Before Sunday’s MLB Futures Game, I made some predictions for what we would see from Francisco Lindor and from Jesus Aguilar, the Tribe’s two representatives. Nothing I said ended up happening, but each Tribe farm hand more than held his own on the national stage.
Lindor didn’t start for the World team at shortstop, instead giving way to the prospect many consider to be the best position player in the minors, Texas’ Jurickson Profar. Lindor came into the fifth inning to share the infield with Aguilar at first base, who got the start.
Unfortunately for Lindor, he came in at the wrong time. Team USA was tearing the cover off the ball by the time he entered the game en route to a 17-5 victory, so there wasn’t much action for the infield as pitch after pitch sailed into the outfield. The Tribe’s top prospect didn’t get many chances to show off his Gold Glove-caliber defense for the national audience.
He also got only one at-bat despite playing nearly half the game, though he made the most of it as he took the first pitch he saw into right field for a single. It was quite an accomplishment considering that pitch was a 95 mph fastball from Seattle’s Taijuan Walker, whom many consider the second best pitching prospect behind Baltimore’s Dylan Bundy.
Meanwhile, Aguilar played completely differently than what I expected. I said in my preview that he’d either blast one out of the park he’d suffer as the more advanced pitchers exposed the holes in his swing. Yet he showed great plate discipline, drawing a ful- count walk from the top pick in the 2011 Draft, Gerrit Cole. He fouled off two tough pitches to eventually get on base, and would eventually score. He later added a single, but had a huge baserunning gaffe as he tried to advance to third when a ball bounced out of the catcher’s glove and was quickly thrown out. He would leave after the sixth inning.
On the other hand, Aguilar shined in the field. He didn’t have any big plays, but he played solid defense at first on a day when most other fielders were terrible.
Cleveland’s prospects may not have been the talk of the prospect showcase event, but each definitely held his own—especially since, at 18, Lindor was the youngest player on the field and therefore could see a lot more MLB Futures Games in the ensuing years. Meanwhile, Aguilar has finally gotten recognition for his back-to-back monster seasons, and if he can keep up this kind of plate discipline he could find himself in Cleveland sooner than you might think.