Francisco Miguel Lindor
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 190 lb.
- High School Montverde Academy
- Debut June 14, 2015
Francisco Lindor was the first high school infielder drafted in 2011.
Born in Puerto Rico, Lindor moved to the USA when he was 12 years old with his family's goal of getting a chance for Lindor to play baseball professionally. He did not speak English when he came to Florida. In the 2009 World Youth Championship, Francisco had 3 hits and 3 RBI in the semifinal win over Mexico for Team USA. In the Gold Medal game, he rapped three more hits and scored the final run in a 7-6 victory over Cuba. He was named as the All-Star shortstop for the event, having hit .556/.618/.963, stolen four bases, scored 17 runs and driven in 13. He finished fourth in the event in average, second in runs (one behind teammate JoMarcos Woods) and tied Reinaldo Almora for fourth in RBI.
In 2010, Lindor won the home run contest during the Aflac All-American Game. In the 2010 World Junior Championship, he batted .481/.563/.741 with 10 runs in 7 games. He was one of two Americans picked for the tourney All-Star team; outfielder Michael Lorenzen was the other. He finished fourth in average (behind Tzu-Wei Lin, Lorenzen and Alexander Calbick), 6th in OBP, tied for 5th in slugging (with Guillermo Aviles and Blake Swihart), tied for second in runs (with Aviles and Tony Wolters, behind Lin), tied Lorenzen for second in hits (behind Lin), tied for the most doubles (4) and tied for the most times plunked (4).
As a high school senior in 2011, Lindor hit .528 and slugged over 1.00. He stole 20 bases in 21 tries. He was picked 8th in the 2011 amateur draft, taken by the Cleveland Indians. He was the second high school position player chosen (after Bubba Starling) and the second infielder (after Anthony Rendon). He was signed by scout Mike Soper at the August 15 deadline for $2.9 million and made his pro debut with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers on August 28th, hitting .316 in 5 games with the club that year.
He played the 2012 season with the Lake County Captains of the Midwest League, hitting .257 in 122 games, all at shortstop. In 2013, he moved up to the Carolina Mudcats to start the year, where he hit .306 in 23 games. The Indians moved him up to AA and the Akron Aeros of the Eastern League for a month starting in mid-July and he hit .289 in 29 games. Altogether, his batting line was .303/.380/.407 in 104 games, with 65 runs scored and 25 stolen bases. In 2014, he was back in AA, with the team now renamed the Akron RubberDucks, and he hit .278 in 88 games to earn a mid-season promotion once again, this time to the AAA Columbus Clippers. He ,273 in 38 games for Columbus, for a total line of .276/.338/.389 in 126 games, with 11 homers, 75 runs scored and 62 RBIs at the age of 20. The question was now whether he would break camp with the Indians in 2015, but they decided to give him a little more experience at Columbus. There was little doubt that his big league debut would come sooner rather than later, as he had already been named three times to take part in the Futures Game for the World team, in 2012, 2013 and 2014. He played 58 games for the Clippers, hitting .281, before getting the call to Cleveland in mid-June.
Lindor made his debut for the Indians on June 14th, in a game against the Detroit Tigers. He came in as a pinch-hitter for DH David Murphy in the 7th and struck out against Blaine Hardy. He came up again in the 9th and hit a single to right against Joakim Soria, then promptly fell on his face as he tripped rounding the first base bag. It was embarrassing, but he was able to get up and return to first base without being tagged out, although he did not matter much as Cleveland was in the final stages of an 8-1 loss. That same day, his AAA club, Columbus, resumed a suspended game in which he had played, so he was listed in two boxscores in two different cities, going a combined 2 for 4. He quickly established himself as the team's starting shortstop, impressing observers both with his bat and his glove. On August 23rd, he became the first batter to homer from the left side off New York Yankees relief ace Dellin Betances, his blast giving Cleveland a 4-3 win. Betances had faced 302 lefty batters without surrendering a home run until then. He capped off an excellent rookie season by being named the American League's Rookie of the Month for September after hitting .362 with 17 runs scored, 8 doubles, 4 triples, 5 homers and 20 RBIs. In the voting, he finished ahead of teammate Cody Anderson who won AL Pitcher of the Month honors as the Indians ended the season on a strong note.
He had a great season for the Indians in 2016, making the All-Star team and winning a Gold Glove at shortstop. He played 158 games, hitting .301 with 15 homers and 78 RBIs, also scoring 99 runs, banging 30 doubles and stealing 19 bases as he contributed in a number of different ways to the Indians' division title. He then went 3 for 12 with a homer when the Indians swept the Boston Red Sox in the Division Series, and the 7 for 19 against the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS. In the 2016 World Series, which the Indians lost in 7 games to the Chicago Cubs, he continued to hit well, going 8 for 27. He repeated as an All-Star in 2017. On July 22nd, he hit his first career walk-off homer, a blast off Danny Barnes that traveled to the upper deck at Progressive Field in the 10th inning giving Cleveland a 2-1 win over the Blue Jays. Not content with having broken the 20-homer barrier for the first time that season, he hit number 30 on September 12th, a lead-off shot against Matt Boyd of the Detroit Tigers. That long ball gave the Indians the only run they needed that night (although they would later score an insurance run) as Corey Kluber pitched a five-hit shutout and the 2-0 win extended the team's winning streak to 20 games, tying the American League record set by the 2002 Oakland Athletics. On September 14th, the Indians were down to their last strike, trailing the Kansas City Royals, 2-1, in the bottom of the 9th when he lined a pitch from Kelvin Herrera to the left field fence, just out of the reach of OF Alex Gordon, for a double that scored pinch-runner Erik Gonzalez to tie the game. The Indians won it in 10 innings to extend the streak to a record 22 wins before losing the next day. During that stretch, he had a streak of 10 consecutive games with an extra-base hit for a club record. He finished the season at .273 with 44 doubles and 33 homers, scoring 99 runs and driving in 89. He slumped in the postseason, however, as his going 2-for-22 contribute to the Indians being upset by the New York Yankees in the Division Series.
