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Where does Francisco Lindor rank among the AL Central shortstops?

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Moving around the infield, we shift from third base to shortstop, home to one of the more exciting players in the league, Francisco Lindor.

Is Francisco Lindor the top shortstop in the division?
Is Francisco Lindor the top shortstop in the division?
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

We previously noted that the Tribe will likely have the worst third baseman in the AL Central this season. But in 2015, one of the more highly touted prospects in baseball debuted. And he more than delivered. Was it enough to climb to the top of the AL Central rankings?

Cleveland Indians

The aforementioned top prospect was obviously Francisco Lindor. He was rated in the Top 10 in all of MLB last preseason by Baseball America, MLB Pipeline and Baseball Prospectus. While the front office kept him in AAA to start the season to ensure he was completely ready (and also to ensure missing the Super 2 cutoff), once he arrived on June 14, he showed all of his talents for the rest of the season. The projections have him slightly down from his incredible beginning, but still pretty nice overall.

Jose Ramirez will back him up. Erik Gonzalez would be the next in line, but I doubt Lindor will be moved at all. Gonzalez if he develops further would become trade bait.

Francisco Lindor

PA

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

WAR

Steamer

644

12

268

319

390

310

95

3.5

ZIPS

679

15

275

321

417

325

4.0

Marcel

419

12

302

350

471

Chicago White Sox

For the first time since 2007, the White Sox will have a new shortstop with the departure of Alexei Ramirez. I for one say good riddance. While Alexei was only a 91 OPS+ player overall, he had a knack for hitting homers against the Indians, with 15 of them over the years and 71 RBI to boot.

It appears Tyler Saladino, who played third base last season will shift over, with Leury Garcia backing him up. Saladino is not projected to be better than Ramirez, and in fact will likely be worse as Ramirez was a plus defender. Tim Anderson is the top rated prospect in the system according to MLB Pipeline and hit 312/350/429 in AA last season. I could easily see him making it to Chicago by midseason.

Tyler Saladino

PA

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

WAR

Steamer

215

4

243

301

360

291

80

0.1

ZIPS

463

9

232

290

347

290

2.0

Marcel

327

7

241

293

375

Detroit Tigers

Jose Iglesius made a very nice comeback in 2015 after missing all of 2014, even making the All-Star team as a backup. He is projected to regress in 2016, but I have a feeling that has a lot to do with the missed 2014 season. When healthy he has been pretty decent. He will be backed up by old Francona favorite Mike Aviles.

The two top prospects in the system are JaCoby Jones and Dixon Machado. Machado hit 261/313/332 in AAA last season and got his first of cup of coffee last September (and three games back in May). Jones came over in the Joakim Soria deal last summer and hit 250/331/463 in AA and also appeared in the Arizona Fall League.

Jose Iglesius

PA

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

WAR

Steamer

487

4

280

327

364

304

89

2.0

ZIPS

438

3

275

322

343

299

2.0

Marcel

427

5

296

347

396

Kansas City Royals

Alcides Escobar will open at short for the sixth straight season for the Royals. He is coming off one of his worst seasons and isn't projected to get much better, at least hitting wise. He did make the All-Star game last season due to the Royals fans stuffing the ballot box and nabbed his first Gold Glove. He will be 29 this season and the Royals hold a team option on him for 2017 with just a $500k buyout.

Raul Mondesi is the heir apparent as he is the #1 MLB Pipeline player for the Royals. Mondesi made history last year be becoming the first player ever to debut in the World Series. Honestly, I am not sure why Mondesi is this highly rated though. In his defense he has been extremely young at every stop in his career, but he hasn't surpassed a 675 OPS at any level since his Rookie season in 2012. If his bat even shows a glimmer this season, I doubt Escobar is retained.

Alcides Escobar

PA

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

WAR

Steamer

637

4

262

297

345

281

74

1.6

ZIPS

651

4

266

298

350

287

2.0

Marcel

593

5

258

293

342

Minnesota Twins

Eduardo Escobar played more of a utility role last season, and performed very well. He is projected to start at short this season, but that can obviously change quickly with his versatility. Both Eduardo Nunez and Danny Santana can also play the position. Nunez hits about the same as Escobar, but Santana cannot really hit well at all.

Jorge Polanco and Nick Gordon are both in the Top 5 for MLB Pipeline in the farm system. Polanco hit 288/339/386, mostly in AA. He should start in AAA this year. Gordon hit 277/336/360 in A ball last year.

Eduardo Escobar

PA

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

fWAR

Steamer

414

8

260

309

393

305

91

1.0

ZIPS

437

9

256

302

409

308

2.0

Marcel

470

11

265

311

425

My take

This is an easy one to rank Lindor number one overall. Iglesias is an easy second choice. As for the other three, I'd give Alcides the edge due to defense but it definitely is a toss-up. Saladino is likely the first guy replaced this season.

I'd rank them as follows:

1. Lindor

2. Iglesius

3. A. Escobar

4. E. Escobar

5. Saladino

Please post your rankings in the comments.

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