Thursday Thought: There shouldn't be any debates about Francisco Lindor

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
Washington Nationals v New York Mets / Mike Stobe/GettyImages

Francisco Lindor’s New York Mets tenure did not get off to a great start. After being traded from Cleveland and signing a mega-extension with the Mets, he posted a .230/.322/.412/.734 slashline, which left Mets fans wanting more. He did make it to 20 homers after getting hot in the second half, but his 63 RBI’s were also disappointing.

However, he’s been one of the best players in baseball in 2022. He’s played every game and he’s among the top five shortstops in runs scored, RBI’s, walk rate, and wRC+. 

Some Mets fans are treating this Francisco Lindor as if he hasn’t been substantially better than last year

As Jolly Olive points out in the tweet below, Lindor didn’t drive in his 39th RBI until September 2nd last year. On Monday night, he drove in his 40th RBI of 2022. It took him 50 games to do what took over 100 games last year. Give some credit to the rest of the Mets lineup for giving Lindor opportunities, but Lindor needs to be commended for cashing in in key moments.

One thing I see on Twitter a lot is people complaining about his batting average being low. I don’t know what year they’re living in, but A) batting average is not the be-all end-all stat to assess baseball players by and B) .262 isn’t a low batting average in today’s baseball landscape.

The issue with batting average is that it only takes into account a miniscule percentage of what happens on a baseball field. It’s literally just hits and at-bats. The industry has turned to more encompassing stats like on-base percentage, because it takes walks and hit-by-pitches into account, and OPS or OPS+ because they consider power as well. 

Hitting .262 is perfectly fine when you’re getting on base and driving in runs. Lindor works counts and strikes out less than 20% of his at-bats. He’s not Joey Gallo, who strikes out nearly 40% of the time and is just generally uncompetitive at the plate with an OPS below .600. Then you can factor in his well-below .200 batting average as part of the problem, since he just refuses to put the bat on the ball.

Even with Lindor's defense taking a step back, he’s still basically an average defender as well. Combine that with his above-average baserunning and the offensive success, and he is 14th in MLB in fWAR, and 5th in the National League. ESPN projects that if he keeps up his current pace, he will finish the year with 26 homers and doubles, 130 RBI's, and 120 runs scored. If you're not thrilled with that, I don't know what to tell you.

Whether you’re on board or not, Lindor is putting himself in contention for MVP votes at the end of the season.

To summarize, Tyler said it best:  

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