The writing is on the glove for Lindor: 'Be consistent'
August 5, 2013
Look closely at Francisco Lindor’s glove and you’ll see an interesting monogram. Embroidered on the shortstop’s Rawling’s model is “Lindor – BC.”
The “BC” doesn’t stand for a college. It isn’t the initials of a girlfriend or family member. In this case, “BC” is a mantra: be consistent.
Lindor, 19, has always aimed for consistency. The Cleveland Indians’ 2011 first-round pick has advanced through the system over the last three years and notched himself the fifth overall ranking on Baseball America’s Midseason Top 50 Prospects list. He started this season in high-A Carolina, where he hit .306 with a .373 OBP, 39:35 K:BB and 20 stolen bases. After 38 games with the Carolina Mudcats, Lindor received the promotion to double-A Akron in mid-July, where he’s ignited a flurry of animated buzz.
The shortstop said he hadn’t necessarily expected to make the trek from Zebulon, N.C. to Akron, but he was certainly hoping for it.
“I can’t control when I move up or not so I was hoping it was going to happen at some point,” Lindor said.
The point came just after the MLB Futures Game, a showcase featured during the MLB All-Star festivities. Lindor was selected for the Futures Game for the second year in a row, the only Indians prospect to receive the vote this year. After attending the game at Citi Field, Lindor made his way to Akron, where the Cleveland media was already waiting. The attention is nothing new to Lindor, or any first-round pick, and he knows it comes with the job description.
“I like it,” he said. “That means I’m doing something right so I can’t complain. I’m enjoying it. It’s part of my job, part of what I signed up for.”
So far, Lindor has lived up to the hype. He’s only spent 19 games with the Aeros, but he’s made already made an impact. He’s hitting .319 with a .440 OBP and .875 OPS. This includes one home run, five stolen bases and a 6:14 K:BB.
Lindor’s numbers have spiked since last season, which he attributes to his vow for consistency.
“I’m more consistent in my swing and with my strike zone,” he explained. “Last year, I was all over the place and would swing at everything I saw. I’d be going good one day then I’d go bad for the next three days. This year, I know what I’m doing. I’m more aware of what I’ve got to do to be successful the next day.”
Lindor said one reason behind his success at the plate is balance. Last season, he focused on staying on his back foot, something he’ll work on until the day he leaves the diamond.
“I can be 20 years in the bigs and I’m still going to be working on that,” he noted. “You don’t want to be hitting out on your front foot. You always want to be hitting on your back foot. I’m better since last year. I’m more consistent in what I’m doing, staying middle, staying balanced.”
Currently, Lindor says he’s simply working on “everything.” He has a composed approach at the plate, which has translated to the results. Lindor’s put a limit on his number of strikeouts and kept a sharp eye at the plate. If the pitch isn’t up where he likes, he shuts it down.
“I know it’s got to be in that little square for it to be a strike,” he said. “It it’s not there, I’m not swinging. I shut it down. If it’s a curveball, I know it might be a ball and I shut it down.”
When he does swing, the odds are in his favor. His plate approach keeps him confident on making contact because he doesn’t think about numbers and he knows he’ll produce.
“I can put the ball in play whenever I want, unless he’s really good,” Lindor elaborated. “If he throws a really good pitch it’s tough, but typically I can foul it off or hit a ground ball.”
Lindor’s made contact beyond the bat and ball – he’s growing accustomed to life in a new city with some new teammates. He may be the youngest player on the team – and in the Eastern League, but he said he doesn’t feel like a kid among adults. Instead, Lindor has found motivation in the form of some competitive advice from his peers.
“The best one that I get every day is from [Carlos] Moncrief,” Lindor said. “He tells me, ‘Be the best’, because he says ‘I’m going to be the best.’ We tell the whole team to be the best. I want to be the best, he wants to be the best. It drives me, it drives him. It drives the whole team.”
Now, the Aeros are working together to be the best in the league. Less than one month remains in the regular season and the team currently sits 5.5 games back in fourth place of the Western division. Lindor has two goals through the remainder of the season, the first being to win.
Lindor’s second goal is to retain his consistency, which he’ll never forget as long as he’s got his glove on his hand.
“That’s the main thing,” he said. “Be consistent.”
With two years of full-season professional ball under his belt, Lindor has made strides and found his routine. To anyone who has seen him over the last two years, the growth is obvious. His braces are gone and he’s put on 10 pounds of visible muscle, which can be attributed to his mother.
“She just moved from Puerto Rico,” Lindor explained. “Now she’s cooking for me so it was pretty easy gaining 10 pounds. Of course I was lifting but it wasn’t the same when I had to cook for myself. Now that my mom is there she’ll cook whenever I want her to cook.”
Francisco Lindor has gained more than just muscle this season and the results are evident. He’s crafted a solid season and earned himself a promotion, but he knows the work never stops. His aim is to win and the writing’s on the glove: be consistent.
His contact & speed will make him a top rookie in the bigs when he makes it batting in the leadoff or 2 hole.
I hope to see him called up this season.