243/.279/.372 with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in the regular season and appeared on the World team in the All-Star Futures Game in Cincinnati, going 1-2 and shining on defense. The Royals signed him for $2 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2011 and have pushed him aggressively since he entered their system. He made his United States debut as a 16-year old in 2012, when he hit .290 in the Pioneer League.
He made his full season debut in 2013 in the South Atlantic League and has progressed one level each season so far. Scouts praise Mondesi for his makeup, baseball IQ and defensive abilities. Despite his career .246/.293/.365 line, scouts felt that he was the one guy that Kansas City should avoid trading away at the deadline because he is so young and has tools galore. He is a switch hitter with a line drive stroke that plays from both sides of the plate, and scouts feel that he will develop enough power to hit 15-20 home runs on an annual basis in his prime. He has a strong arm and is a plus defender at shortstop which will enable him to stay at the position long-term. Mondesi grew up around the game and oozes potential, which leaves many scouts to believe that he can become an all-star when all is said and done.
The Royals added him to their roster in Terrance Gore’s spot because they wanted an extra bat to have off the bench and have some more depth up the middle when they go to Citi Field and lose the DH. He is also a 70 grade runner according to MLB pipeline, so while he may not have Gore’s blazing speed, he is more than capable to pinch run and steal a base if they need him to as shown by his 71 stolen bases in four minor league seasons.
The decision to add Mondesi to the World Series roster is definitely an interesting one. He will become the first player to ever make his Major League debut in the World Series should he appear in a game. He has been playing against older competition for a long time, and Kansas City feels that he brings more tools to the table than Gore’s speed. He also played some second base in the minors over the past two seasons, so he brings some defensive versatility as well.
Mondesi will likely begin 2016 in the minor leagues as he still has some developing of his overall game to do. But Kansas City has liked what they have seen from and feel that he deserves this rare and unique opportunity. It will be interesting to see how the Royals utilize the 20-year-old as he will be in a Major League clubhouse for the first time. As a player, that is.