One of the greatest aspects of fantasy sports, and sports in general, are the debates. Whether you’re debating with a co-worker, significant other, friend, or even drunk Uncle Bob at the family reunion, the debates are endless. That’s what brings us here today. In the fantasy baseball world, player debates are everywhere, including in your own mind when trying to make that tough draft-day decision. Well, we’re here to help. Today, we got a really interesting one on our hands as we debate the polarizing Adalberto Mondesi and the second-generation rising star, Bo Bichette. Who comes out on top?
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Adalberto Mondesi or Bo Bichette in 2020?
Eric Cross (@EricCross04) – Bo Bichette
If you know me at all, you had to know who I was taking in this debate. And honestly, this one isn’t close for me. Yeah, I know, Mondesi has a ton of speed and can steal 60+ bases in a season, blah, blah, blah. I get it. But at the same time, Mondesi’s contact skills and plate approach stink as bad as when someone cuts the cheese in a car with the windows rolled up. There were 207 hitters that made 400-plus plate appearances in the 2019 season. Out of those 207 hitters, here’s how Mondesi ranked in contact and plate discipline metrics.
|Metric||Stat||Rank (Of 207)|
Yeah, not good. On top of that, Mondesi needed the 9th highest BABIP to even register a .263 batting average. Yes, his speed played into that BABIP and likely always will, but you catch my drift. That .263 average is Mondesi’s ceiling with this type of approach and will cause him to sit below .250 more often than not. And while Mondesi has shown some pop, he’s coming off a significant shoulder injury which puts his 2020 power output in question. If Mondesi hits around .240 with 10 home runs, that’s not nearly worth of his lofty ADP even with the 50-plus steals.
Bichette, on the other hand, is a well-rounded fantasy asset with a higher ceiling and much higher floor than Mondesi. During his time in the minors, Bichette was one of the best pure hitters around with an easy plus hit tool, electric bat speed, and great feel for the barrel. He has the contact skills to hit over .300 annually with above-average raw power and speed. Bichette should challenge for 20/20 seasons annually to pair with that high batting average.
All those tools were on full display in 2019. Bichette combined to hit .298 with 28 doubles, 19 home runs, and 20 steals in just 429 combined at-bats between the minors and Toronto. Only four of those steals came with Toronto, but I expect Bichette to run a bit more in 2020 and project him for close to a .300 average with 20-25 HR and 15-20 SB. I’ll take that all damn day over Mondesi straight up and even more so when you factor in the Bichette is being drafted 2-3 rounds later.
Nathan Dokken (@NathanDokken) – Adalberto Mondesi
It’s hard not to be impressed by the debut of top-prospect Bo Bichette. He made 76.6% contact in his 46 game debut, although I’d expect more of a .270-.280 average rather than a repeat of his .311 mark. He should be a five-category contributor. The reason I’ll take Adalberto Mondesi first comes down to my need for speed. There is a premium on stolen bases these days, and Mondesi is a category winner. He is the odds-on favorite to lead the league in steals, and he’s not a total rabbit, either. He can provide double-digit home runs over a full (healthy) season. Despite his awful plate discipline, he can hit .250+ thanks to his wheels. In points formats where steals are devalued and strikeouts count against you, however, his value drops immensely and I’d take Bichette.
Mike Kurland @Mike_Kurland) – Bo Bichette
Adalberto Mondesi is a player I actively avoid. I understand the elite speed skill but other than that, he can essentially be a drain in other categories. Especially when compared to what you’re passing on in the area of the draft you take him. There are health concerns as well. Between coming off the shoulder injury and the general soft tissue injuries speedsters often deal with there’s a lot of risk with Mondesi. The plate discipline is pretty bad which can lead to the batting average falling from under him and limits the power production due to lack of quality hits. This is all leading to why I prefer Bo Bichette.
Bo Bichette & his beautiful swing.
That's it. That's the tweet. pic.twitter.com/B0koPfuohm
— Cut4 (@Cut4) August 21, 2019
Although Bichette isn’t proven by any means, there is a lot to like about him. The hit tool is pretty legit, he’s in a better overall lineup and offers 5-category upside. Not to mention there’s even a higher floor in my opinion. This isn’t even close to me as I would take Bichette over Mondesi 10 out of 10 times.
