There’s flashier guys to cover, I’m looking at you, Carlos Correa; I’m winking in your direction, Byron Buxton, and your missing finger, excuse me, dislocated. But I’m writing rookie outlooks for 2015 fantasy baseball, i.e., I’m focusing on guys that could play the majority of the time in the majors in 2015. I’m not going to write a Buxton outlook saying. “Will be awesome, come back to read more in 2016.” I’m trying to focus on impact players for this coming year. Prospect Mike is around to talk future All-Stars. Unlike Correa and Buxton, Francisco Lindor is in his last stop at the majors. Maybe the Twins push Buxton along and he jumps to the major league club by midseason, assuming he can stay healthy and the Twins can actually have something nice. “Sorry, we don’t have anything in your size.” That’s the cashier at the Everything Nice store after the Twins enter. Wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for Buxton to appear this year. Shoot, he could rip the cover off the ball in spring training and be up sooner than June. Right now, he looks like a September call-up, at best. Same for Correa. With that said (oh, boy, here comes a reversal), I’m not totally sure of Lindor’s path to the majors. A good generalization that is generally good (hey, what do you know?) is a player ends the year in Double-A, starts in Triple-A the following season and is in the majors by June. Or is in Triple-A to end the year and starts the year in the majors the following year. Of course, guys can jump from Double-A or even High-A to the majors, but that’s more the exception than the rule. Lindor, on the other hand (were we even using hands?), played well in Triple-A last year. He really has no place else to go, except the majors or traded to another team. He should’ve been up already, to be quite frank, and don’t call me frank. Why am I even comparing Lindor, Correa and Buxton? Because they’re all the top rookies right now in the minor leagues, and you people demand the best. You demander, you! Anyway, what can we expect of Francisco Lindor for 2015 fantasy baseball?
Up until this year, when I heard Lindor, I expected Billy Butler’s name next. No, not because Butler’s fat and Lindor is truffles. Because of corner infielder questions of “Adam Lind or Billy Butler?” You people really should stop picking on Butler; he will eat you. Now, Lindor has become a hey-sexy-wassup-badonkadonk shortstop prospect. He’ll be 21 years old in November and looks ‘can’t miss’ (which, of course, will mean he misses). In Double-A last year, he had 6 HRs, 25 SBs and a .278 average in 88 games. Then did more of the same in Triple-A. He’s never really hit for an absurd average in the minors, but that feels more about his age than his talent. He doesn’t strike out much and has speed. That usually translates to around a .280 average at worst. He hasn’t done that well in the minors, so I wouldn’t project him for it, but it doesn’t mean he can’t get there. His power isn’t elite, at least not yet. Seven homers with some ease, 10 homers with some breeze. I’m a poet and I’m aware of it! Speed is his weapon, do you have a tampon? Okay, I’m gonna stop rhyming now. Really Lazy Comparison Alert! He looks like a young Jimmy Rollins. Now, about 500 words ago I said I didn’t know about his path to the majors. That’s because a funny thing happened on the way to Progressive Field. Jose Ramirez showed up and performed last year. Possible Scenario Number #1, the Indians push Kipnis to DH, Santana to 1B, Gomes to catch and field both Ramirez and Lindor next April. Possible Scenario Number #2, Ramirez won’t be good in April (or March), Lindor will be called on to replace him. Possible Scenario Number #3, there is no Possible Scenario Number #3. Possible Scenario Number #4, Ramirez will be good, Lindor won’t be up until September call-ups. Two of these four scenarios are positive for Lindor and there’s only really three scenarios. Most likely scenario seems to be a combination of one and two, Lindor is worked into a platoon to start, then outshines Ramirez. For that playing time projection (say 400 ABs), I’ll give him the projections of 51/6/39/.271/22. That’s definitely a starting shortstop in mixed leagues when he has a job, and, while he still a lot of question marks like The Riddler’s stretchy pants, he is worth a flyer late.