Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi will undergo surgery next week to repair a tear near the joint of his left shoulder, the team announced to reporters Wednesday (Twitter link via Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com). Mondesi will recover five to six months to recover from the operation, per team trainer Nick Kenney, which could obviously impact his ability for the start of the 2020 season.
It’s a discouraging development for the ultra-talented Mondesi, who has displayed a tantalizing combination of extra-base pop, blistering speed and strong defensive ratings at shortstop over the past two seasons. Mondesi only just turned 24 but has already amassed 26 home runs and 89 stolen bases in just 943 plate appearances at the MLB level. His questionable plate discipline and penchant for punching out will likely lead to persistent on-base issues, but the blend of speed, power and glovework makes him a clear foundational piece for the rebuilding Royals.
The tear and subsequent shoulder surgery may call into question the Royals’ decision to bring Mondesi back into the fold at all. Mondesi missed two months with a subluxation of his left shoulder this summer but returned to the lineup on Sept. 1. At the time of his activation, manager Ned Yost suggested that Mondesi had been instructed not to dive for balls in the field or dive headfirst into bases for the remainder of the season (Twitter link via Flanagan). Mondesi, however, reinjured his shoulder doing precisely that: diving to his right for a hard grounder off the bat of Twins slugger Nelson Cruz (video link).
Dating back to Opening Day 2018, Mondesi has hit at a .268/.297/.454 clip while generating 5.6 rWAR and 5.2 fWAR in a total of 177 games. He won’t be eligible for arbitration until next winter and is under club control through the 2023 season.