30 Prospects in 30 Days: Francisco Lindor – SS – Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians have mlb.com’s 14th top prospect in Francisco Lindor. The 19 year old shortstop is a run scorer and base stealer. He is comparable to Dee Gordon (with less steals) in that he has no power, will not drive in runs, but will be known as a pest on the base paths that crosses home plate often. Last year, for the Indians single-A Lake County, Lindor scored 83 runs with 27 stolen bases in 122 games. That works out to a 162 game average of 110 runs and 36 stolen bases, which is definite fantasy value, but again, this was single-A ball, and last time I checked there aren’t many A-ball minor league fantasy leagues.
Lindor will not see time with the Indians this season, so he can automatically be eliminated from fantasy considerations for this year, and I would even throw out 2014 as well, for all you keeper league nuts. The Indians went out and spent money this offseason, signing outfielders Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, as well as DH/infielder Mark Reynolds. They have brought in Terry Francona to manage which tells you all you need to know, that the Indians intend to compete now. So unless they go through some monumental 2012 Miami Marlins-esque collapse, Asdrubal Cabrera will still be their shortstop which leaves Lindor in the minors or dangling as trade bait.
If you are a Tribe fan that loves seeing homegrown talent come up and you start thinking about him moving to another position you can hit the brakes right there. The Indians are not moving him to third, a power hitter position, and Jason Kipnis is comfortably locked in as their second baseman. I think Lindor can turn out to be a nice major league middle infielder. As he works his way through the minors and polishes his game he can potentially be a 100+ run scorer with 40 stolen bases thanks to a high on base percentage. He is quite disciplined at the plate, drawing 61 walks last season which gave him a solid On-Base Percentage of .352. If he can maintain that as he comes through the minors, into the majors, his on-base frequency mixed with speed will boost his value significantly.
We will not see Francisco Lindor in 2013, and possibly not even 2014, but if baseball’s number 14 top prospect reaches his potential, we will see him driving pitchers insane on the bases and crossing home safely quite a bit in Cleveland, or somewhere else in the next few years.