The 23-year-old has quickly emerged as one of the best hitting shortstops in the game. He has utilized a steady contact-heavy approach to work counts and post a .306/.356/.454 career slash line in 1,122 plate appearances. As evidenced by his low strikeout rate (career 14.0 percent), Francisco Lindor seemingly understands that his game is more slash and dash right now than power, but he can still turn on a pitch and yank it out of the yard when a pitcher misses his spot (27 career long balls). In addition to the double-digit home-run pop, Lindor has shown an aptitude for stealing bases, going 31-for-38 over his first two seasons and reaping the benefits of manager Terry Francona's aggressive approach on the basepaths. Throw in the fact that he is split neutral and will continue to hit high in the lineup as he continues to fill out physically, and the sky is truly the limit for Lindor. He may add another level of power to come along to accentuate the high average, good speed, and run production, though it might not happen in 2017. Still, his floor already is lofty enough to put him within the top 50 fantasy picks.
Lindor went 3-for-5 with two home runs, three RBI and scored three runs in Saturday's World Baseball Classic victory over Mexico. Lindor -- one of the only quiet members in Puerto Rico's 11-0 win over Venezuela to open the tournament -- unloaded in the first inning, smashing a two-run homer over the billboards in right field at Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Indians' star added a solo shot in the seventh inning for good measure. In last season's sophomore campaign, Lindor hit 15 home runs and stole 19 bags. On Saturday night, he showed the power that makes him a legitimate 20-20 candidate for 2017.
At the request of Indians manager Terry Francona, Lindor will play at his normal shortstop position during World Baseball Classic, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. An argument could be made for naming either Lindor or Houston's Carlos Correa as the shortstop for Puerto Rico when the tournament kicks off. Lindor's MLB team would prefer there not to be a debate at all. "He's not going to get moved around the field," Francona said. "It was a strong request. We wouldn't do that here. That's probably putting him in a difficult spot." The skipper noted that -- after speaking with Puerto Rico's manager, Edwin Rodriguez -- Lindor will serve as the shortstop or designated hitter throughout the WBC.
Lindor will play for Team Puerto Rico in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. In only a short time in the majors, Lindor has blossomed into one of the game's young superstars. The Indians shortstop is coming off a campaign in which he was named an All-Star and earned both Gold Glove and Platinum Glove Awards for his defensive prowess. One year earlier, Lindor was the runner-up for the AL Rookie of the Year Award. Although his .293 average in April of 2016 was no slouch, it was the 23-year-old's lowest mark for any month prior to the All-Star break. The WBC should help Lindor get running on all cylinders in time for Opening Day this season.
Lindor is out of the lineup Thursday against the White Sox, the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes reports. He has started the last 20 games, hitting .325/.367/.434 with zero home runs and two steals over that stretch. Michael Martinez will get the start at shortstop and hit ninth Thursday.
Lindor went 4-for-4 Saturday with two doubles, one RBI and one run scored Saturday against Miami. This could be an indicator that Lindor's recent slump is finally evaporating. Prior to Saturday's outing, he had posted just one RBI and two runs scored since August 22. He currently leads all shortstops with a .319 batting average and is second behind Xander Bogaerts with 86 runs. He also has 16 steals on the year.