Francisco Lindor now has five sacrifice bunts this season. The superstar New York Mets shortstop has frequently bunted over teammates throughout his career. In fact, he led the league in his rookie season with 13 of them way back in 2015.
Lindor continued to chop off his own head to move over a runner throughout his time with the Cleveland Indians. However, as he developed into a better hitter, they did occur less frequently. He has already tied the second-most he has had in a season.
Seeing Lindor bunt runners over has confused many. It’s a statistic nobody thought to even look at.
Like an off-color joke, I do believe there is a time and place for everything. Bunts from Lindor do have a place. Halfway through the 2021 season, though, they may be appearing a little too often.
The Mets didn’t extend Francisco Lindor to lie down sacrifice bunts
Sacrifice bunts aren’t always formulaic. There’s a strategy to it. Having Lindor bunt runners over can potentially catch the other team off guard leading to an actual bunt base hit. When this happens, it’s hard to really be too upset. Who hasn’t wanted to see a lefty poke one down the third base line against the shift?
Lindor’s sacrifices haven’t always been so strategic. He gives it away early and has chosen to give the other team an out to move a runner up. It worked on Monday against the Milwaukee Brewers with Lindor moving Brandon Nimmo to third base prior to a sacrifice fly from Dominic Smith. Moments like this have us all feeling content with the decision but also a little puzzled.
We all expected a different approach at the plate from a guy who hit 30+ home runs and 40+ doubles in three consecutive seasons from 2017-2019. Lindor hasn’t been a light-hitting shortstop in his career. It’s almost like asking Darryl Strawberry to bunt a runner over; something he did only once in his entire career (1984).
If sacrifice bunts work for Lindor, I guess we need to let it be. He isn’t hitting well this season so to give the Mets an opportunity to score runs by giving himself up, I suppose it’s for the best.
It’s an ugly feeling, though. Lindor needs to make the most of his plate appearances. He’ll never snap out of his season-long slump if bunting his teammates over is regularly on the table.
There’s no correct answer to this. When it works, we’re merry. When it doesn’t, it’s easy to play the blame game.
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It has been an atypically down year for Lindor at the plate in 2021. Some nights, a sacrifice bunt might be all he can contribute whether any of us like it or not.