Francisco Lindor has been a star ever since he was called up to the major leagues in 2015. He brought energy and passion to the game and was a force in the Cleveland Indians lineup. His slick-fielding and clutch hitting made him an integral part of the Indians lineup.
Mets Acquisition Of Lindor Set High Expectations
When the Mets acquired Lindor on January 7th, the expectations were set very high. Many fans were expecting an MVP-caliber season, and to this point, it seems unlikely that he will get there. Many fans were eagerly standing by as the Mets were negotiating a contract extension with Lindor and his agent. It took until the last day of Lindor’s said deadline for the team and Lindor’s camp to agree to a deal, but they got it done.
To date, Lindor has faced some early adversity in his first months in NY. First, he has struggled to hit the ball, and boos have become accustomed at home following his at-bats. Also, there was the incident with Jeff McNeil that Lindor turned into a circus. Despite all of that, he has continued to be positive energy amongst the club. His continuous encouragement of teammates and smiling is something that cannot be ignored. The camaraderie that he has established with his teammates is something that can be viewed as a key to success for the club.
After Early Struggles, Lindor Finally Hitting His Stride
Now, as we stand on June 10th, it seems that Lindor has finally turned a corner. Since May 31st, Lindor has hit .333 with a .956 OPS. In addition to Lindor, the Mets’ other big bats have also seen their numbers improve. The Mets had especially high hopes for a Lindor turnaround, and it seems he may finally be getting around. After dropping to .182 on May 27th, Lindor has bumped up his average to over the Mendoza line to .217. It’s a big step considering that Lindor had found himself hitting below .200 for most of the season.
Lindor must continue to hit at this pace if this streak wants to be taken seriously, but the numbers back up a turnaround. The Mets offense has struggled for most of the year and this would be a great time for the whole lineup, especially the salary leader in Lindor to lead that group. The Mets are currently in the first place by 3.5 games, however, would like some separation at the top.
Over Lindor’s last seven games, he’s slashing .346/.433/.538 and has 1 home run and 1 RBI. He has also walked three times while striking out six times and scored eight runs. One area where Lindor definitely needs to pick up is bringing in runs. He needs to improve his runners with runners in scoring position, an area he has struggled in all season.
For the season, he’s slashing a measly .175/.333/.294 with men in scoring position. He also needs to improve his numbers when there are one or two outs, as he’s hitting below .220 in both situations. On the other hand, he has succeeded with no outs, as he’s slashed .293/.361/.427. If he can turn around those numbers, the Mets will be a much better team as a result.
Lindor’s Advanced Metrics Down From Previous Years, But On The Up
Lindor has begun to hit the ball harder and drive balls at a better rate than what we saw earlier in the season from him. His barrel % of 6.1%, is slightly up from last year (5.6%) but down from 2017-19, with a high of 9.5%. His average exit velocity is also slightly up from last season at 90 mph and would be his third-highest average if the season ended today. One of the major reasons for his struggles is his decreased ability to hit the ball in the air.
His launch angle of 10.8 degrees is the lowest since his sophomore season and down from 13.5 degrees last year. Because of this, his expected batting average and expected slugging percentage is at all-time lows. The Mets hope that this current stretch is the beginning of his turnaround, which is much needed. He has seemed to be getting a bit unlucky at times as well considering his hard hit% at 42.1 is the highest of his career.
Furthermore, although his strikeout % is the highest it’s been at 16.5%, he has also been walking at a high rate. His walk rate of 10.9% is the best of his career by 1.5%, which was done in 2019 (9.4%). If Lindor can lower those strikeout numbers and continue to walk at his current pace, he will also see his overall numbers improve.
Mets Seeing Improved Defense At Shortstop
Defensively, Lindor has been there all season for the Mets. Thus, the Mets have gone from one of the worst defensive teams to one of the best in one year. He already has 7 OAA (outs above average), which ties the amount he had for last year’s shortened season. He has an opportunity to best his career-high of 20 OAA, which he set during the 2019 season.
Lindor has made many plays look easy, which were once typically not always outs. Amed Rosario, the Mets starter at shortstop in the past few years struggled at the position. Ultimately, that was one reason the Mets looked at Lindor as a major upgrade. To this point, the Mets, especially their ground ball pitchers, have been reaping the benefits of Lindor’s defense.
As a result, it’s clear to see that Lindor is finally on the up and turning a corner. It’s important that Lindor continues to improve and get better every day so that the team improves every game as well. While his overall numbers still have a ways to go, there are several encouraging signs for Lindor and his ability to turn it around.