Adalberto Mondesi: 17-Year Old Phenom?
To be considered a contender for the best prospect in baseball, a player must be one of two things.
- Have tools so insanely good one can overcome small issues with overall approach.
- Have strong tools and an extremely high baseball IQ, allowing the player to max out his abilities.
On rare occasion, a Mike Trout comes along who has a perfect combination of both.
In recent months, Royals prospect Adalberto Mondesi has been discussed as a future #1. He’s 17 and holding his own in full season baseball, so why not? Prospect followers who compare age to triple slash line point to Elvis Andrus who has become a fine big leaguer.
But no matter how good a prospect Mondesi is, he doesn’t fit either of the two categories above. The young shortstop has above average tools, but nothing jumped out at me other than arm strength. Plus, he’s not a prospect who’s mature beyond his years like Jurickson Profar, Bryce Harper and Jason Heyward were. To truly believe in a player’s ability to turn tools into baseball skills, his makeup must come close to matching the skill set.
Is Raul Mondesi Jr. an exciting prospect? Sure, but far too many variables exist for me to qualify him as one of the best prospects in baseball. At present, he’s a borderline top-50 guy for me and that’s if I blindly believe in the tools.
Speaking of tools, Bubba Starling looked better. It’s still one of the longest swings I’ve seen, but he attacked a couple of fastballs and made hard contact. I can’t buy the whole package, but prospect writers will continue to buy into the power tool and athleticism. At best, he’s a C-level guy for me.
Unfortunately, Lexington had little else worth mentioning. I sat in the stands wishing the Legends were still an Astros affiliate.
Braves Lucas Sims pitched again and struggled. In my brief time behind the plate, he was 90-91 and labored through the outing. With the Minor League season nearing its final month, is Sims running out of gas?
In my last newsletter, I mentioned Sims being ranked in the top-50 prospects. Readers responded and he made the list for Baseball Prospectus and Keith Law. At first, I didn’t understand the placement, but now I do. At present, the crop of pitching prospects around baseball is weaker than previous years. I like Taylor Guerrieri, but when he’s considered one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, one has to wonder.
Sims’ ranking is more a product of opportunity.
Center fielder Kyle Wren is a future big leaguer. I don’t like him as an impact guy, but he has a high baseball IQ, speed and contact ability. Right now, Wren is raking in Single-A and may move quickly. He’s an excellent value pick.
Jose Peraza continues to play well, and continued to flash contact skills and defensive chops.
Rome is a prospect barren roster due to a lack of position prospects. For selfish reasons, I want to see the organization make a better effort at developing bats.
2 Feb 2014 / Mike Newman /
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