The World Series gives baseball fans across the country the opportunity to watch teams they never see. This is particularly true for the Indians, a team that rarely gets games on national television. The Fall Classic teaches fans of other teams the stories behind the two league champions’ players. Tribe fans watch in wonder as the rest of the country finally figures out why there is always a party at Napoli’s and how many times Jose Ramirez’s helmet falls off.
There’s one story that if the casual fan didn’t know already, they do know now. And that is the story of current superstar Francisco Lindor. Notice I didn’t say future superstar. The promising future of the former top prospect is right now, and he’s been showcasing that on the national stage.
In the postseason, Lindor has been the Tribe’s best hitter. He leads the team in all three triple slash numbers (average, on-base percentage, slugging) with a .360/.396/.540 line and also has slugged two home runs. He’s collected hits in nine of the 13 games so far with seven of those games being multi-hit affairs. In an offense that has struggled for most of the postseason (.219 average, 3.4 runs per game), Lindor has been a consistent producer.
The crazy thing is, the 22-year-old improved in every series. In the three games against Boston, he only tallied a single, a double, and a home run. The Boston pitchers had his number as he struck out five times in the ALDS. Once the Indians started playing the Blue Jays, his bat heated up and has only gotten hotter.
Game 1 of the ALCS was when people began to recognize Lindor as a superstar. It was then that he slugged his second career postseason home run, a two-run shot in the sixth inning that proved to be the difference-maker in the game. For good measure, he added a single later in the game. The Tribe shortstop also had two hits in Game 2, driving in one of the two runs. After struggling a bit in Games 3 and 4, he collected three hits – something he did more than any other player this season – in the series clincher.
If it wasn’t for the dominance of Andrew Miller and Corey Kluber, Lindor would be in talks for World Series MVP. In all three Tribe victories, he’s collected at least two hits and has been on base in every single game. He started the Fall Classic off with his best October performance, contributing two singles, a double, and a stolen base in the 6-0 win. Overall for the series, Lindor has an insane .421/.476/.474 slash line.
Let’s not forget Lindor’s wizardry in the field. He continues to make the difficult plays that amaze even the most seasoned watcher of Tribe baseball.
One example, among many, was this play in the seventh inning of Game 2 of the World Series that Lindor made a diving stop on. He had the wherewithal to flip it to second base, behind his back, to try and get the lead runner, but Jason Kipnis dropped the ball. As shown in the clip, his range has been phenomenal, and he never makes a mistake either.
When the games matter the most and the most people are watching, Lindor comes up big. And it’s not like he’s doing anything differently. He still is the all-smiles, high energy kid that Tribe fans have seen all year. The smiles just happen to be wider and the energy much higher. It’s one of the many reasons casual fans are turning toward Lindor.
To borrow a phrase from Bryce Harper, he is making baseball fun again.
Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images