Fransisco Lindor, a man best known for his infectious smile and his ability to make the most difficult throws look easy. Lindor is toted as the best shortstop in baseball to some and he’s made baseball fun again.
The MLB was put on notice by Lindor in 2016 when the then 22-year-old shortstop from Caguas, Puerto Rico burst onto the scene and helped lead the Indians to the World Series. Since 2016, Lindor has two all-star appearances and a Silver Slugger award to tote.
One thing that Lindor has become known for since 2016 is the power that he brings with his bat. Hitting 33 home runs last season was a surprise to many as he hadn’t shown extreme power qualities early in his career. This season was more of the same as he surpassed his previous career-high and is standing at 34 home runs this season.
34 home runs are nothing to scoff at as it puts him in the top ten in the league, ahead of players like Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Trout and Nolan Arenado. While his 34 home runs isn’t record-breaking, there is a part of Lindor’s power that Cleveland has never seen from a lead-off hitter.
Frankie has led off for the Indians 123 times this season and has recorded 36 hits but the eye-opening stat are the EIGHT lead-off home runs this season, a franchise record. Lindor broke ex-Cleveland Indian fan favorite, Grady Sizemore’s record of seven in one season.
Lead-off home runs are hard to predict and while you knew that Lindor would homer again before the end of the season, you never knew if it would be a lead-off homer. Lindor isn’t a man that chases records and he’ll always say that he’s more focused on bringing a championship to Cleveland.
When you compare the seasons and leadoff numbers between the two players, they are eerily similar.
In 2008, Sizemore batted lead-off 140 times while Lindor has done it 123 times. The hits are only separated by one hit, Lindor with 36 and Sizemore with 37. The home runs are obviously decided by one, Lindor has a chance to improve on his season total with 14 games left. Lindor has 10 doubles while Sizemore had nine on the season. Lindor has an edge over Sizemore on the batting average with a .285 average compared to Sizemore’s .271.
When you tend to think of Francisco Lindor, you don’t make the connection with Grady Sizemore. The only immediate connection you make is their above average ability in the field. Between the two players, they won three gold gloves. It’s always interesting to see how some players numbers are so similar to others yet the player’s approach at the plate are so different.
Sizemore was plagued with injuries throughout his career and 2008 was his last season as a Gold Glove winner and MLB All-Star. The 2008 season was the only season that Sizemore hit over 30 home runs and his power came as a surprise as he never even sniffed 30 in previous years. Sizemore faced groin, elbow, knee and back problems throughout his career and stopped playing at the age of 32.
Lindor has a bright future and he’s achieved career highs in home runs, OPS, runs scored and slugging percentage. With the power increase, however, he has struck out 101 times this season which is a career-high. The number 101 might seem like a lot but 101 strikeouts land Lindor at 121st in the league. Strikeouts come with the power hitting and even the best hitters in baseball strikeout. Mike Trout, who is toted as one of the best hitters this generation, has struck out 116 times this season in 128 games compared to Lindor’s 145 games.
Image: Ross D. Franklin AP