The Indians have promoted their top prospect, 19-year-old shortstop Francisco Lindor, to Class AA Akron.
It was not long ago that the Indians made noise about keeping Lindor at Carolina, in Class A+ all season, but just days after Lindor was named the #5 prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America, he's being moved up a level. There has been some debate about what's best for his development, staying in Carolina to build confidence or moving up to Akron to face new challenges. I didn't have strong opinions about it, but I'm happy with this news, because I think it shows the franchise is happy with his progress and the adjustments he's been able to make.
Lindor, the Indians' 1st round pick in 2011 (#8 overall) has put up a line of .307/.375/.412 so far this season, with 20 stolen bases in 25 attempts and (by all accounts) tremendous defensive work. He has almost as many walks as strikeouts and doesn't turn 20 until the middle of November.
Lindor will be playing in the All-Star Futures Game on Sunday, the premier showcase for MLB's young talent. That will keep him from arriving in Akron over the weekend. Dennis Manoloff of the Plain Dealer writes that Lindor is instead expected to debut with the Aeros Monday or Tuesday night. If you're in the area, you should cancel your other plans and head to Canal Park. Then you should report back to the rest of us with breathless reports of Lindor's glorious performance.
What does this move mean for other shortstops in the Cleveland system? What happens to Ronny Rodriguez, a fairly well regarded prospect in his own right, who's been playing the position in Akron so far this season? Is he being traded? Switched to a different position? Is everyone moving up a level because Asdrubal Cabrera is being moved?
Answers to those questions are not yet clear, but should be soon. In the meantime, enjoy the knowledge that Francisco Lindor just got 553 miles closer to Cleveland.