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Oakland A's 2017 top-50 prospect scouting report: Nate Mondou, 2B

Our Oakland A's 2017 top-50 prospects list is out. Now find out more about the players on that list. In this piece, a close look at top-50 prospect Nate Mondou. Mondou got his professional career off to a good start with Vermont. Can he continue to be an above-average hitting second baseman as he progresses?

Name: Nate Mondou
Position: 2B
Height/Weight: 5’10’’, 205
Bats/Throws: L/R
Age: 21
How Acquired: Drafted in the 13th round of the 2016 MLB Draft

In his first professional season, Nate Mondou opened eyes with his tenacious approach at the plate and his work ethic. Will Mondou continue to shine as he reaches full-season leagues? Timing is everything, and Mondou had some unlucky timing in college. As a sophomore in 2015 at Wake Forest, Mondou was one of the top hitters in the nation, posting a .338/.391/.581 line with 10 homers in 53 games. Going into the 2016 season, Mondou was a possible top-five round pick and he was going to get plenty of looks by scouts out to see teammate Will Craig, who was a projected first-rounder.

Unfortunately for Mondou, his 2016 season didn’t go as smoothly as his 2015 campaign. He got off to a slow start before finishing strong. Although his final numbers were solid (.302/.383/.416) and he was named first-team all-ACC, Mondou’s draft status slipped. The A’s were happy to pick him up in the 13th-round. 

Mondou headed out to the desert after signing with Oakland, but he had only two at-bats in the AZL before joining the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters. Mondou would spend the rest of his pro debut season with Vermont, and he was one of their most consistent offensive performers in 2016. The everyday second baseman was a mid-season All-Star and he led the New York-Penn League in batting for much of the year. He slumped over the final two weeks of the season, but still finished sixth in the league in batting average (.298). He also finished ninth in the league in OBP (.375).

Nate Mondou 2016 Stats

AZL A's 1 1 .000 .500 .000 0 1 0
Vermont 60 225 .298 .375 .363 13 24 37

Mondou’s swing is quick to the ball, and he is balanced at the plate, giving him time to adjust to pitches. He posted a solid 24:37 BB:K with the Lake Monsters and coaches raved about his ability to grind out at-bats. His spray chart with Vermont showed a hitter who used the whole field well. He had a better than 21% line-drive rate and also demonstrated that he could handle the bat well in bunting situations.

“He has a great approach, very selective and he has a nice swing,” Vermont manager Aaron Nieckula said of Mondou during the season. “He puts the bat on the ball and it doesn't matter if it is a righty on the mound or lefty on the mound, the kid has an excellent approach either way.”

Oakland A’s Assistant GM Billy Owens said that Mondou’s attitude also gave him an advantage.

“He’s a real tough, feisty kid,” Owens said. “He gives you quality at-bats. He’s a grinder. He uses the whole field and has solid plate discipline. He’s had a very strong offensive year and I really like his make-up and mentality. He’s a good addition to the system.” 

Mondou didn’t homer in his pro debut, and it was a lack of power that was the biggest difference between his 2015 and 2016 collegiate seasons. Whether that power drain has to do with a new, more contact-focused approach or something that can be reversed with a mechanical change remains to be seen. If Mondou is able to regain that power bat, he could be a very intriguing hitter with his contact abilities, his command of the strike-zone and his ability to use the whole field.

Defensively, Mondou still has a ways to go at second base. He committed 11 errors in only 51 games at second with Vermont. He played some third base in college, in addition to second, but most scouts view him primarily as a second baseman. Mondou did make improvements during the season at second and went to the A’s fall Instructional League to work on his defense. A’s Triple-A hitting coach and infield instructor Eric Martins thought Mondou made progress with his glove during the camp.

“He really got after it and was grinding and got together with Juan [Navarette, the A’s roving infield coordinator] and myself and actually became a really good second baseman,” Martins said. “Making all of the plays, showing some range. I like that kid. He’s a grinder-type player.”

Mondou turns 22 just before the start of the 2017 regular season, and he is likely to be with either Low-A Beloit or High-A Stockton to start the year.

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