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Minor League Ball daily discussion, February 21, 2017

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What do you expect from Raul Mondesi of the Kansas City Royals?

MLB: New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning everyone and welcome to the Minor League Ball daily discussion thread for Tuesday, February 21st, 2017. My main goal today is to wind up the sleeper prospect reports with the American League Central, National League East, and American League East. The next major project will be farm system rankings.

Today’s discussion question concerns Raul Mondesi Jr of the Kansas City Royals. MLBTradeRumors looked at the Royals second base battle this morning, summarizing the contenders for the job as Mondesi, Whit Merrifield, Christian Colon, and Cheslor Curthbert. Author Jeff Todd believes Merrifield has the edge going into camp.

That would have been unthinkable 12 months ago; entering 2016, Merrifield was an obscure Triple-A infielder while Mondesi was widely regarded as a top infield prospect. Merrifield outplayed him, but he’s also 28 while Mondesi is still only 21. Merrifield may be the better bet for production in 2017, but down the line Mondesi will still be the more valuable talent.

Or will he?

Mondesi has always been more about athleticism and projection than performance, but he’s always been given a lot of slack due to his age and the highly aggressive way the Royals promoted him. Two questions for you to consider:

A) If you were the Royals, how would you handle him this year? Does he go back to Omaha in favor of Merrifield or someone else in the short run?

B) Regardless of what YOU would personally do, what do you think will actually happen? When we look at the baseball encyclopedias 20 years from now, what’s Mondesi’s slash line and WAR value? Is it at all plausible that Merrifield may actually turn out to be the better player long-term?