Year one of Francisco Lindor with the New York Mets didn’t go as planned. The star shortstop hit .230/.322/.412. All three slash line numbers were career lows.
Lindor did find his power stroke late in the season, eventually getting up to 20 home runs. Nine of them came in September including the three versus the New York Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball.
Outside of his defensive performance, Lindor came up short in every possible expectation. In 2022, the Mets need a lot more.
The bare minimum the Mets can accept from Francisco Lindor in 2022
What we cannot expect Lindor to do is meet or exceed any of his previous highs. He won’t hit .313 as he did in his 99 game rookie campaign back in 2016. He won’t get on base at a clip of .358 as he did the following season. The 38 home runs and 92 RBI from his 2018 sixth-place MVP finish year won’t happen either.
But maybe one of those numbers can be true.
Lindor’s seven big league seasons look like they came from three different players. His first two seasons were high on average and not so much on power. From 2017-2019, his batting average dipped but his power surged. He had 30+ home runs and 40+ doubles in each of those three years.
Lindor dipped in 2020. During those 60 games he played, he set or matched career-lows. The following year with the Mets, he dipped them more.
It’s the 2020 season that looks like a bare minimum expectation from him. A .258/.335/.415 slash line would have been a major difference for the Mets in 2021. That’s 28 more points on his batting average, 13 more on his OBP, and a slight uptick of 3 points on the slugging percentage.
Equally as important, Lindor endured all games on the schedule back in 2020. I know it was only 60. Staying healthy is something Lindor will need to do this year, too.
Injuries are impossible to prevent or predict. Lindor happened to miss every game after July 16 until his return on August 24. This just happened to coincide with the team’s downfall. Even if he was around, it’s hard to imagine the Mets would have won nearly enough games to make the postseason. Nevertheless, the most important ability of any star player is availability.
The Mets could use a lot more than a .258/.335/.415 year from Lindor with Gold Glove-caliber defense and a pace of about 22 home runs. It’s the gap power we should pay attention to more, though. Lindor had 13 two-base hits in all of 2020 and went to only 16 last year in about twice as many plate appearances. If Lindor’s able to start hitting it into the gap, even if he isn’t an MVP candidate, the Mets are in good shape.