In 2018, Lindor was the American League Player of the Month for May when he hit .373 with 44 hits and 27 runs scored. During the month, he had two separate games during which he hit 2 homers and 2 doubles. He was the 4th player in MLB history to have two two-homer, two-double games in the same season, following Rafael Palmeiro, Jim Edmonds and Adrian Beltre. In 158 games, he hit .277 with 38 homers and 92 RBIs, and led the AL in runs scored with 129. He repeated as an All-Star and Silver Slugger Award winner and finished 6th in the MVP vote. He was probably the Indians' best hitter in the postseason, going 4 for 11 with 2 homers, but Cleveland was swept by the Houston Astros in the Division Series. Just before the start of spring training in 2019, he suffered a strained right calf while working out, keeping him out until April 20, when he made his season's debut in the second game of a doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves. He played 143 games, hitting .284 with 32 homers and 74 RBIs. He was again an All-Star and won his second Gold Glove, but the Indians missed the postseason. Following the season, there were lots of rumors that he might be traded, as the Indians were unlikely to re-sign him when he became a free agent after the 2021 season, and his value was at its highest. However, nothing came out and on January 10, 2020, he signed a one-year deal with the Indians for $17.5 million, avoiding a salary arbitration hearing. That season, he hit .258 while playing in all 60 games during the abbreviated season, leading the American League with 266 plate appearances, slugging 13 doubles and 8 homers, scoring 30 runs and driving in 27 with an OPS+ of 102. The Indians returned to the postseason, but Lindor only went 1 for 8 as they were swept by the New York Yankees in the Wild Card Series.
With Lindor set to hit free agency at the end of the following season, the Indians began to shop him around at the end of 2020, knowing that they had little chance of signing him over the long term. On January 7, 2021 they found a taker, making a blockbuster deal with the New York Mets also involving starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco. In return, the Indians received four young players, IFs Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez, P Josh Wolf and OF Isaiah Greene. The Mets had agreed to attempt to work out a long-term deal by Opening Day, but as the date was approaching, reports were that the two were still far apart, with Lindor asking for a twelve-year deal, with the Mets only willing to give him ten, and Lindor asking for $385 million while the Mets were offering $325 million. The shortstop's request, if met, would give him the largest contract extension in history, besting that given to Mookie Betts the previous year, while both offers were over double the previous largest contract in team history, given to David Wright in 2012. It they failed to reach agreement by the agreed deadline, Lindor would play out the season and then test the free agent waters. But both sides came to their senses on March 31st, basically splitting the difference, with Lindor agreeing to keeping the contract at ten years, for a total value of $341 million. For all the money paid him, Lindor was largely a disappointment in his first season with the Mets, combining periods of disappointing production with others when he was injured and out of the line-up. One of his few highlights came on September 12th when he hit three homers, including the game-winner off Chad Green in the 8th, in an 8-7 win over the New York Yankees in a nationally televized Sunday night game. He had earlier hit a three-run shot off Clarke Schmidt and another solo shot off Wandy Peralta. He finished the year at .230 in 135 games, with 20 homers and 63 RBIs, 73 runs scored and an OPS+ of 101.
- 4-time AL All-Star (2016-2019)
- 2-time AL Gold Glove Winner (2016 & 2019)
- 2-time AL Silver Slugger Award Winner (2017 & 2018)
- 2-time AL At-Bats Leader (2017 & 2018)
- AL Runs Scored Leader (2018)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 4 (2017-2019 & 2021)
- 30-Home Run Seasons: 3 (2017-2019)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 2 (2018 & 2019)
- Jordan Bastian: "Lindor eager for sophomore season with Tribe: Star shortstop says No. 1 goal is to help club reach postseason", mlb.com, February 4, 2016. 
- Jordan Bastian: "Lindor eager to represent PR in Classic: Much has changed for the 23-year-old since he took in the debut Classic in 2006", mlb.com, February 2, 2017. 
- Mandy Bell: "'Respect and love': Lindor thanks Cleveland", mlb.com, January 11, 2021. 
- Anthony Castrovince: "Hot start fuels talk of Lindor's MVP chances", mlb.com, April 6, 2017. 
- Anthony DiComo: "Lindor ask exceeds Mets' 10-yr. offer (source)", mlb.com, March 29, 2021. 
- Anthony DiComo: "‘I don’t think I’ve hit my peak yet’: Lindor asking more of himself this season", mlb.com, March 15, 2021. 
- Paul Hagen: "Lindor happy to give back with RBI program: Indians shortstop takes part in drills with Philly youth players during off-day", mlb.com, April 28, 2016. 
- Matt Kelly: "Is this stud shortstop the next Cal Ripken Jr.? No matter where his path leads, Cleveland star looks glory-bound", mlb.com, May 4, 2020. 
- Gabe Lacques and Bob Nightengale: "Francisco Lindor, Mets agree to 10-year, $341 million contract extension", USA Today, March 31, 2021.