The Red Sox acquired shortstop Adalberto Mondesí from the Royals on Tuesday, dealing away lefthander Josh Taylor. Boston also received a player to be named later in the transaction.
Mondesí’s name might sound familiar to you. The 27-year-old with a famous father has spent his entire career in Kansas City after getting signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2011. He made his big-league debut in the 2015 World Series when he was 19.
Mondesí could get an opportunity to start for the Red Sox, with Xander Bogaerts gone to San Diego and Trevor Story out with an elbow injury.
Here’s what you need to know about Mondesí.
Baseball is in his blood
If the name Mondesí sounds familiar, it’s because Adalberto is the son of former All-Star outfielder Raul Mondesí.
Raul Mondesí spent 13 years in the majors, mostly with the Dodgers. He was the 1994 National League Rookie of the Year and won two Gold Gloves.
Mondesí’s son is speedy like his father, who stole 229 bases in his career. But the righthanded Raul made a living with his power, notching a career slugging percentage of .485.
His health has been an issue
Mondesí has had issues staying healthy.
Since establishing himself as a major leaguer in 2018, Mondesí has played 100 games in a season just twice. In 2018, he played in 104 games between the majors and minors, and in 2019 he played in 113.
He played 59 of the 60 games in the 2020 season, which was shortened because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But he played just 50 games over 2021 and 2022. His 2021 season was marred with a number of serious muscle strains. In April 2022, he tore his left ACL.
Despite the surgery on his ACL, Mondesí appears to be on track to join the Red Sox for spring training.
He’s lightning on the bases
When healthy, Mondesí is one of the fastest players in baseball.
In 2016, his sprint speed was in the 99th percentile of all players, according to Baseball Savant. In four of his seven seasons, his sprint speed has been in the 98th percentile or higher.
Mondesí has 20 triples and 133 stolen bases in his seven seasons in the majors.
“In terms of the talent, the athleticism that he has, it’s really top of the scale, I think, of anyone who has played big league baseball,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said Tuesday.
He’s a switch hitter
Mondesí has flashed his skill of hitting from either side of the plate. The majority of his at-bats have come from the left (70 percent), but his numbers are comparable on either side.
On the left, he has hit .240/.279/.396. He generates a bit more power from the right, slashing .254/.282/.437 in his career.
Of his 38 career home runs, 15 have come from the right despite hitting from that side of the plate only 30 percent of the time.
He struggles with plate discipline
Mondesí’s ability to get on base has been a problem throughout his career.
His .244 career batting average and .280 career on-base percentage aren’t stellar.
Mondesí has just 60 walks in 1,366 plate appearances, giving him a walk rate of 4.4 percent — well below the major league average of 8.4 percent. His infrequent walks are not complemented by his high strikeout rate: Mondesí strikes out in 30.2 percent of his plate appearances, above the league average of 22.1 percent.
He brings value on the defensive side
Mondesí should provide value for the Red Sox on the defensive side of the ball — if he can stay healthy and keep hitting.
Mondesí can contribute all over the infield. During his career, he has played 255 games at short, 68 at second, and 20 at third.
“Just in terms of looking at what he can do, I mean, awesome defender,” Bloom said. “He can run. He has power. Obviously the inconsistency of the opportunities has probably played into why he hasn’t been able to tap into those tools consistently at the plate, but it’s all there.”