Jun 18, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; Carolina Mudcats shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) during the first inning of the California League vs Carolina League All Star Game at San Jose Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Counter Argument: Do Not Call Up Francisco Lindor Yet

With September rapidly approaching,  Cleveland Indians fans have a day until roster expansions.  Some players are expected to return to the show, such as Zach McAllister.  Others are just about to break into the big leagues.

At this point of the article, most writers will have a transition into the Indians’ top prospects, namely, shortstop Francisco Lindor.  They will cite Lindor’s fielding abilities and soon-to-develop bat, and state how he will help the Indians now.

These articles are wrong.  Lindor will help the Indians now.  He will help them by not starting his service clock.

Lindor has been the Indians’ top prospect for a while.  Since being drafted in 2011, he has been proclaimed the Indians’ shortstop of the future.  When Asdrubal Cabrera was traded to the Nationals for Zach Walters, Tribe fans everywhere thought Lindor’s arrival was near.

Scouts and writers can all agree: Lindor is ready for the major leagues.  On August 5, Bernie Pleskoff of MLB.com wrote Lindor was ready for the show.

Lindor has an advanced, mature approach at the plate. His pitch recognition, plate discipline and patience are all solid components of a strong hitting foundation … Lindor has an advanced, mature approach at the plate. His pitch recognition, plate discipline and patience are all solid components of a strong hitting foundation.
-Bernie Pleskoff

Since Lindor appears to be MLB-ready and the Indians have no apparent shortstop, why not call up Lindor?

It’s quite simple.  Lindor would be a liability at the plate.  Yes, I disagree with the baseball community, but it is because are three statistics that concern me with regards to Lindor’s hitting ability right now:

League BB% K% wRC+
AA (13) 15.4% 7.7% 131
AA (14) 10.3% 15.8% 108
AAA 4.4% 19.5% 83

Those are concerning trends.  It is understandable that Lindor will regress as he gets closer to the major leagues.  But a six percent drop in his walk rate is terrible.  Lindor has always been able to hit for contact, but he is heralded for his glove, not his bat.  The last thing that the Indians need is another strikeout-heavy hitter.

So what about the argument that the Indians lack a MLB shortstop?  Hello, Jose Ramirez.  Where have you been?

Aug 16, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop Jose Ramirez (11) hits a RBI single in the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

He’s been slashing .301/.343/.376 with a 11 percent strike0ut rate since his last call up on July 23.  He might not be the long-term solution, and he doesn’t hit for power, but he gets on base.  And even better for the balding Indians community: he doesn’t strike out much.

So once again, why do we want to call up Francisco Lindor?

Ramirez will be fine for the rest of the year.  His UZR at short stop is -0.5, which is almost league average, and a small sample. Cleveland should let Lindor finish out the year in AAA.  Let Lindor compete with Ramirez for the shortstop job in Spring Training.  Don’t start his service clock any sooner than need be.  I guarantee you if Lindor gets the call up now, the Indians organization will regret starting an eventual All Star’s service clock in a desperate attempt to make the postseason.  The Indians will have plenty of future years to make the playoffs. A player such as Lindor comes along maybe every decade.

So, why are we still discussing this?

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Tags: Cleveland Indians Francisco Lindor Jose Ramirez

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