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Listen, I get it. You like underdogs. Fellow phenom shortstop Carlos Correa is getting a ton of hype (deservedly so), and the natural reaction is to go all contrarian and turn your Fantasy love to Francisco Lindor.

And to be fair, Lindor did some very nice things in his rookie year.In his 99 games he popped 12 homers, stole 12 bases, and hit an impressive .313. All of this came with the expected Gold Glove caliber defense. I like Lindor as a baseball player. He’s going to help the Indians in many ways over the next decade.

It’s just when it come to Fantasy where I think the Lindor train is gaining way too much steam. There are some major reasons that it is very unlikely he repeats what he did in the second half of the 2015 season.

This will probably be my most unpopular post of the year, because many people seem to have developed an unnatural love for Francisco Lindor. I get the love to an extent, but I won’t let it interfere with my Fantasy Baseball evaluation. Shortstop is a putrid pool of patheticicity (yeah, I made it up) this year, so Lindor will have solid value, but those of you putting him in the same company as Carlos Correa are way off base.

Now that I’ve probably pissed you off, let’s take a look at the reasoning behind my Fantasy dressing down of Francisco Lindor.

Why Francisco Lindor is a Fantasy Baseball Bust

Track Record, Track Record, Track Record

It is entirely possible that Lindor’s breakout at the Major League level is just a natural progression of his obvious skills. It’s possible. But if there’s one thing you need to learn in evaluating players for Fantasy Baseball, it’s that sample size is everything. Do you trust his 99 games at the big league level or do you trust his three and a half seasons in the minor leagues?

Year
Lev
G
PA
AB
R
HR
RBI
SB
CS
BB
SO
BA
OBP
SLG
2011
A-
5
20
19
4
0
2
1
0
1
5
.316
.350
.316
2012
A
122
567
490
83
6
42
27
12
61
78
.257
.352
.355
2013
A+-AA
104
464
403
65
2
34
25
7
49
46
.303
.380
.407
2014
AA-AAA
126
567
507
75
11
62
28
16
49
97
.276
.338
.389
2015
AAA
59
262
229
26
2
22
9
7
25
38
.284
.350
.402
2015
MLB
99
438
390
50
12
51
12
2
27
69
.313
.353
.482
MiLB Totals
416
1880
1648
253
21
162
90
42
185
264
.279
.354
.384

 

As you can see, what Lindor did in 2015 for the Indians, is kind of out of whack with what he did throughout his minor league career. He did bump the power up a bit in 2014, but his 12 HRs would seem to be a ceiling to me. There are people talking about him now morphing into a 20-HR type hitter. It’s not going to happen; not with that swing. I know it’s not cool these days to use old school scouting, but his swing is not the type of swing that is going to lead to consistent power. He’s going to yank a few down the lines here and there, but does he have the power to take it out in the gaps? It’s a short swing, which is nice, but power? Not in my opinion. You take a look.

[iframe src=”http://m.mlb.com/shared/video/embed/embed.html?content_id=504015483&topic_id=6479266&width=400&height=224&property=mlb” width=”100%” height=”225″]

But it’s batting average where I think we see the biggest drop-off. Players don’t often enter the Major Leagues and put up higher batting averages than any year they played in the minors (yeah, I see the .316 in 5 games). Typically we’d see an average a little bit lower, but that’s not what happened to Lindor. There’s a very good chance that correction comes this year. I’ve got Lindor projected for a .270 average with 11 home runs and 18 stolen bases. Here are my full projections on Lindor.

Francisco Lindor's projections for 2016

As you can see, I’m not projecting Lindor to fall on his face. Especially with the current crop of shortstops, even these relatively modest numbers have solid value. The problem I have is that many people are mentioning him in comparison to Carlos Correa or other elite type Fantasy players.

Some people will say that my reasoning might also apply to Correa. There’s a bit of an argument there, as he never showed elite power in his minor league numbers, but you have to take into account body type and swing. Correa was always projected to develop power and his swing has natural lift. He’s following his pedigree. Lindor pretty much defied his expectations. While that made his owners real happy last year, I don’t see it continuing.

Francisco Lindor is a nice player, but many people will be paying elite prices entering 2016. That my friends is the definition of a Fantasy Baseball Bust. Feel free to disagree, but if you pay for 2015 there is absolutely no room for profit and plenty of room for a sizable loss. Buyer beware.

Feel free to let me have it in the comments, as I expect plenty of backlash for this piece, but at the end of the season, I’ll be back here to tell you I told you so.

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