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Diving into Adalberto Mondesi – Is He Worth the Risk?

As one of the more polarizing hitters in fantasy baseball, Adalberto Mondesi shows off the risky batted ball profile with the elite steals. Even on the surface, it’s obvious since he holds a career 4.3% walk rate and a 29.7% strikeout rate. He has also struggled a bit with injuries over the past three seasons. When diving into Adalberto Mondesi, we’ll look at the stats from the past three seasons. Meanwhile, we’ll also analyze his batted ball profile, plate discipline, Statcast data, and more.

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Diving into Adalberto Mondesi

2018-2020 Seasons

First, let’s note that Adalberto Mondesi reached career highs with 102 games and 443 plate appearances in 2019. However, in 2018, he played in 75 games with 291 plate appearances and almost played the entire 2020 season with 233 plate appearances. Next, we dive into the surface stats for Adalberto Mondesi. In 2020, he totaled six home runs, 33 runs, 22 RBI, and 24 steals with a .256 batting average. Unsurprisingly, he led the majors in steals with the next highest total by Jonathan Villar at 16.

In 2019, Adalberto Mondesi ranked second in steals with 43 behind Mallex Smith, who had 46 stolen bases. He finished that season with nine home runs, 58 runs, 62 RBI, and a .263 batting average. Unfortunately, in 2019, Mondesi landed on the injured list with a groin strain and shoulder injury. Assuming more games and plate appearances in 2019, Mondesi could have easily led the league in steals. As we’re diving into Adalberto Mondesi’s 2018 season, he suffered a shoulder injury in March, then the Royals recalled him in mid-June. After struggling from mid-June to mid-July 2018, Mondesi went on a tear to finish the season. Overall, we’re providing context for the fewer plate appearances over the past three seasons as we analyze Adalberto Mondesi.

2018: 14 HR, 47 R, 37 RBI, 32 SB, .276 BA, 291 PA
2019: 9 HR, 58 R, 62 RBI, 43 SB, .263, 443 PA
2020: 6 HR, 33 R, 22 RBI, 24 SB, .256, 233 PA

What If We Project More Plate Appearances?

For fun, let’s project his counting stats with 30% more plate appearances than his career-high total in 2019, which ends up as 575 plate appearances. Keep in mind that when we’re projecting 575 plate appearances, that’s over 130 more plate appearances than his career-high of 443. In general, the counting stats look a bit more fantasy-friendly, especially with the high stolen bases. Below shows his pace given 575 plate appearances in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

2018 Pace: 27 HR, 93 R, 72 RBI, 63 SB
2019 Pace: 11 HR, 75 R, 80 RBI, 56 SB
2020 Pace: 14 HR, 81 R, 54 RBI, 59 SB

2021 Steamer Projections: 21 HR, 84 R, 79 RBI, 54 SB, .257/.300/.439

Next, let’s check out Adalberto Mondesi’s Steamer Projections. They project him for 21 home runs, 84 runs, 79 RBI, and 54 SB in 644 plate appearances with a .257 batting average. Unsurprisingly those projections would have him as the league leader in steals. In terms of other counting stats and rotisserie categories, Mondesi projects similar to Trea Turner in terms of home runs but edges Turner in stolen bases. However, Turner edges Mondesi in runs plus RBI and batting average.

Batted Ball Profile

When diving into Adalberto Mondesi’s batted ball profile, we notice unexciting traits, particularly in terms of his ground ball rate. Over the past three seasons, Mondesi’s line drive rate gradually dropped while his ground ball rate increased. His fly-ball rate fluctuated between 33.9% to 39%, with a career 36.3% fly-ball rate. As a switch-hitter, Mondesi displays a pull-heavy approach with a career 45.1% pull rate. The most concerning traits here involve the high ground ball rate and drop in line drive rate. We show his batted ball profile at a glance in the table below.

Diving into Adalberto Mondesi
Adalberto Mondesi Batted Ball Profile

Diving into Adalberto Mondesi – Plate Discipline

Ah, plate discipline is where the fun begins as we’re diving into Adalberto Mondesi. Over the past three seasons, only one hitter averages a higher swinging strike rate than Mondesi, and that’s Jorge Alfaro. From 2018-2020, Mondesi holds the second-highest swinging strike rate at 19.9%. In terms of O-Swing% or chase rate, Mondesi ranks 40th with a 39.6% O-Swing% from 2018-2020, meaning he chases pitches a ton. His 39.6% O-Swing% during that timeframe ties him with Austin Riley and Amed Rosario. With that aggressive approach, unsurprisingly, Mondesi has the 13th highest Z-Swing% at 79.3% over the past three seasons, tied with Luke Voit. The main difference with Luke Voit includes a more patient approach, evidenced by Voit’s 28.5% O-Swing% and 48.8% Swing%.

