clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Francisco Lindor can literally do anything

New, 4 comments

Hitting home runs on pitches at the letters is not normal.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, and welcome to what is becoming my weekly Francisco Lindor appreciation post.

Last week we talked about how Frankie is on pace for the best season as a leadoff hitter in Indians history. In the five games since I wrote that, the Tribe shortstop went out and went 6 for 18 with four extra base hits, four walks, nine runs scored, and four RBI — oh, and he hit three home runs in three consecutive games against the Tigers. So, let’s keep on discussing how awesome he is, shall we?

I don’t have to tell you all reading this to love Lindor any more than you already do. If you’re here, I’m going to assume your love is pure. What I want you to appreciate this week, is this:

That was Lindor’s 18th home run of the season, his second of three in consecutive games. It pretty much put a bow on the team’s sixth straight win and ensured a victory in Trevor Bauer’s sixth consecutive start.

You may be thinking, Cool, it was a great home run, I love Frankie, but what’s the big deal? Look again at where he hit this thing.

At 2-2, Lindor was protecting the plate. Certainly, he recognized that Alex Wilson left his slider hanging and thought he could make contact, but he was likely just trying to foul it off. Look at where his hands are, completely obscuring the script on his jersey. This is not the kind of swing air ball revolution preachers are sharing with their students. But it landed in the right field stands, all the same.

That’s just how locked in the young slugger is right now. Even when he’s not trying to, he’s able to barrel up the ball and swat it out.

For Wilson’s part, it was a good pitch for the count, even if it hung up a bit. In his career, he’s thrown 73 pitches in that zone, generating 28 swings, with nine whiffs from those swings (32.14%) — it is one of his better locations. Hitters have made contact in that location 14 times, but only twice for a hit. This season, Wilson has hit that spot six times and only once has someone connected. Now his slugging percentage in that location looks like this:

More impressively, of Francisco “I am not power hitter” Lindor’s 19 home runs this season, none have come on a pitch as high as that from Wilson. Likewise, of his 79 career home runs, not one has come on a pitch that high out of the zone. Saturday’s bomb was a first for Frankie.

While acknowledging the caveat that most players try not to hit balls out of the zone at all, it’s so damn impressive Lindor hit one this high. Via The Hardball Times, the strike zone terminates at 3.5 feet above the ground, with very few strikes called above 3.3 feet to left-handed hitters in particular.

Lindor’s bomb was not one of the very most extreme home runs hit on high pitches this year, but it was in the 99th percentile. The pitch crossed the plate at 3.5293 feet (per Statcast’s plate_z measure), which was the 43rd highest pitch deposited in the stands so far this season (out of 2,662 home runs so far this year). When you consider plate discipline, however, Frankie is one of the least likeliest players to hit a high ball out, as his career chase rate (O-swing, swings outside the zone) is just 31.1 percent, which is 12th among batters who have hit a pitch above 3.5 feet for a home run this year, right behind Manny Machado (31 percent).

Highest pitches hit for a home run in 2018

Batter Plate_z (feet) Batter O-swing (%) Pitcher
Batter Plate_z (feet) Batter O-swing (%) Pitcher
C. Moran 5/22 4.4457 27.9 M. Harvey
JD Martinez 6/13 4.0967 33.7 M. Wright Jr.
Y. Solarte 5/23 4.0527 33.6 T. Skaggs
J. Gallo 6/6 4.0489 32 D. Mengden
J. Baez 6/2 3.9077 43.6 G. Bautista
J. Osuna 5/11 3.8607 36.7 A. Suarez
J. Aguilar 5/20 3.8273 35 J. Odorizzi
Y. Cespedes 4/18 3.817 36.2 AJ Cole
C. Correa 5/31 3.8041 29.4 D. Pomeranz
JD Martinez 6/22 3.7688 33.7 N. Vincent
J. Harrison 6/16 3.6999 37.4 A. Brice
J. Aguilar 6/15 3.6923 35 J. Valentin
R. Braun 4/13 3.6892 33.8 S. Matz
M. Trumbo 6/7 3.6787 37.2 J. Axford
R. Braun 3/30 3.6716 33.8 B. Hand
G. Stanton 5/8 3.6709 31.3 D. Pomeranz
JD Martinez 4/26 3.6634 33.7 M. Estrada
M. Machado 4/19 3.6599 31 J. Zimmerman
J. Bour 4/10 3.6573 31.4 J. Rhame
J. Mercer 5/9 3.6527 30.1 R. Lopez
B. Zobrist 5/20 3.6507 22.9 T. Mahle
X. Bogaerts 5/29 3.6433 32.9 J. Biagini
JT Realmuto 6/23 3.6389 32.3 B. Shaw
M. Gonzalez 4/28 3.636 33.4 W. Font
G. Sanchez 5/4 3.6353 33.1 J. Tomlin
D. Gregorius 4/3 3.6344 36.9 A. Pruitt
D. Dietrich 5/31 3.6333 31.5 K. Yates
R. Devers 6/12 3.6323 36.7 D. Hess
T. Turner 6/19 3.6123 27.7 D. Hess
L. Duda 4/7 3.6085 27.2 T. Bauer
M. Kemp 5/25 3.6067 33 C. Richard
C. Moran 4/2 3.5941 27.9 L. Lynn
M. Olson 6/1 3.5919 26 I. Kennedy
A. Rizzo 6/6 3.5907 31.9 A. Nola
T. Story 5/2 3.5845 29.3 Y. Darvish
C. Young 6/16 3.5748 23.1 S. Manea
A. Cabrera 4/10 3.5609 30.5 C. Smith
D. Peralta 6/3 3.5504 33 T. Guerrero
L. Brinson 5/20 3.5455 39.5 J. Teheran
S. Schebler 4/23 3.5339 35 M. Foltynewicz
M. Machado 4/6 3.5334 31 CC Sabathia
F. Lindor 6/23 3.5293 31.1 A. Wilson
E. Gattis 5/29 3.5234 36.6 CC Sabathia
T. Mancini 6/19 3.5135 35.2 J. Rodriguez
N. Mazara 5/9 3.5133 33 D. Stumpf
JD Martinez 5/14 3.5084 33.7 Y. Petit

Maybe it’s not Colin Moran’s shot off a 4.45-foot high pitch, but Moran also has 5 inches on Lindor. Anyway, we don’t need to compare, we just need to keep on appreciating the multitude of ways Frankie can entertain us with his remarkable innate gifts. And I, for one, hope the Indians give him a lifetime contract so I can write nice things about him every week.