Lindor takes next step in development at Double-A
Eighth-overall Draft pick from 2011 debuts with Akron after Futures Game
AKRON, Ohio -- If Francisco Lindor is nervous about playing Double-A baseball, he's not admitting or showing it.
Lindor, the No. 1 prospect in the Indians' farm system, took questions from a herd of reporters Tuesday afternoon in the third-base dugout at Canal Park, before the shortstop made his debut for Double-A Akron. Alongside his new manager, fellow Puerto Rican Edwin Rodriguez, Lindor talked about his short professional career and the type of ballplayer he considers himself.
"I'm going to go out there and give it my all every single day," said Lindor, who has "Be Consistent" on his glove and alluded to in his Twitter handle (@Lindor12BC). "I try to be the best person I can be, not only on the field -- off the field, with my family, teammates, friends, everyone."
Lindor, 19, has been all over the place the past few days. On Sunday, he was in New York for the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, in which he came off the bench and grounded into a double play for the World Team. After that, Lindor was back in North Carolina, where his season began with Class A Advanced Carolina, before an 8 1/2-hour car ride brought him to Akron late Monday.
"I was with my sister. It was long," said Lindor, who played in last year's Futures Game, as well. "I went through West Virginia -- I'd never seen so many mountains together. It was cool, driving up. I'm excited that I'm here. So I'm happy, I'm happy to be here."
Lindor posted a .316 batting average and .666 OPS in 83 games at Class A this year. The switch-hitter collected 26 extra-base hits -- 19 doubles, six triples and a homer. He scored 51 runs and drove in 27. He also took 35 walks and struck out 39 times. And he stole 20 bases in 25 attempts.
He had a .952 fielding percentage in 82 games at short, turning 51 double plays and committing 18 errors.
The Indians decided it was time to advance their first-round selection from the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, announcing the decision Saturday.
"Francisco is an exceptional talent and person, and the promotion to Akron is just one more step in his progression of becoming a Major League player," Ross Atkins, the club's vice president of player development, said in an email. "Francisco has continued to improve in every aspect of his game and we felt as though Akron would be the best environment for him to continue doing just that."
The 5-11, 175-pound Lindor delivered a stellar showing with Cleveland for 10 games during Spring Training, going 7-for-24 while putting a .292/.320/.417 slash line together.
The Indians have been nothing but excited about Lindor since selecting him with the eighth overall pick of the 2011 Draft out of Montverde Academy (Fla.). It didn't matter that Lindor was only 17 years old. The organization knew what he was capable of.
"I don't doubt you could throw him in a Major League game and he'd look like he belongs," Indians manager Terry Francona recently said. "Now, could he hold his own enough to put up some numbers? Probably not yet, but the fact that he's been moved to Double-A is a significant step in his career."
With Akron, Lindor is much closer to Cleveland than he was in Carolina. That fact isn't lost on Lindor, though he's savvy enough to realize the advantages of not getting too far ahead of himself.
"My focus right now is playing Double-A baseball every day," Lindor said. "I see [Cleveland] in the future, but I'm focusing on playing today and winning today."