Let's take a look at 10 of the most important attributes that should help to indicate what a prospect’s future might hold in fantasy leagues. Players are ranked on a scale of 1-10 by their qualities for each aspect, accumulating in a final prospect grade. Grades are based on what prospects can bring to the table from the current position they are projected to play in the major leagues.
Without further ado, let’s find out if Francisco Lindor makes the grade…
1) Baseball IQ – Baseball America says Lindor, "looked more like a wily veteran than an overmatched teenager, drawing as much praise for his leadership skills and high baseball IQ as his physical tools.... Lindor can do it all defensively. He has above-average range to both sides, soft hands and a strong arm." Rating: 10 out of 10.
2) Batting-Eye – In 2013, Lindor actually totaled more walks than strikeouts in the minors. After posting excellent walk to strikeout ratios throughout his minor league career, it is easy to see why Lindor has played in back-to-back Future’s Games. His batting-eye will carry him to the majors quickly, and may be his best offensive tool. Rating: 10 out of 10.
3) Hit-Tool – The switch-hitter produces above average bat speed to go with an excellent hitting approach. After batting .316 in 2011, Lindor suffered a hiccup in 2012 when his average dropped to .257, before returning his average back above the .300 mark in 2013. Rating: 9 out of 10.
4) Power – After hitting 6 homeruns in 2012, Lindor followed it up by hitting just 2 long-balls in 2013. There is still plenty of time for the young prospect to muscle up, as scouts think he will develop more power as his body fills out over time. Rating: 7 out of 10.
5) Speed – Fangraphs contends that Lindor’s excellent defensive range is due more to the quickness of his first step, and not his speed. However, the prospect does possess above average speed for a shortstop, which has helped Lindor rack up 52 SB’s in the past two minor league seasons. Rating: 9 out of 10.
6) Body – At the current age of 20, Lindor checks in at 5’11" and 175 pounds. He still has some growing left to do, and some scouts believe the power will come as his body fills out. After totaling just 8 HR’s in his first 3 minor league seasons, fantasy managers would welcome the uptick in power. Rating: 8 out of 10.
7) Durability – Towards the end of the 2013 season, the Indians shut Lindor down because of a nagging back injury that wouldn’t go away. The team hopes the extra rest will pay off. The young prospect still managed to play over 100 games for the second consecutive season. Rating: 9 out of 10.
8) Ceiling – If Lindor fulfills his potential, we could be looking at a shortstop that can hit over .300, and rack up the SB’s while hitting the occasional homerun. Depending on what becomes of the power, I think we could be looking at a Jean Segura clone for fantasy leagues if everything breaks right. Rating: 9 out of 10.
9) Floor – The shortstop is considered to have a very high real-baseball floor, as he should at least become a top defensive shortstop that isn’t a drain in the offensive department. His fantasy floor isn’t as high though, as the power is still more projection than real. Lindor’s defense will carry him to the majors no matter what, but he has the floor of a borderline fantasy option. Rating: 7 out of 10.
10) Future – The future is bright for the young shortstop in Cleveland. With Asdrubal Cabrera currently occupying the shortstop position, it will be interesting to see how the ball-club clears room for Lindor, as he should be ready to contribute in the majors this season. Rating: 9 out of 10.
Overall Grade: 87% - B
Future Outlook: Francisco Lindor is already a stellar defender, and many scouts consider him the top defensive prospect in baseball. Much in the same mold of an Austin Hedges, Lindor’s value will be higher in real baseball than in fantasy leagues. For that reason, he gets overrated by many dynasty managers. He ranks among the top shortstop prospects on many non-fantasy prospect lists, but his future fantasy value won’t rival the Xander Bogaert’s, Carlos Correa’s, Javier Baez’s, or Addison Russell’s of the world. However, the gap between fantasy and reality isn’t as significant for the shortstop as it is for Hedges, as Lindor should become a nice fantasy weapon in the future. We should still be looking at a top 10 shortstop option in his prime, capable of contributing a nice batting average while stealing a handful of bases, with the possibility of more. We could see the prospect arrive at Progressive Field sometime during the 2014 season.