Lindor all business at second Futures Game
Indians' top prospect excited about his recent promotion to Double-A
NEW YORK -- On Monday, he'll pack up his bag with the bat he swings selectively and the glove with "Lindor B.C." ("Be Consistent") written on it and travel to his new temporary home in Akron, Ohio, where his Double-A career is about to begin.
But first, Francisco Lindor, the Indians' top prospect and one of the more highly touted young bodies in all of baseball, had business to attend to here in the Big Apple, where he made his second SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game appearance in as many years.
"Every day you play nine innings, you've got to win," Lindor said beforehand, even though this was only an exhibition. "No matter what. Last year, I played, and we lost, and I'm not trying to go through the same thing again this year."
Lindor went so far as to give the World Team a "99.8 percent" chance of beating the U.S. in Sunday's game at Citi Field.
In the end, Lindor was incorrect, as the World came out on the short side of the 4-2 result at Citi Field. And his brief appearance resulted only in a groundball double play on the sharp one-hopper he hit to short in the seventh.
But Lindor's attitude and approach is part of what evaluators from the Indians and elsewhere love about him. The kid's a competitor who believes in himself, and his confidence rubs off on those around him. Though he is just 19 and still a couple steps from his big league break-in, Lindor's already being hailed as a born leader.
"That's an honor," he said. "Being a leader takes a lot, from a mental standpoint, and you've got to go out there and perform and do everything. I'm not trying to say I'm a leader and you have to follow me. I'm just doing my thing. Being consistent, being helpful, being responsible, taking ownership of every little thing I do. And I guess that works."
It is a credit to the depth of upper-echelon shortstop talent in the Minor League pipeline that Lindor didn't start Sunday's game. Both Lindor and last year's No. 1 overall First-Year Player Draft pick, Carlos Correa of the Astros, served as backups to the Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts. It's no secret, though, that the Indians envision Lindor in a starting and starring role in the not-terribly-distant future, particularly with current starting shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera only signed through 2014.
Lindor is like every other Futures Game participant (or Minor Leaguer, for that matter) in that he can't tell you what his exact timetable will be. But he feels ready for the challenge of ascending to Double-A.
"I'm pumped, man, I'm pumped," he said. "I can't wait."
Lindor earned the promotion with a .306 average and .373 on-base percentage at Class A Carolina this season, and his defensive range and agility continues to make scouts drool. Though he hasn't flashed much power in his professional career, to date, he has shown an above-average ability to work counts, and he's been impactful on the basepaths.
"I'm going to grow into some power, little by little," he said.
For now, he said, his goal is to mentally exhaust both himself and the opposing pitcher each and every plate appearance.
"You've got to be locked in every single pitch," Lindor said. "You can't take one pitch off. If you take that one pitch off, it might end up being the pitch you should have driven and then you start chasing and you're out of that at-bat. You have to be ready to attack every single pitch."
A taxing proposition, to be sure, but Lindor does not let up on that "B.C." mitt mantra, which he uses to remind himself that consistency is the key to success in both ball and life.
"With teammates, with friends, with everything," he said. "Be consistent."
And Lindor has that one other goal: To be a winner.