Recent memory does not recall an Indians prospect so closely watched and highly touted as Francisco Lindor. Since the 2011 draft day when the Indians made him the eighth overall pick, Lindor has been in the spotlight and on the radar of every Indians fan looking to the future. This season, at age 19, he made his debut at the Indians Double-A level in Akron. His emergence as one of the top prospects in all of baseball has been well deserved and hard earned from this humble and talented ball player.
Lindor played his first professional games at the Indians Short Season-A club in Mahoning Valley. He only played in five games, but for a 17-year old, he hit an impressive .316. He started the next year at Lake County where he spent the entire season. He impressed with his bat, with his glove, and with his attitude, showing all the skills of a future star. He batted .257 and showed incredible plate discipline and eye to post a .352 on-base percentage. He also stole 27 bases and handled the shortstop position like a pro. He made big improvements at the plate and in the field, and proved he deserved his status as a top prospect.
Francisco Lindor was all smiles Tuesday afternoon as he met with the media in Akron prior to his Double-A debut. He rarely isn’t smiling, but the boisterous 19-year old top prospect of the Cleveland Indians was actually upset just minutes before learning about his promotion to the Aeros on Friday night.
His High-A team, the Carolina Mudcats lost Friday evening in walkoff fashion. After showering in the clubhouse, Mudcats’ manager Dave Wallace asked to speak with him.
“I was kinda mad because we lost,” Lindor said. “When I walked in the clubhouse I was mad because we lost on a walkoff. I was showered and Wally asked me to come talk to him. He started asking me about my plans for the Futures Game and I told him and he told me, ‘we’ll see you in spring training,’ and I thought, ‘Oh my God.’”
Is Asdrubal Cabrera quietly on the trading block? Is that a good idea?
Cabrera was in trade discussion much of the off season while the Indians worked to try and rebuild their team from a disappointing 2012 squad into a contender in 2013. He was strongly mentioned in trade talks with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the St. Louis Cardinals. Neither team could agree upon the fair value of young pitching to send to Cleveland in return for the two-time All-Star.
The accolades are building for Francisco Lindor.
Fresh off of being selected from the Carolina Mudcats to play for the Carolina League All-Star team, where he singled in two runs in the victory over the California League, Lindor will join fellow Cleveland prospect C.C. Lee (Columbus) representing the World team at the Sirius/XM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday, July 14th at Citi Field in Queens, NY.
Lindor will be participating in the Futures Game for the second straight season after also appearing in at the 2012 classic at Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City.
As the Carolina League enters its All-Star break, it is time to break down the Carolina Mudcats performance in the first half of the season.
Entering the season, the Mudcats were the team in Cleveland’s minor league system receiving the most attention. Based on the amount of top-level prospects in Zebulon, it was easy to see why. With the previous two first-round draft picks in Francisco Lindor and Tyler Naquin slated to begin the campaign in Carolina, the excitement at Five County Stadium was palpable.
It has been a season to forget on the field for the Carolina Mudcats. Entering Wednesday’s game with a dismal 21-43 record, the ‘Cats have floundered spectacularly to the shock of most observers. Carolina’s record belies not only the talent in Zebulon but also the individual performances from some of Cleveland’s top prospects.
The announcement of the Carolina League All-Star team only accentuates that surprise. Carolina has four players who will be making the trip to San Jose, CA to face the California League All-Stars on June 18, including both of the first round picks. Only the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Texas) have more All-Stars than the Mudcats.
One June 3, Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera left the game early after limping his way down the baseline. The next day he was placed on the 15 day disabled list and the Indians called up injury fill-in Juan Diaz from Columbus. The injury seemed to call into question among fans not only his value on the field, but his value in the trade market. Many looked to the Indians Minor Leagues and asked who within the organization could replace Cabrera at short. The Tribe is thick with young talent at shortstop at the Minor League level, and among there is almost certainly a couple future Major League players. Three of the Indians top 20 prospects play short, and four of their top 20 prospects play the position. Among all those young players, six have made themselves worthy of note as possible future Indians.
Francisco Lindor is one of the most recognizable names that have come through the Indians system in the last decade. He has sparked hope and excitement in Cleveland’s future, and the hype is not just smoke and mirrors. Drafted 8th overall by the Tribe in 2011 at the age of 17, Lindor has climbed the ranks to debut this season for the Carolina Mudcats, the Indians High A affiliate. The now 19 year old Lindor currently boasts a .299 batting average, a .367 on-base percentage, and a .416 slugging percentage. He looks like the real deal, excelling both offensively and defensively at every level. His skills have earned him the Indians organization top prospect and Baseball America’s 28th best prospect in baseball. He is certainly on the fast track to the Major League level but is still at the very least a year away.
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.
After the first month of the Carolina League season, the 2013 Carolina Mudcats are starting to form an identity as a team that will slap the ball around, make spectacular plays, and produce many exciting prospects for the Cleveland Indians.
While they have not shown much power this season, the Mudcats are easily leading the Carolina League in batting. Carolina has a .274 team batting average through 23 games. Its nearest competitors are batting more than 20 points below the Cats.
To develop a winning mentality in major league baseball, it is best to begin with a formula for success in the minor leagues.
The Carolina Mudcats begin its second season as Class A affiliates of the Cleveland Indians with excitement over the influx of talent and hope that its relationship with its parent club will continue to blossom.
David Wallace is marching up the managerial ladder in the Cleveland organization. In his third season as skipper, Wallace has been annually promoted and begins his first year in Zebulon with a 112-102 record overall.
With a solid nucleus of players from last season’s Lake County Captains’ roster that made it to the second round of the Midwest League playoffs, the 2013 Mudcats will look to expand on the gains on the field and in player development.
It all starts with 2011 first round draft pick Francisco Lindor, the top-rated prospect in the Cleveland organization by Baseball America. Last season, the shortstop posted solid numbers in his first full year. Lindor batted .257 with six home runs and 42 RBIs along with 27 stolen bases in 2012 at Lake County.
Lindor, however, is not nearly satisfied.
By Mike Brandyberry
It was just for a day yesterday, but it might be a one-day look into the future of the Indians and Francisco Lindor.
Monday the Indians second-rated prospect, behind only Trevor Bauer, started and played the entire nine innings against the Chicago Cubs during the Tribe’s 13-5 victory. Lindor was 2 for 4 at the plate and made several plays at shortstop, making them all look routine.
“He’s such a nice kid,” Indians Manager Terry Francona said in his daily press conference. “He’s always smiling and he has a boatload of talent. He just needs to play because he’s so young. For our staff to get to see him for nine innings is really enjoyable.”
By Mike Brandyberry
Most highly touted prospects carry the pressure and expectations to develop while analyzing and improving every mechanical aspect of their game. For the Indians’ top prospect, Francisco Lindor, his keys to improvement and development are simple.
“Get better every day and have fun,” Lindor said.
Lindor has been having a lot of fun since the Cleveland Indians selected him out of Montverde Academy in Florida with the eighth overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. He signed with the Indians just minutes before the Aug. 15 deadline—with a $2.9 million signing bonus—and bypassed his commitment to Florida State. But Lindor never has felt pressure as a high, first round draft pick or a player with a large signing bonus.
“At first, it was an honor to be drafted so high and drafted by the Cleveland Indians,” Lindor said. “They gave me a great opportunity and I thank them every day. They let me be a part of the ballclub. As far as pressure, we’re all the same. We all have the same goals: to get better and make it to the bigs.”