Across 2018 to 2020, Mondesi struggled to make contact with a 64.3% Contact%, which ranked 444th right in front of Mike Zunino and Miguel Sano. His season-long contact rates regularly finish around 10% lower than the league-average contact rates. An aggressive approach with a high swinging strike rate and low contact rate screams scary. Granted that it’s not groundbreaking news, but we want to point out a few notable plate discipline flaws by Mondesi. When diving into Adalberto Mondesi and considering him on our fantasy baseball teams, one must assume the risks.


Let’s briefly touch on his splits against lefties and righties as a switch hitter. Across his career, Adalberto Mondesi holds a similar batting average of .246 against righties and .261 against lefties. However, he receives over two times the amount of plate appearances against right-handed pitchers. In the 2020 shortened season, Mondesi struggled quite a bit against righties in terms of his triple slash. Below shows his triple slash against righties over the past three seasons. It’s just something to monitor heading into 2021 since most of his plate appearances come against right-handed pitching.

2018 vs. R: .270/.303/.486
2019 vs. R: .266/.302/.450
2020 vs. R: .235/.278/.325

Diving into Adalberto Mondesi – Statcast Data

In terms of Statcast data, Adalberto Mondesi improved his average exit velocity, hard-hit rate, and exit velocity on FB/LD when comparing 2019 and 2020. Last season, he finished with a 90.6 mph average exit velocity (78th percentile), 39.1% hard-hit rate (47th percentile), and 94.5 mph exit velocity on FB/LD (No. 79). Even Mondesi’s max exit velocity increased from 2019 to 2020 with a max exit velocity of 111 mph in 2020, up from 108.4 mph in 2019. Interestingly, his 19.9% sweet spot percentage dropped from 31.2% in 2019 and 31.7% in 2018. The league average sweet spot percentage sits at 32.8%, so it begs the question of whether he overperformed in 2020. We mention that since his hard-hit rate and exit velocity numbers went up. However, his barrel rate and sweet spot percentages dropped. Even in a smaller 2020 sample, we may have valid suspicions based on his expected stats.

Diving into Adalberto Mondesi
Adalberto Mondesi Statcast Data

Next, let’s look at Adalberto Mondesi’s expected stats, where he ranks low across the board. In 2020, his expected stats looked scary with a .208 xBA (9th percentile), .348 xSLG (13th percentile), .255 xwOBA (3rd percentile). There’s a downward trend in his expected stats across the board with a .238 xBA, .393 xSLG, and .290 xwOBA in 2019. Overall, his expected stats show us that Mondesi is an outlier in several categories and metrics, and not necessarily in a positive way.

Future Outlook

As we’re diving into Adalberto Mondesi, we find quite a bit of risk yet a massive reward in his profile, particularly in traditional rotisserie leagues. Before we summarize the pros and cons, let’s first compare his ADP data. In 2020, Mondesi had an ADP of 62 on Fantrax and an ADP of 36 on NFBC. Then in the early 2021 ADP, Mondesi has a 42.22 ADP on Fantrax and a 22.15 ADP on NFBC. On both sites, his ADP climbed so far in 2021, which tells us that it’s hard to pass up the league-leading stolen base potential.

Reasons for Optimism – Top-notch steals, double-digit home run power, outperforms expected stats.

In 2020, Adalberto Mondesi led the league in steals, and in 2019, he finished second behind Mallex Smith. Meanwhile, in 2018, he finished 8th with 32 steals but significantly fewer plate appearances than the other hitters around him. Mondesi also outperforms his expected stats, which can fall under reasons for concern as well. However, he provides or paces for double-digit home run power and not a complete zero similar to Mallex Smith. If he logs 25-30% more plate appearances in 2021, Mondesi could finish with 15 home runs and 55-60 plus steals.

Reasons for Concern – Plate discipline, swings/misses, injuries, outperforms expected stats, and low OBP.

Unfortunately, it’s pretty gross when looking at Adalberto Mondesi’s plate discipline. Over the past three seasons, Mondesi finished with the 40th worst chase rate and second-worst swinging strike rate. With the poor plate discipline, it’s no surprise that Mondesi has a career .284 OBP. We mention that because the risky profile makes us wonder when the bottom falls out. If he struggles with on-base skills, then how or will the steals continue? Outside of the shortened 2020 season, Mondesi landed on the injured list multiple times in 2018 and 2019. Hopefully, he can stay healthy for most of the 2021 season and in the future because he’s an exciting player for real life and fantasy baseball purposes.

In summary, someone like Adalberto Mondesi could win fantasy baseball leagues with his 15-20 home runs and league-leading steal potential. With the increased ADP and plate discipline, he’s a high-risk player but provides a massive reward. If you’re able to draft him at a slight discount in terms of ADP, then his upside is likely worth it. However, if you’re risk-averse, then hopefully, you land a Trea Turner, Jose Ramirez, or Trevor Story in the first round. Or if I land a player like Juan Soto in the first round, I’ll openly consider Mondesi in the second round. Again to sum this up, Mondesi is full of risk with a ton of upside.

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