Jorge Montanez (@JMontanez90) – Bo Bichette
I don’t know if there’s a more polarizing player in fantasy baseball than Adalberto Mondesi. It’s easy to get caught up with the speed component that Mondesi brings to the table. It’s why I initially had him above Bo Bichette in our staff rankings. He could win you a category. But if given the choice between these two shortstops, give me Bichette. Bichette is a more well-rounded player. I mean, isn’t batting average the new stolen base? And Bichette is no slouch on the basepaths with the ability to contribute 20-plus steals. There’s just too much that could go wrong when it comes to Mondesi.
It’s no secret that Mondesi struggles in plate discipline. He’s got some of the worst contact numbers in the game. Even if his speed can support a high BABIP, he just doesn’t get on base enough. Last season he had a .357 BABIP that helped him achieve a .263 batting average, and he still couldn’t crack a .300 on-base percentage. Add in the fact that he’s coming off a major shoulder injury and that’s enough for me to pass. Give me the player in Bichette that can contribute across the board.
Mick Ciallela (@themick23) – Adalberto Mondesi
This one is a bit trickier for me. All things being equal, I would rather have Adalberto Mondesi for this season. Provided he does not have any setbacks from his shoulder surgery, Mondesi should be ready for Opening Day. He has already proven he is an elite fantasy player when healthy. Over the last two seasons, his per-162 numbers are as follows: 97 runs, 21 home runs, 92 runs batted in, and 69 stolen bases. Of course, there is the rub. Mondesi has only played 177 games over that span, as he has missed a ton of time with various ailments. The injury to his shoulder may sap a bit of his power as well. But he could be a first-round fantasy player if he plays 140 games this season.
However, we must take draft capital into account here. Currently, Mondesi is going a full two rounds ahead of Bichette. I suspect that when draft season starts heating up, Mondesi’s ADP may rise. Somebody will be willing to take the chance, and I can see Mondesi being a third-round pick come February and March. If that is the case, Bichette could be the better value of the two. Bichette is one of just nine players who Steamer projects to have a 20/20 season. The only player of that group with a lower ADP is Byron Buxton. (Insert collective eye roll from the fantasy community.) I can see Bichette’s ADP rising as well as we get closer to the season, but he should still be an excellent value even if he goes in the sixth round. Mondesi has a higher ceiling but I think Bichette is the better value.
Paul Mammino (@paulmammino) – Adalberto Mondesi
As has been a theme for a few of my arguments in this ongoing series I favor Mondesi in this battle and it is entirely due to the stolen base potential. Mondesi is one of the few players in baseball who can steal over 40 bases and unlike many other rabbits he possesses 15-20 HR power. The cold streaks are bad and the average has the potential to crater you but the value of his SB numbers is hard to comprehend. The main question for him is health as the shoulder injury that ended his season did require surgery and it could be something that hampers his ability to slide. If that is the case and the SB numbers drop, then Bichette will out-earn him in 2020.
The base of solid but unspectacular skills favors the young Blue Jay but the upside lands on the side of the Royal. The biggest benefit of Mondesi in my eyes is how he allows you to build the rest of your roster. His insane SB upside gives you the freedom to build a roster of power centric studs like Nelson Cruz and Edwin Encarnacion or is the perfect pairing for an early-round 4-category monster like Nolan Arenado or JD Martinez.
Andrés Chávez (@andres_chavez13) – Bo Bichette
While his power potential probably isn’t what we saw in 2019, Bo Bichette is a fascinating player to own. His profile is much more balanced than that of Adalberto Mondesi, and his counting stats, namely runs and RBI, will be better thanks to his supporting cast. The worrisome thing about Mondesi is that he underwent surgery (on his shoulder, no less) in October and was given a 5-6 month timetable. While he should be ready for Opening Day, there will be no guarantees. And the Royals aren’t competing in 2020, so they will not have a reason to rush him.
I love the fact that Mondesi can win the steals category all by himself. But even when healthy, he is a free swinger that failed to crack .300 OBP in 2019 and had a 4.3 BB% and a 29.8 K%. Bichette had a .311/.358/.571 line, and while he wasn’t a model of plate discipline himself (6.6 BB%, 23.6 K%) it seems sustainable to some degree.
While Bichette had an average exit velocity of 89.6 and a hard-hit rate of 43.5%, Mondesi had 87.9 and 33.4% marks, respectively. Give me Bo and I will try to find the extra steals somewhere else. I won’t be too far behind given that Bichette can contribute there, as well.
The Verdict: Bo Bichette 4-3
Media Credit: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire, Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire, Statcast, Cut4.
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