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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

2016 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: FRANCISO LINDOR SS CLEVELAND INDIANS

When you talk about the shortstop position during the 2015 fantasy baseball season, most of the ink rightly went to the phenomenal debut of Houston Astros top prospect Carlos Correa who took the game by storm with monster five category numbers.  As terrific as Correa was, he was not alone when it came to smashing debuts at the shortstop position as he was joined by the Cleveland Indians' Francisco Lindor.  While he was not hyped as much as Correa going into last season, Lindor was still a top prospect after being drafted in the first round at eighth overall back in 2011.  Known for his terrific glove and not as much as his bat, Lindor shocked many by being a five category guy in his own right in his 2015 debut as he smacked 12 home runs in 438 at-bats while stealing 12 bases and batting .313.  At the still incredibly young age of 22 (turning 23 in June), Lindor has a few seasons of ceiling left before he reaches his optimum potential.  Even so, his numbers place him as a top 5-7 fantasy baseball shortstop for 2016.  As always let's check back in on Lindor and take a look at what he could do going forward. 

Again going back to before his debut with the Indians, Lindor was a hyped prospect whose strength lay in his terrific defense and also for an ability to hit .300 with good speed to swipe a solid number of bases.  Then he goes out and hits the 12 home runs to maybe change the narrative a bit.  You can look at the home runs in one of two ways however, with the first being that his total was in the outlier based on his minor league numbers.  You also can look at it like Lindor is possibly growing into his body and thus adding power which we see out of most young hitters.  We lean on the latter proposition but we will also say that Lindor doesn't profile as a guy who will hit much more than 15 home runs going forward.  Still that total goes very nicely with his .300-plus average and very good runs total as he likely will hit at or near the top of the Cleveland lineup.  Lindor already has a very good K rate of 15.8 percent last season and that should only improve which makes .300 a near lock.  Then you have his very good speed making him an asset in stolen bases where he is capable of swiping 15-20 bags which makes him a very good and rare power/speed guy in the always shallow middle infield. 

When you put it all together, Francisco Lindor seems to check off most of the boxes in terms of being a top fantasy baseball shortstop for 2016.  Again he has a few seasons of ceiling left which means more improvement as we go along and a 15/15/.300 campaign is very likely for this year given his current ability.  While not in the tier of Carlos Correa, we can say that Lindor is still very impressive in terms of his talent. 

2016 PROJECTION:  .316 14 HR 86 R 66 R 16 SB 

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