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Things you didn't know about Francisco Lindor: he can fly, heal the sick, and turn rocks into seven-layer cake.

Prospect #1: SS Francisco Lindor
Background with Player: My eyes; industry sources.
Who: Selected eighth overall in the 2011 draft, Lindor had enough heat on his name after pre-draft workouts that some in the industry thought Seattle would pop the young Puerto Rican with the second-overall pick. I’ve seen a lot of quality up-the-middle talent since I started down this prospect evaluation road, and rarely will a 17-year-old (now 18) shortstop showcase the type of skills to make you feel confident in their future major-league success. After watching Lindor in the Fall Instructional League, I have very little doubt that he will develop into a very good major leaguer, one that can play a premium defensive position while providing above-average offensive production. At the plate, Lindor can track balls from release point to target like a ten-year veteran, showing advanced recognition skills and an approach that should put him in favorable hitting environments. His hands and hips work very well, showing fluidity when they fire, and bringing his bat head into the zone quickly and efficiently. He shows contact ability and he drives through the ball with excellent extension; it’s easy to project a plus hit tool and at least solid-average power at maturity. In the field, Lindor is as precocious and instinctual as positional prince Jurickson Profar, showing easy actions, a very strong arm, and a preternatural feel for his craft. I’m slobbering all over Lindor without apology. I put a note in his locker after class. I hope he checks the box marked “yes.”

What Could Go Wrong in 2012: Lindor was a young high school draftee, turning 18-years-old after the 2011 season had already ended, so that youth will ride sidesaddle in the developmental process, both as a positive and negative. The downside to youth is inexperience, and all the praise that Lindor receives for this tools and his polish can’t change the reality of his limited existence. It’s likely that Lindor moves to full-season ball at some point in 2012, and the jump will represent the biggest challenge so far in Lindor’s brief career. Development is about failure and adjustment, and given the level of competition Lindor is likely to face, I think he could initially struggle, at least until he makes the necessary adjustments. This is a player that needs to see sharp breaking balls, that needs to see above-average velocity, that needs to face sequences and situations that you just can’t simulate with the same intensity on a practice field. Failure can be a good thing for young players, even if the exposure to failure is short-lived, as it most likely will be in the case of Lindor. I think he has a chance to be a star, and to be honest, I think he makes the necessary adjustments very quickly and emerges as a top tier prospect in the game before the year is out.

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January 19, 2012 3:00 am

Future Shock: Indians Top 11 Prospects


Kevin Goldstein

Big-league graduations have depleted the system and made it one of the biggest question marks in the game.

Previous Rankings: 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

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While you will burn your neck and suffer heat stroke watching prospects develop in the Arizona League, there is a small oasis of potential stars that makes the pilgrimage worth it.

It’s hard to sell complex league baseball to the masses: The talent is immature, the names are merely names, the jerseys are often vague and free of personal identification, the environment is isolated and empty, and the theater of the event is off-off-off-off Broadway. But I’m going to give it a try.

What will it take to get you to walk away with a piece of Arizona League baseball in your hand? Financing is available for those who qualify, and if you wilt under the weight of my smile, I might be able to throw in a refrigerator magnet, or a flavored lolly for the little ones. Let me know if I can be of any assistance. I think you would look great with some AZL action in your life. It makes you attractive to the sex of your choosing. Don’t be shy. Here at Baseball Prospectus, we offer the best package. Don’t be fooled. You can’t match our guarantees. Look around, and let me know if you have any questions. My door is as open as my saccharine smile. Let’s make a deal.

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