As Mondesi progresses, Royals are watching

Manager Yost considers top prospect's defense Major League-ready

As Mondesi progresses, Royals are watching

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- How good is Royals middle-infield prospect Raul Mondesi? Major League-ready, at least defensively, according to Royals manager Ned Yost.

Mondesi, the Royals' No. 1 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, has wowed Yost and the coaching staff for more than two years now.

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"His defense is good enough to play in the big leagues right this minute," Yost said. "He's very impressive."

The Royals thought so much of Mondesi, 20, last fall that they put him on their World Series roster. He then became the youngest player to appear in a World Series.

But the plan remains for Mondesi to continue to develop in the Minors this season. While he has bulked up his frame slightly and now weighs 185 pounds, Mondesi knows he needs to show that he can be stronger at the plate.

"I've been working on my hitting the most," Mondesi said. "I work in the cages every day, working in batting practice. That's the part I want to get better at."

Mondesi, a switch-hitter, batted just .243 at Double-A Northwest Arkansas last season, though he showed a little pop, hitting six homers.

Royals officials believe Mondesi, as his 6-foot-1 frame continues to fill out, could evolve into a No. 3 hitter with the potential to hit 15-20 homers a season.

"That's kind of the internal fun debate we have," Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo said. "We talk about him being a leadoff guy because of his speed, or a No. 3 guy because he has that potential to show power. When he gets a hold of one, it goes a long way."

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At any rate, Mondesi appreciates the education he is getting from spending the entire camp this year with the big leaguers.

"I'm really learning a lot with these guys," Mondesi said. "They have helped a lot. Now I just want to keep it going.

"Esky [Alcides Escobar] has helped me. Omar [Infante] has helped. They're all good to me. And the Royals have given me the chance to play every day this spring. I try to do something to help the team every day. That's my goal."

Mondesi knows that soon he will find out his Minor League assignment.

"I don't know yet what it will be," Mondesi said. "Wherever they send me, I'll just go there and do what I'm supposed to do. It doesn't matter."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.