The 2013 MLB All-Star Game is rapidly approaching, and while that is obviously the main attraction at All-Star Weekend, the Futures Game should be on the radar of every baseball fan. If you're unfamiliar with the Futures Game, but plan to tune in, here's a quick rundown of what you'll be watching.
The game is broken down into two teams, the U.S. and World teams. From there, the two teams are filled based on the player's country of origin and they face off at 2 p.m. on All-Star Sunday.
The Indians were scheduled to send two representatives to the game, but pitching prospect Chen-Chang Lee was recently called up by the team and will no longer participate on the side of the World Team (per SBNation.com).
The only remaining Indians' prospect, is the tools-y shortstop Francisco Lindor. Lindor is participating in his second straight game and is having a stellar season.
With that said, let us take a look the abilities that have gotten Lindor to this point in his young career.
Lindor is quite simply a phenomenal player. If you're an Indians fan and don't know about him yet, well, where have you been?
In just three years—only one full season—the 19-year-old has played 209 games compiling an impressive .278/.360/.376 slash line with 43 doubles, nine triples, seven home runs, 71 RBI, 138 runs scored and 48 stolen bases.
Lindor's numbers average out to 33 doubles, seven triples, five home runs, 55 RBI, 107 runs scored and 37 stolen bases over a 162 game season. What's most impressive about his 162 game averages thus far, is the fact that they're calculated through the use of his 17, 18 and 19-year-old seasons.
This year, Lindor is well on pace for huge season and is slashing .307/.375/.412 with 19 doubles, six triples, one home run, 27 RBI, 51 runs scored and 20 stolen bases. His 162-game averages for the season thus far are as follows, .307/.376/.412, 37 doubles, 11 triples, two home runs, 53 RBI, 100 runs scored and 39 stolen bases.
But enough about Lindor's numbers, let's examine his physical tools.
Lindor's power is nearly non-existant and he's notched just seven home runs in 209 games as a professional. The Indians official site gives Lindor's power tool a potential of five—on the 2-8 scale—but I don't see it.
Lindor's swing is long and although he makes good contact, his power would benefit from a tighter, more compact swing. Even if Lindor's power never blossoms into the potential they've assigned him, he can still be a top tier shortstop at the big league level.
Lindor is a good hitter and has some of the best plate discipline in the minors. Through his 209 career games, Lindor owns a 122:97 K/BB ratio and he's only getting better. In his 82 games this season, Lindor has worked to a 39:35 K/BB ratio.
Lindor's a switch hitter, but he's been a substantially better hitter from the left hand side. From the left side, Lindor is a .282/.353/.377 from the right side and a .266/.389/.380.
Part of Lindor's varying levels of success from each side of the plate could be a result of having so few at-bats as a right handed hitter. Lindor has compiled just 184 at-bats from the right side over 209 games, compared to 648 from the left.
Either way though, Lindor is a solid hitter and given his above-average speed, he should be a valuable asset to the Tribe offensively.
Defensively, Lindor is arguably the best prospect at the position. His arm is solidly above average and he's a wizard with the glove.
Lindor's career RF/G as a shortstop sits at an impressive 4.45, that figure would rank seventh among big league shortstops this season. In addition to that, his 4.35 mark this season would be good for eighth in baseball (per Baseball-Reference.com).
Shortstops generally take a little longer to develop defensively but Lindor seems to have figured things out.
According to Baseball America's pre-2013 list, Lindor ranks as the fifth-best shortstop prospect in baseball. With Jurickson Profar now playing at the big league level, Lindor ranks as the top shortstop in the minors according to MLB.com and it's easy to see why.
Organizational rankings and prospect grades courtesy of Clevelandindians.com.
All stats are current through play on July 11th, 2013 and are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.
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