Most 17 year olds are making decisions like what they will major in college, or who they plan to take to prom. A select few encounter more life changing issues, like whether or not to sign a contract to play professional baseball, and if so, how much money they will require. With the MLB draft signing deadline having recently passed, those were questions pondered by a number of young players.
Recently, Francisco Lindor had to make tough choices about his future, deliberating between playing baseball with the Cleveland Indians or going to school at Florida State. The 17 year old Lindor, a switch-hitting shortstop, was taken by Cleveland with the 8th overall selection in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft. He is the first high school player they have taken in the first round since 2001.
It went right down to the August 15th signing deadline, but Lindor ended up choosing to play professionally rather than go to school. The 2.9 million dollar signing bonus he reportedly received undoubtedly helped influence his decision. He will now begin his trek through the Cleveland minor league system, with the ultimate goal of becoming a star player at the major league level.
Lindor moved from Puerto Rico to Florida when he was 12, and became a baseball sensation. During his senior year this past spring, he hit a crackling .528, with 6 home runs and 20 stolen bases for Monteverde High School. It was little wonder that he was coveted by a number of teams in the draft, before Cleveland took him off the board.
Scouts are already drooling over the five tool potential of Lindor. Despite his wiry 5’11 frame, he recently won the home run contest at the AFLAC All-American Classic. He is also gifted defensively, and many predict that he will eventually become a major league star. A person in the Cleveland organization told me that they could not recall seeing a player as young as Lindor already be so polished and natural.
Shortly after signing, Lindor joined the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in the New York-Penn League to get a little professional baseball experience. He seems to be very close with Tony Wolters, another promising young shortstop prospect for the Indians, and an excellent mentor for the new signee.
It must be nice for Lindor to know that because of his signing bonus and age, he has the luxury of developing over the next few years, and seeing if he can hone his game to a major league level. Not many people his age can claim the security he now has. However, he will not be sitting still, because now that the draft is behind him, the next goal will be playing in Cleveland.
Francisco Lindor Interview:
Filed under: Down and Dirty - Interviews, On the Farm - Prospects | Tagged: Cleveland Indians, Francisco Lindor, Mahoning Valley Scrappers, Prospects, Tony Wolters | 2 Comments »