Cleveland Indians’ top prospect, SS Francisco Lindor, is the #4 prospect in Major League Baseball according to mlb.com and number two at his position behind only the Houston Astros’ Carlos Correa. Correa is still at least another year away from cracking the big leagues.
Lindor, 21, is from Puerto Rico but played high school baseball at Montverde Academy in Montverde, Florida. He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians out of high school with the 8th overall pick in the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Once he was drafted, he was automatically the Indians’ top prospect and now he is close to making his Major League debut. Even if Lindor has a great spring training, he will not make the Major League roster.
The Indians have both veteran Mike Aviles and Jose Ramirez holding the SS position until Lindor is Major League ready. Lindor only has 38 career games under his belt at the AAA level so he still needs some seasoning before he is ready. His defense is definitely Major League ready right now but his bat still needs some developing. At AAA Columbus last season, Lindor batted .273 with 5 HR and 14 RBI’s. Between AAA Columbus and AA Akron last season, he batted a combined .276 with 11 HR’s and 62 RBI’s.
Indians GM Chris Antonetti and manager Terry Francona seem to have slightly different views regarding the highly touted shortstop. Antonetti says there is a scenario where Lindor breaks camp with the tribe although it is highly unlikely. Francona on the other hand, is adamant that Lindor will begin the 2015 season with AAA Columbus.
“We’re really comfortable with Jose Ramirez and Mike Aviles” said Francona. “Lindor needs his development. When he’s ready, his play will show us that. A guy hitting .400 in spring training doesn’t show you he is ready to handle the rigors of a full season.”
The most likely scenario for Lindor come opening day will be with AAA Columbus like Terry Francona has stated numerous times. However, it is possible Lindor breaks camp with the tribe but a lot of things have to happen. Injuries happen and if for whatever reason Mike Aviles and Jose Ramirez both get injured sometime this spring, then Lindor will make the ball club as long as he doesn’t have an awful spring. If one of the two gets injured, the Indians do have Zach Walters, a utility man that can back up either Aviles or Ramirez. Realistically, Francisco Lindor will make his Major League Debut sometime in July. If the Indians are in the thick of things in the AL central race and the shortstops aren’t producing as much as the front office would like, then Lindor could be up sooner.