It’s been a month since the Indians prized prospect was called up to the majors, so let’s take some time to break down his performance from his first 26 games. Here’s a look at how the switch hitter has faired from both sides of the plate.
Unfortunately, Lindor’s stats against righties have been pretty brutal. His .231 OBP vs righties ranks 174th out of 184 qualifying players since his callup on June 14.
On a positive note, Lindor has shown the ability to spread the ball around to all fields, with a 33-37-30 percent split to left, center and right respectively. Safe to say we’ll never see a Lindor shift.
On a much more negative note, however, Lindor has been completely helpless when righties jam him inside.
He’s seen 59 pitches on the inner third of the plate from righties so far this season. He’s swung at 29 of those pitches, put just six in play, and collected zero hits. Yikes.
Perhaps this is a case of a small sample size, however, as righties have primarily targeted Lindor on the outer third (132 total pitches). Oddly enough, he’s handled these much better, producing a .267 average.
While Lindor has managed to scrape together some hits against fastballs, he simply isn’t ready for the offspeed stuff. He’s batting .120 against off-speed pitches from righties, with a whiff rate of 30 percent. He’s also swinging at 41 percent of off-speed pitches thrown out of the strike zone.
Oddly enough, it’s been the same story for Lindor against lefties in terms of his successes and failures based on pitch location. His 57 pitches on the inner third have resulted in 27 swings, 11 balls in play and two hits.
For the time being, Lindor has more than made up for his struggles with inside pitches due to a .357 average on outside pitches. But there is some obvious luck involved there. He has produced a woeful .071 well-hit average on outside pitches—a rate which will never produce a .357 average over the long haul.
One encouraging sign from Lindor against lefties has been his .304 average and .208 well-hit average against fastballs. He’s swung and missed at just 11.6 percent of the fastballs he’s seen from the lefties, another good sign for his ability to sustain success in this area.
In fact, Lindor’s overall contact rate against is a respectable 81.6 percent, with his struggles primarily coming on off-speed pitches low in the zone.
Did the Indians promote him too soon?
Clearly Lindor is no where close to the many other prospects who are having immediate success in the majors. But really, he was never expected to from an offensive perspective. Much of Lindor’s perceived value as a prospect was always due to his defense.
A case could certainly be made that he would be better off producing at a higher level in the minors, especially since the Indians are unlikely to make a second half run.
But I’m in favor of leaving Lindor right where he is in the Indians lineup, primarily because he’s making contact.
While he may be struggling to make good contact, especially against righties, at least he’s putting the ball in play. He’s up there battling on a nightly basis and the fact that he has an overall contact rate of 81.6 leads me to believe that he’s capable of learning on the job.