Everyone remember Raúl Mondesí, the longtime Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder who was the 1994 National League Rookie of the Year? That man could hit for average, power, and he could run, in 1997 becoming the first Dodgers player ever to join the 30-30 club and then doing it again in 1999. It turns out that Raúl Mondesí had a son named Raúl Mondesí. And then he had another son named Raúl Mondesí!
This third Raúl Mondesí, Raúl Adalberto Mondesí, now has the chance to become the first player in history to make his Major League debut in the World Series after the Kansas City Royals called him up to their 25-man roster on Tuesday. Mondesí, nearly as hyped a baseball prospect as his father was before him, was trending on Twitter in New York City after the announcement (his father played for the Yankees in 2002 and 2003).
The 20-year-old Mondesí played this season for the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals, hitting .243 with 19 stolen bases in 25 attempts over the course of 81 games. While that steal percentage sounds good—and Mondesí’s reputedly blazing quickness is obviously the big reason that the speed-oriented Royals called him up for such a big occasion—it’s worth noting that the number is not that impressive and that his name is obviously playing some role in the hype machine. For comparison’s sake, true speed monster Billy Hamilton had 75 steals in 90 attempts over 123 games for the Cincinnati Reds’ Triple-A affiliate Louisville Bats in 2013. (Also for less relevant comparison’s sake, Raúl Mondesí’s brother, Raúl Mondesí, had 8 stolen bases in 12 attempts over 68 games for Tampa’s rookie league affiliate Princeton Rays in 2012. Raúl Mondesí.)
Still, Raúl Mondesí can blaze. Take for instance this infield hit from the 2015 MLB All-Star Futures Game.
In it, Mondesí reached a maximum speed of 21.4 miles per hour on his way to arriving safely at first base. Compare that with Hamilton’s top speed of 21.9 miles per hour on this nearly successful attempt to reach on a bunt last season, and you can see why the Royals think they might benefit from having Mondesí on the roster (Hamilton is said to have once had the fastest-time to first base in Major League history, and if Mondesí is getting close to his top speed then the prospect is certainly someone to watch).
The younger Mondesí signed with the Royals for a $2 million bonus in 2011 when he was just 16 years old and people were still calling him Adalberto Mondesí. He was ranked the 38th best prospect in baseball at the start of the season by ESPN’s Keith Law.