Thursday, March 22, 2012

Francisco Lindor (SS, Cleveland)


Francisco Lindor (SS, Indians)

Francisco Lindor is an 18-year old prospect who is already generating buzz this Spring.  Cleveland selected Lindor 8th overall in the first round of the 2011 draft.  The most interesting aspect of this is that drafting the high schooler in the first round broke Cleveland’s 9-year streak of only drafting collegiate players in the first round.  So, what made Cleveland go against their custom and take a chance on a young high school bat?

Basically, Lindor is extremely advanced with solid all-around tools.  He is a very strong defensive shortstop, and projects well up the middle with a plus arm, range, and glove.  He projects as a top of the order threat with a plus bat and plus speed.  Scouts are torn as to whether power will develop.  He has a very slight frame (5’11” and 175 lbs), and my prediction is the power will be below average.  However, his slight frame and slick defense almost guarantees him a future at SS (i.e. a bit like the opposite of Hanley Ramirez and his enormous frame).

Scouts, managers, and the front office all rave about the kid’s maturity and potential.  Yet, there are negatives, as no high school draftee is MLB ready.  Lindor’s swing is supposedly inconsistent at the moment and he occasionally leaks his front side.  This is a very fixable problem and with more experience, consistency will develop and when his swing is right, Lindor's hands move quickly through the zone.

Lindor has two Bowman Chrome autos, a 2010 Bowman Chrome USA auto and a 2011 Bowman Chrome Draft auto.  Both autos go for an average of $20 per base, sometimes a few bucks more, sometimes a few bucks less.  It might seem counterintuitive that collectors don’t value the 2010 BC USA auto higher than the 2011 auto, but it most likely has to do with the fact that Lindor’s 2010 auto is a sticker, whereas the 2011 Draft auto is your typical on-card auto (a key aspect of BC autos that has made BC the top prospect product).

Since Lindor will most likely lack power (in my opinion) and is still so young with reported inconsistencies in his swing, I hesitate on buying a chrome auto at $20.  His glove will most likely be enough to advance through the system, but until I see a full year’s worth of hitting, I can’t go all-in on the kid.  Slick fielding shortstops with average bats simply don’t garner too much demand in the hobby (unless their name is Ozzie Smith).  So, for now, I’d HOLD any Lindor autos I have, but I’ll pass on acquiring any.

Recommendation: HOLD


Lindor's ticket to the bigs...

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