Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports is reporting that the promotion of Indians shortstop prospect Francisco Lindor is “imminent”. He’s expected to join the club in time for Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Tigers in Detroit. [Update: MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian confirms that Lindor will be promoted on Sunday.]
Lindor, 21, was taken by the Indians in the first round — eighth overall — in the 2011 draft. He entered the season rated as baseball’s fourth-best prospect by MLB.com and Baseball Propsectus. In 259 plate appearances with Triple-A Columbus, Lindor hit .279/.346/.398 with two home runs, 22 RBI, and eight stolen bases.
The last-place Indians could badly use some help at shortstop. The combination of Jose Ramirez and Mike Aviles wasn’t working out, as the Indians’ aggregate .527 OPS out of the shortstop position ranked second-worst in the American League.
Lindor joins Twins outfielder Byron Buxton on the list of top prospects earning a promotion on Saturday. It’s been the year of the call-up, as we’ve seen Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Joey Gallo, Noah Syndergaard, Carlos Rodon, Blake Swihart, Carlos Correa, Vincent Velazquez, and Lance McCullers — among others — make their major league debuts this season.
Another big shakeup in Cleveland’s infield, as the Indians have demoted starting third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall to Triple-A on the heels of doing the same with starting shortstop Jose Ramirez.
Chisenhall had a big first half last season, hitting .332 with a .915 OPS in 79 games to make a lot of people think the former top prospect was finally living up to his potential at age 25. But then he fell apart in the second half, hitting .218, and Chisenhall was even worse to begin this season with a .207 batting average and .585 OPS in 52 games.
Chisenhall is still young enough to get on track with the Indians, but he’s now a career .253 hitter with a .708 OPS in 397 games as a big leaguer and his inability to control the strike zone stands out as holding him back.
Mike Aviles is expected to serve as the Indians’ primary shortstop, leaving call-ups Zach Walters and Giovanny Urshela to split time at third base. And stud prospect Francisco Lindor will continue biding his time playing shortstop at Triple-A.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Indians are expected to promote Zach Walters, not prospect Francisco Lindor, to replace Jose Ramirez on the 25-man roster. Ramirez was demoted on Sunday after batting .180/.247/.240 across 170 plate appearances.
Walters, acquired from the Nationals at the deadline last July in the Asdrubal Cabrera trade, has spent most of the 2015 season with Triple-A Columbus. He posted a mediocre .701 OPS in 118 PA.
Lindor, 21, ranked among the game’s 10 best prospects entering the season according to Baseball America, MLB.com, and Baseball Prospectus. With Columbus, he has hit .269/.342/.393 with two home runs, 21 RBI, and eight stolen bases in 231 PA. Rosenthal suggests that Lindor could get his promotion to the majors soon, though.
Francisco Lindor had an impressive spring, but as expected the Indians have sent the 21-year-old shortstop to Triple-A.
Baseball America, MLB.com, and Baseball Prospectus all ranked Lindor as a top-10 overall prospect this year and he hit .297 with two homers and six total extra-base hits in 16 spring training games for a .902 OPS.
However, the plan all along has been for Jose Ramirez to keep the shortstop position warm for Lindor, who seems on track to arrive in June or so. Lindor’s minor-league numbers haven’t been eye-popping, but he’s been incredibly young for every level of competition and last season held his own between Double-A and Triple-A as a 20-year-old.
In his Saturday column for The Plain Dealer, Terry Pluto suggests that Indians shortstop prospect Francisco Lindor will likely begin the 2015 season at Triple-A Columbus because the team believes he needs some more work before getting a promotion. They did not bring Lindor up to the majors when rosters expanded in November.
With Lindor at Triple-A, Jose Ramirez should be expected to be the everyday shortstop along with Jason Kipnis at second base, and Mike Aviles backing up both middle infield positions.
Lindor, who turns 21 in two weeks, has consistently been rated among the game’s best prospects after the Indians took him in the first round (eighth overall) in the 2011 draft. The shortstop batted .273/.307/.388 in 180 plate appearances in his first taste of Triple-A competition following his promotion in July.