Prospect Review: Is Francisco Lindor Ready To Emerge In 2015?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Let’s kick off our prospect review with the Indians’ Francisco Lindor. While there had been hope that he would join the Major League team after the trade of Asdrubal Cabrera, it was not to be. Instead he split time between Double and Triple-A posting the following lines:

  • Double-A – .278, 6 HR, 49 RBI, 51 R, 25 SB (388 PA)
  • Triple-A – .273, 5 HR, 13 RBI, 24 R, 3 SB (180 PA)

The 8th overall pick in the 2011 draft, with those numbers we have to start wondering if he’s a better player in real life as opposed to fantasy. There was no power… There was moderate speed… Heck, even the average doesn’t hurt you, but it also doesn’t help you either…

First lets tackle the stolen bases, which was a nice total but he also was caught 16 times (63.6% success rate). That’s obviously something he can improve upon, with proper instruction, but he has work to do.

As Baseball America said prior to the season:

“Though he’s still polishing the small-ball aspects of his game, such as bunting and stealing, he’s an intelligent baserunner with above-average speed.”

The power is also an obvious question. While he did hit the ball in the air more last season, at 31.4% OFB overall, he’s at 24.3% over his minor league career. He also posted an 8.3% HR/OFB in 2014 and owns a career mark of 6.4%. Maybe he adds strength as he gets older, but at this point 12-17 HR appears to be his limit.

How about the average? He does do a good job of making consistent contact, especially at his age, with a 17.1% strikeout rate for the season. However he has failed to hit the ball with authority, with a 14.8% line drive rate in 2014 and 15.5% for his career. With that type of number it’s not surprising that he’s struggled to post an impressive average.

It also isn’t a guarantee that Lindor opens the season in the Majors. While Jose Ramirez struggled in the Majors late in the year, he showed more at Triple-A (.302, 5 HR, 19 SB over 277 PA), is now 22-years old and has experience in the Majors. It’s very possible that the team utilizes him at shortstop, giving Lindor more time to develop at Triple-A.

As it is, in redraft and short-term keeper leagues he isn’t a prospect that I’d be targeting. The offensive upside isn’t as high as others, especially since he may not get a chance to run much initially (there is little chance that hits towards the top of the lineup). While there’s going to be a lot of hype, keep in mind that his defense is likely to carry him early. Let someone else make the investment because there isn’t much here right now.

If you are out of your league and hoping to snatch a keeper for 2015, look elsewhere.

Sources – Minor League Central, Fangraphs, Baseball America

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