Francisco Lindor Needs Some All-Star Love
Eddie Kerekes | On 14, Jun 2016
Francisco Lindor is having a stellar season. The 2015 AL Rookie of the Year runner up is batting .300 with seven home runs, 33 runs batted in, and ten steals. For those more inclined to advanced stats, Lindor entered Monday’s game leading all Tribe position players in fWAR with 2.7, and was tied for the team lead in wOBA (.348) and wRC+ (121). A wizard in the field as well, Lindor has also accumulated five Defensive Runs Saved so far this year, three more than any other AL shortstop.
He has followed up his impressive rookie campaign by producing more quality at bats. Lindor’s strikeout rate decreased from 15.8% in 2015 to 13.4% this year and his walk rate has increased by about the same amount, going from 6.2% a year ago to 7.8% now. Following in the example of teammates Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana, Lindor is taking more pitches, going form 3.60 pitches per plate appearance last year to 3.75 this year. Finally, he’s not giving up outs. Last season, Lindor lead the AL in sac bunts despite only playing in 99 games, a major frustration for fans who wanted to see his talent at the major league level. This year, in 61 games, he’s only attempted one.
Despite being called the best shortstop in baseball by August Fagerstrom of FanGraphs, Lindor isn’t in the top five for All-Star voting in the AL according to MLB’s most recent update, trailing Xander Bogaerts, Alcides Escobar, Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Correa, and Elvis Andrus. MLB only releases the top five vote getters at each position, so Lindor could be as high as sixth or as low as 15th.
Fan voting for the All-Star Game is an exercise in ballot box stuffing, especially now that it’s completely online. Fans aren’t voting for the best players, they’re voting for who is on their team. Just last year, the Royals had at one point leaders at eight of the nine positions. So it’s no surprise that Lindor, who plays for a team dead last in attendance, doesn’t have that many votes.
For what it’s worth, Lindor doesn’t care if he is selected. He told Zack Meisel of Cleveland.com, “I don’t play for any awards. I play for October baseball. That’s what it’s all about. The biggest accomplishment anyone could have is win the World Series.”
Comparing Lindor to the top vote getters shows he is sorely lacking national attention for his stellar season. Bogaerts, the leader in votes right now, is certainly the deserving starter because he leads the top vote getters in average, OPS, wOBA, and fWAR. Lindor, however, deserves more consideration. He trails only Bogaerts in those four categories, and is tied for first in steals and is first in DRS. Escobar, currently second in votes, has a negative fWAR, a batting average under .250, and zero home runs.
Just let the fact that he is beating Lindor in voting sink in for a second.
Looking on the bright side, it’s only the middle of June and voting lasts until the end of the month. And last minute campaigns seem to work. Even though seven Royals players led voting at the last update last year, only three wound up starting. And if that doesn’t work out, Lindor will surely still make the All-Star team through either player voting or manager’s selection. Though he won’t become the first Tribe player to start the game since Asdrubal Cabrera in 2011, he will be representing the team in San Diego. On the national stage, he will show the baseball world why they should have voted for him, preventing this problem from happening in the future.
Photo: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images