Youthful Lindor Working Daily to Progress to Ultimate Goal
By Christian Petrila
Not even a week after the 2012 MLB First Year Draft, Indians fans should be excited about the 2011 draft. With the eighth overall pick, the Indians took a 17-year old shortstop out o fMontverde Academy in Florida. His name is Francisco Lindor, and in just his first full professional season, the now 18-year old is not disappointing.
Entering Sunday, Lindor is hitting .271 with four home runs and 22 RBI through 53 games at Lake County. He has also swiped 14 bases. His performance has even landed him a spot in the Midwest League All-Star Game. However, despite the early accolade, Lindor still has his sights set higher.
“To be honest, I didn’t come here to play in the Midwest League All-Star Game,” Lindor said. “Sure, it’s awesome, but I came here to make it to the bigs.”
Lake County Captains manager, David Wallace, had his fair share of expectations entering the season.
“I got to know him a little bit at Mahoning Valley last year when I was there,” Wallace said. “He only played four or five games there, but I got to know Francisco as a person, how mature he was and just how professional he was; how he acted and everything.
Despite all of the hitting success, the main attraction when it comes to Lindor is his glove work at shortstop. His high school coach, Tim Layden, a former All-American at Duke, raved about Lindor’s defensive wizardry.
“As a 17-year old in high school, he was right there with the best of them,” Layden said.
Montverde Academy is notorious for being a very difficult school academically. Located in Montverde, FL, just west of Orlando, the academy stresses academics over athletics despite being an elite athletic school.
“(School) gave me so much knowledge,” Lindor said. “Montverde Academy helped me a lot.”
Lindor has committed six errors in 250 chances, which is good for a .976 fielding percentage. He has 91 put outs and 153 assists. He does have room to improve defensively. However, as Wallace said, Lindor is more than capable of adjusting.
“Did I expect him to be as consistent and mature baseball wise and life wise as he is? No,” Wallace said. “But he’s someone who can make adjustments quickly.”
Wallace entered the 2012 season with a brief knowledge of Lindor, his abilities and his personality.
The thing that most impresses people who have encountered Lindor is his maturity for his age. Layden wasted no time praising Lindor’s leadership abilities.
“What impressed me the most about Francisco is his knowledge of the game and life in general,” Layden said. “He is a remarkable player and human being.”
Wallace also raved about Lindor’s ability.
Even Lindor thinks of himself as a mature person and leader.
“I didn’t think of myself as a 17-year old kid when I was drafted,” Lindor said.
After the draft, contract negotiations were tedious. In fact, Lindor and the Indians didn’t reach an agreement until 11:59 p.m. on August 15th – a minute before the deadline. Lindor didn’t stress over the time-consuming negotiations. He had some leverage due to receiving a full scholarship offer fromFloridaState. However, he decided to sign with the Indians for a $2.9 million signing bonus.
“I knew whatever I did was going to be the right decision,” Lindor said. “But when I signed the contract, it was one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever had.”
It has been over a year since the 2011 MLB draft, and last year’s first round selection isn’t disappointing. Being so young, the Indians aren’t likely to rush him through the system. However, he has all the tools to become an impact player for the Indians.