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Raul Adalberto Mondesi is the 20-year-old son of longtime Dodgers outfield Raul Mondesi, and tonight he could become the first rookie to make his big league debut in the World Series.
Mondesi, a switch-hitting middle infielder from the Dominican Republic, played Double-A ball in the Royals farm system this year for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
Still, despite never having played above Double A, much less in the major league playoffs, Mondesi made the Royals final 25-man World Series roster – and he might see some action.
The reason for Mondesi’s inclusion is simple: He’s blisteringly fast.
Mondesi stole 19 bases in 25 attempts in 81 games this year for the Naturals, and since the Royals’ World Series roster announcement was finalized, video of him flying to first base has made its rounds on the internet.
Here’s the video, via Slate, in which Mondesi reaches a top speed of 21.4 mph as he beats out a routine ground ball in September:
As FOX Sport’s Ken Rosenthal notes, if Royals manager Ned Yost decides to use Mondesi either as a pinch runner or as part of a double-switch during the games at CitiField when the team’s pitchers must bat, Mondesi would become the first rookie in the history of the MLB to make his big league debut in the World Series.
And while he’s still a raw talent who probably still needs at least a few more years of minor-league baseball before becoming a big-league mainstay, Mondesi’s inclusion in the final 25-man roster isn’t all that crazy. The Royals are a team that’s aggressive on the base path. They stole the second most bases in the AL this year and they’ve thrived by running aggressively during the postseason.
So to have an extra body that can run – no, fly– is a big advantage. Plus, it’s not as though Mondesi is simply a converted track star who might be a liability in the field. The Royals spent $2 million on him in 2011, and at the start of the year he was ranked the 38th best minor-league prospect by ESPN.