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MLB Futures Game 2012: What to Expect from Francisco Lindor

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With the 2012 MLB Futures Game scheduled to take place on July 8th, it’s time to take a look at the two Tribe participants in the event: Francisco Lindor and Jesus Aguilar.

The Futures Game has been an All-Star week tradition since 1999 that pits the best and brightest prospects against each other in a United States vs. the World format.

This game is usually just a showcase event, to put the stars of tomorrow on a nationwide stage. So will we Lindor and Aguilar make a splash like Jason Kipnis’ homer last year? Or will they flounder like Drew Pomeranz, who gave up a homer in the same game? To start, let’s see what we can expect from Lindor, the organization’s top prospect.

The 18-year-old shortstop has had a solid year to date, currently slashing .265/.354/.376 at Low-A Lake County. Lindor’s line doesn’t scream top prospect, but he’s shown great discipline and the exact numbers should be taken with a grain of salt since most 18-year-olds are still in high school. His defense will always be his calling card, and that’s what he will be showing off next week.

Expect to see Lindor for at least three innings in this game, perhaps more. The other shortstops are Jurickson Profar of the Texas Rangers and Xander Bogaerts of the Boston Red Sox. Bogaerts’ future in the Majors is at third base, so it’s possible Profar and Lindor will be the only guys standing in between second and third base for the World team.

If he gets those extra innings, I fully expect to see at least one play that makes me go “wow.” It might be as simple as a strong throw to first or it could be a crazy web gem, but there’s going to be something on the defensive side of the ball from Lindor that will get Cleveland excited.

Offensively, I don’t expect much. Lindor has a good eye, so he might draw a walk or at least work up the count against some pitchers who might be trying to throw as hard as they can in this showcase. If that’s the case, Lindor probably won’t have a huge hit, but could spend some time on the basepaths and perhaps swipe a bag as he tends to do (17 steals in 23 attempts thus far).

So Lindor may not be the guy who steps up and shows off in Kansas City, but it will be the first look many Cleveland fans get at the future of the franchise. Best case scenario, I’d say Lindor gets a web gem and we seem him in a SportsCenter highlight.

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