The future for the Cleveland Indians stands just 5-foot-11 and weighs in at 175 pounds. Francisco Lindor won't overwhelm anyone with his size, but it's the size of his talent that has fans and the Tribe's front office excited about what lies ahead for the 19-year-old shortstop.
The future for the Cleveland Indians stands just 5-foot-11 and weighs in at 175 pounds.
Francisco Lindor won't overwhelm anyone with his size, but it's the size of his talent that has fans and the Tribe's front office excited about what lies ahead for the 19-year-old shortstop.
Lindor has made an immediate splash in his first 13 games with the Akron Aeros and has adjusted to the Double-A level quickly and seamlessly.
He reached base in his first nine games and has shown good discipline at the plate, earning 10 walks and posting a .474 on-base percentage. For Lindor, success is all about maintaining the same approach he's taken throughout his career.
"I've been trying to do since day one what I've been doing since I came into pro baseball. I can't change my game every level I go to. I just do the same thing every day and try to be consistent with it," Lindor said.
That approach has allowed him to rise through the minor-league ranks after being drafted with the 11th pick in the first round of the 2011 draft. In just his second full season of professional baseball, Lindor knows that expectations for him are high, but isn't overwhelmed by them.
"I don't want to say surprised. I will say I'm blessed," he said of reaching Akron early in his career. "My expectations might be a little bit higher. I know what I can do so I expect more things out of myself."
Though he is new to the Aeros' clubhouse, Lindor has already adopted the mindset of helping his new team win and said the measure of a successful year will be a second straight Eastern League championship. Lindor also wants to make sure the fans who come to see him play get a good show along the way to a potential league title.
"This is part of my job so I just come out here and have fun…but the goal is winning," Lindor said of the buzz around his arrival. "When the fans come to the game, I try to do whatever it takes so…when they walk away from the field, they feel good about me. I play like there's someone new that has never seen me play before watching me that day."
Lindor gives credit to his father Miguel for his style of play on the field. His patience at the plate stems from the instruction his father gave while coaching him as a young player, Lindor said.
"I've always had a good eye. My dad always forced me to take a pitch and that helped me growing up. That definitely helped me to know my zone and know what pitches I've got to be swinging at and what pitches I can't be swinging at," he said. "Pretty much everything that he taught me was my foundation and your foundations, you never forget about them."
Page 2 of 2 - While in Akron, Lindor wants to work on all aspects of his game rather than focusing on one. He said general manager Mark Shapiro and the front office have told him not to change his game or try to do more than he's capable of doing.
Lindor patterns his game after a fellow Puerto Rican, Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, and current MLB stars Derek Jeter and Elvis Andrus. His jersey number is also a salute to Alomar, who played for the Indians from 1999-2001.
"I grew up watching him play and he wears No. 12. I wear No. 12 and that's one of the reasons I wear it, because of him. Everybody in Puerto Rico admires him and looks up to him. He was one of the greatest," Lindor added.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
The atmosphere at Canal Park has been perceptibly more energetic since his arrival and Lindor has noticed the buzz. He insists that he is focused on playing Double-A baseball and knows that despite his close geographic proximity to Cleveland, he still has much work to do to earn a spot in the clubhouse at Progressive Field.
"That's been my goal since day one, to make it to the bigs and stay there. I'm 45 minutes away, but it doesn't mean I'm 45 minutes from getting to the bigs. I've got a long way to go," he said. "With Mark Shapiro, (assistant GM) Chris Antonetti, Ross Adkins and bringing in (Terry) Francona this year, they're all looking to build a winning organization and that's what we're all looking for."
Reach Andy at 330-899-2872 or andy.harris@TheSuburbanite.com.
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