The Future of the Tribe is Upon Us in Francisco Lindor
Height/Weight: 5’11″/175 pounds
Contract: Signed a $2.9 million minor league contract as a first round pick (8th overall) in 2011;
Francisco Lindor Career Stats:
2013 Year in Review:
While most young men his age are doing keg stands at a local college, all Francisco Lindor did in 2013 was reach Double-A, playing in 21 games with the Akron Aeros to wrap up a very strong season. After posting very impressive numbers in 2012, Lindor really took off in the High-A Carolina League, posting a 121 wRC+ with his continued, dynamic plate discipline, showcasing intelligent base running and solid gap power. The impressive display in Carolina led to a late-season promotion.
In his first 15 games in Double-A, Lindor posted a .908 OPS and posted a 3:11 K:BB, which showed the type of skills that he can bring to the Indians when he proves that he is ready for the majors. However, he proved that he wasn’t quite ready when he posted a .530 OPS over his final six games in August. Both are very small sample sizes and nearly impossible to be the final factor in where Lindor should start and finish the 2014 season. Regardless, he remains an asset for the Indians due to the combination of his long-term defensive value, and his ability to use the field in a refined manner for such a young player.
Looking Ahead to 2014:
Incredible instincts for the game; near elite potential with the glove; silky actions; excellent backhand pickup; range plays up; arm is plus; total package at shortstop; balanced at the plate; clean path into the ball; consistent contact from both sides of the plate; advanced approach; tracks and reacts very well; good baserunner despite average speed; makeup is plus. – Jason Parks, Baseball Prospectus
Lindor is an elite defensive shortstop, and many scouts consider him to be the best defender in the Minor Leagues. He has a strong arm and ranges well to both sides. At the plate, Lindor makes a lot of contact and shows good pitch recognition. He doesn’t have a lot of power, but some believe he will develop solid pop as he fills out. He is a good runner, and his baseball instincts help that play up on the basepaths. He also earns praise for his leadership and makeup. – Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com
I’m not sure what remains for Lindor to learn before he’s ready to take over the position in Cleveland, and while they could wait for him to fill out a little more physically, he’s strong enough now that big league fastballs aren’t going to knock the bat out of his hands. – Keith Law, ESPN
These are all nice little superlatives that go along with prospects, but they seem pretty consistent from around the internet – which is full of nothing but facts, so you have to agree. Francisco Lindor may have only played in 21 games in Double-A in 2013, but he’ll likely make his debut in 2014. Due to the small sample size in Akron, he’ll likely return to Double-A for the beginning of the 2014 season, representin’ the RubberDucks and their sweet uniforms, before earning a promotion late in the year…
At least…that has to be the hope for all Cleveland Indians fans. If Lindor is up earlier in 2014, it is likely due to an injury or a trade of current shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. While Cabrera’s second half demises and inconsistencies are troubling, Lindor likely needs just a bit more seasoning, and the club would be wise to keep him in the minors so that they don’t start his arbitration clock.
What You Should Expect:
Expect to see Francisco Lindor make his debut in September when rosters expand. He is already a member of the club’s 40-man roster, so there is a bit of flexibility in an earlier promotion, but with Jose Ramirez and Mike Aviles as alternative, middle infield options, there shouldn’t be quite the rush; however, Lindor WILL be the starting shortstop in 2015 due to his makeup, elite defensive chops, and instincts that will make him an All-Star caliber talent for the next decade. He will still have rookie eligibility in 2015, as well, as you shouldn’t expect any more than 120 at bats at the major league level.