Lindor Wins More Personal Hardware but Wants Championships
Rob McLamb | On 08, May 2013
Going into a situation surrounded by hype and expectation can be a daunting task for anyone. It can be especially challenging for a professional athlete that is yet to reach his 20th birthday.
So far, shortstop Francisco Lindor is pulling it off with aplomb.
The Cleveland Indians’ top rated prospect is having a sensational season so far for the Carolina Mudcats. On Monday, Lindor was named as the Carolina League Hitter of the Week. Wednesday, the Indians named him their Minor League Player of the Week. The native of Puerto Rico batted a smooth .500 between April 29 and May 5 (13-for-26) and also hit his first home run of the season.
Rated the best prospect in the Cleveland Indians organization, the former top draft pick from 2011 is batting second in the Carolina League going into Tuesday’s action with a .366 average in 29 games.
Lindor has also used his speed to his advantage, hitting four triples and stealing seven bases in his first month of play in High-A ball.
Going into the season, Lindor understood the expectations that come with being a first round draft pick, but felt he would have no problems with it, especially between the white lines.
“I know there is pressure, but I also put pressure on myself,” Lindor said. “I want to show everyone what I can do. I have to keep working hard.”
Lindor originally committed to Florida State University out of high school but when it became clear big league teams were willing to offer him a chance, professional ball became the only option.
It was Cleveland who made his dream come true when the Tribe drafted him with the eighth pick in the 2011 draft. Lindor could not be happier with the organization he ended up with.
“Cleveland is first-class all the way,” Lindor said. “I like how they treat me and I hope to help lead them to great things.”
“To play for the Indians would be a dream come true. To win would be even better.”
For Lindor, it is not just about individual improvement. The team concept is important and he wants the winning habit to start now while playing in the minor leagues.
“I definitely want to win wherever I play,” Lindor said. “We came close last season (in Lake County) and I want to do it here in Carolina for as long as I am with the Mudcats.”
“To play is fun but I want to win championships too.”
Carolina manager Dave Wallace has seen enough of Lindor over the past two years to know the Indians have a fledgling superstar. After making a sensational play to throw out a runner at first base in Winston-Salem earlier this season, Wallace was left almost speechless.
“What else can you say about the guy,” Wallace said.”He just makes so many plays night-in, night-out that you become spoiled.”
“He has as much talent as I have ever seen.”
Lindor has achieved some important goals in his life over the past two years, but he also knows that the same hard work that got him where he is now will also be required to help him progress through the Cleveland system.
“I have to work hard on everything,” Lindor said. “There is nothing that I am perfect at. Everything must improve.”
“Cleveland showed a lot of faith in me,” Lindor added. “I thank them and I want to show my thanks by playing my best every day that I am on the field.”
“I love this organization and I am going to give it my best.”
Photo by Nikolaus © 2013 Carolina Mudcats