Officially a Met, Lindsay ready to begin career
SARASOTA, Fla. -- When the Mets chose Desmond Lindsay in the second round of the 2015 Draft, one of the first things they noted was how Lindsay was a steal. The outfielder out of Out-of-Door Academy (ODA) in Sarasota had slipped to No. 53 after being limited to only seven games during his senior year with the Thunder by a pair of hamstring injuries.
On Thursday he signed a professional contract with New York at Citi Field, and a day later he was back in Sarasota to speak for the first time since officially becoming a Met. He's still working his way back from his most recent injury, he said, and agrees with his new team's assessment that he was overlooked because of the hamstring issues.
"The biggest part of my game that people didn't get to see was the transition to playing outfield," Lindsay said. "I definitely think that hurt me with teams not being able to see me. I can't really speak on how much it had hurt me, but I'm definitely happy how it turned out, with me being drafted by the Mets."
Lindsay will report to the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Monday to continue his rehab. He doesn't have a target date to begin playing in GCL games.
Jimmy Kuebler, an assistant coach at ODA who has known Lindsay since Lindsay was 8, said he could tell he was special from a young age. He was always one of the best players on his youth teams and has been a star at Out-of-Door since he was in seventh grade.
"He's by far the best athlete to go through this area," Kuebler said.
Lindsay also played football and basketball before committing to baseball during high school. Even when Thunder head football coach and athletic director Brett Timmons tried to lure the 6-foot, 200-pound athlete with 6.5 speed in the 60-yard dash, Lindsay relented.
"It was just something different that I could feel with baseball. I just enjoyed it more," Lindsay said. "I'm going to be honest, when I would go out to practice after school for football, I wasn't very excited about it.
"[Baseball was] the only thing I would want to be doing. And I didn't want to get hurt."
That helped make his decision to sign with New York easy. He knew a $1 million contract would be too enticing to pass up, and when the Mets took him with their first pick, he was confident he would forgo a collegiate career with North Carolina and sign.
Lindsay's teachers and coaches rave about him as a student, and he said he'll still take classes at UNC either during the offseason or online.
"Everyone knows that academics and your education is a big part of success later on down the road," he said.
He also said that the reason his rehab has lasted so long is because he's taking caution after injuring the same hamstring twice in one season. If he had taken a more aggressive approach, he thinks, he could have returned for the end of high school season.
He's tired of waiting now, though, and is excited to start his professional career.
"I've been waiting around for months now," he said with a laugh. "I've had all the rest I need. I'm ready to start playing again."