The Cleveland Indians are one win away from their first World Series win in 68 years and they are doing it with, arguably, one of the best pitching staffs ever to throw baseballs in October. While Corey Kluber, Andrew Miller, Cody Allen, and company deserve all the credit in the world for getting the Indians this far, their emergence as postseason heroes has overshadowed the rise of another: Francisco Lindor.
To Indians fans, Lindor’s greatness is already routine. Since being promoted to the Indians a mere year-and-a-half ago, he improved the defense and began to hit far better than anyone expected. His 2016 season has leveled out his power a bit, but he actually improved his on-base percentage year-over-year. If you have never taken a step back and just looked at how impressive Lindor’s resume it to this point, you really owe it to yourself to take a trip down Game Log Lane.
And his defense. Good god, his defense. Joe Buck and the rest of the FOX broadcasters seem obsessed with bringing up how “flashy” Chicago Cubs star second baseman Javier Baez makes everything on defense look, but they have rarely mentioned just how routine Lindor makes everything. I’m not sure which is better, to be honest.
In the 2016 postseason, Lindor leads all participants in hits, including seven multi-hit games; two three-hit games. The Indians would certainly not be in the position they are without Andrew Miller or Corey Kluber, but you could make the argument that would not be here without Lindor, either.
He has had his fair share of dumb mistakes, such as getting picked off in the first inning of Game 3, or later grounding into a bases-loaded double play. But, by and large, he has been vital to the Indians’ winning efforts in October — whether it was his solo homer in his postseason debut against the Boston Red Sox, a two-run home run in Game 1 of the ALCS that would go down as the only runs of the game, or running down a ball that Joe Buck was just sure no one would catch. He has been everywhere and everything on the field for the Indians.
Even outside of what he does with a bat or a glove, Lindor just makes baseball fun. He didn’t need a hat or an awkward commercial in a laundromat to do it, either. The 22-year-old just has the enthusiasm of, well, a 22-year-old doing what he loves; and he is not afraid to share it around. Most recently, in last night’s win, Lindor chased down a foul ball that ended up in the stands. Before jogging back to his spot at shortstop, he hugged Cubs reliever Hector Rondon who was sitting in the bullpen.
One of my favorite things from this postseason was Lindor’s pure excitement when his teammate, Roberto Perez, hit his second home run of Game 1 of the World Series. We were all Lindor in that moment.
To me, that seems like the kind of player MLB should be promoting the hell out of. He’s effortlessly charismatic, intelligent, creative, and a dynamite talent to boot.
So why aren’t we hearing about it more? Maybe it comes back to the idea that hearing good things about your teams’ favorite players do not usually register as compliments, so we do not notice them; the reason I think many fans feel national broadcasts are “biased” against their team. Or maybe Lindor has already ascended to the level of great players who make it look so routine it isn’t worth talking about anymore.
Whatever the reason, every second of our lives we are not spent talking about Francisco Lindor feels like wasted time at this point.
The World Series is extremely hectic, though. I get that. There is not a lot of time for reflection and looking at just how impactful a player has been until the whole thing is over; when we can take a step back and say “Wow, Francisco Lindor really did all that?” His impact is not as immediate as Andrew Miller wiping out every single batter he faces, but I believe his time as coming. The world cannot ignore Lindor’s greatness if they wanted to, and I don’t think anyone wants to.