It’s been a bleak year for the Cleveland Indians.
The hype and excitement was surging before the year began, but things fizzled almost immediately. The team hasn’t been above .500 since it finished the first series of the year with a 2-1 record. Though the Indians find themselves six games back of the final wild card spot, any hope seems like nothing more than fool’s gold.
Admittedly, the opening paragraph wasn’t exactly a day-brightener for any Tribe fans looking for silver linings from a rough season. That said, despite the team essentially just playing out the string in the final month, there’s at least one reason to be excited about the future.
His name is Francisco Lindor.
Lindor’s name has been popular in Cleveland for the past few years, but he’s only actually played with the Indians for a little over two months now. Before this, he was the team’s highly-touted minor league prospect. Fans waited impatiently for the day Lindor got the call-up, and the moment finally came this past June.
There was concern, though, of whether or not the 21-year-old would actually live up to the massive hype which followed him. On top of this, with Cleveland struggling to string together consistent victories, some were worried the team might be leaning on the young shortstop and asking him to try and save the season.
At first, it seemed as though Lindor was merely good, but not quite the game-changer everyone thought he’d be.
Defensively, Lindor has definitely shown a ton of potential. At the same time, he’s had some rookie mishaps as well. He’s second on the team with eight errors this year, which everyone is likely hoping can just be chalked up as some rookie jitters here and there.
At the plate, Lindor would have a solid game or two per week, but his batting average never really hovered higher than the .250 range. As with his defense, there’d be moments where you thought Lindor was becoming a solid MLB hitter, and other days where you were left thinking he still had a ways to go.
Lately, though, Lindor is starting to make everyone realize why fans were waiting so anxiously for his big-league call-up.
The rookie shortstop has been on a tear in the past month. In fact, for the month of August, Lindor has only gone without a hit in just four games. During the final two games of Cleveland’s weekend series against the New York Yankees, Lindor had six hits, including yesterday’s go-ahead home run in a 4-3 win.
Coming into August, Lindor was batting .265. His average is now .298, and there’s a chance we’re finally seeing the prospect some thought would become rookie of the year this season.
Besides swinging a hot bat, Lindor is also bringing something else to the Indians, something they’ve been missing an awful lot this season.
Say what you will about whether or not something like this really has an effect on a club, but you can’t deny Lindor carries it with him whenever he takes the field. He’s been playing with an infectious confidence, and it’s certainly making the Indians a little more watchable as a whole. This team has been pretty lifeless for most of the season, so what Lindor brings to the table is an enormous breath of fresh air.
It all rounds up into a big reason why fans should feel slightly more confident about Cleveland’s future despite the disappointing season. Tribe supporters had been dying to see Lindor join the club, and were equally impatiently awaiting the day he lived up to the buzz which surrounded him.
It took a little longer than some may have hoped, but it looks like that moment is finally here.