Francisco Lindor was the runaway winner off an industry survey to choose the top shortstop prospect to build a team around. Baseball Prospectus asked a variety of MLB front-office workers (including General Managers and Scouting Directors) the following question:
The options were Lindor, Carlos Correa, Javier Baez, and Addison Russell, each of whom is a consensus top ten overall prospect. Lindor received more votes than the rest of the players put together.
Said one respondent (all front-office respondents were anonymous):
"I want the premium defense at that spot and I'm thrilled with also getting the switch-hitting ability along with it. Add in Lindor's solid makeup and high baseball IQ, and I am sold."
Baseball Prospectus' own scouting department also took part; again Lindor received more votes than any of the other options too. Here are a couple snippets of what that group of evaluators had to say about him:
"His instincts and creativity at the position are on par with anyone I can think of at the same stage in development."
"He controls the strike zone."
There's a lot of praise for the other players as well, and it's rare that so many hyper-talented prospects at the same position are coming up so near one another. To see Lindor singled out above the rest adds to my excitement about his eventual arrival in Cleveland, possibly as soon the second half of this season. It seems like his defense is already ready to play as well-above average at the MLB level, which means with even average offensive production he'd be a very valuable player. His offense projects to be above average too though.
He's never going to hit 30 home runs a year, but he's a switch hitter who should hit for a strong average from both sides of the plate, his plate discipline should help him to a high OBP, and he's got enough pop to hit 10-15 HR a a year and add another 30-35 extra-base hits, and the speed to steal 20-30 bases. That offense added to his glove work would make him one of the most valuable players in all of baseball, with a skill set that can age very well over the next decade.
The title of BP's entire prospect-coverage system is "Prospects Will Break Your Heart," but if you're the sort who allows themselves to get excited about what might happen, you'd be a fool not to feel a ton of excitement about Francisco Lindor.