Cleveland Indians: Francisco Lindor season preview

GOODYEAR, AZ - FEBRUARY 23: Francisco Lindor
GOODYEAR, AZ - FEBRUARY 23: Francisco Lindor /

The Cleveland Indians have perhaps the best shortstop in baseball right now with Francisco Lindor. What should we expect from him this season?

2017 was a fantastic season for the Tribe’s young shortstop. It saw him mature and develop as a hitter in ways that make him one of the premier hitters in baseball. Lindor finished fifth in AL MVP voting and received the Silver Slugger award as well as his second All Star nomination.

There was a big difference between the Lindor of 2017 and the Lindor of 2015-16. In his first two seasons in the league, Lindor hit 12 and 15 homers, respectively. But last season, he finished with 33 long balls, unlocking the power potential he always had. But, in doing so, his batting average dropped from the .300 or so that it had been down to a still-good .273.

Lindor also posted career highs in doubles, RBIs, and slugging percentage. And he hasn’t even entered his prime yet. The future is so bright for him, but we already knew that. Besides hopefully signing an extension at some point this year, what else can we expect from the face of the Cleveland Indians franchise?

Related Story: Predicting the cost of a Lindor extension


The projections for Lindor on Baseball Reference are slightly pessimistic on Lindor’s power surge last season. They look something like this.

2018 Projections: .291/.352/.485, 34 doubles, 23 HRs, 78 RBIs, 15 stolen bases

This looks a lot like regression to the mean from Lindor’s production from 2016 and 2017. It doesn’t fully buy into the power surge and is basically the average of the year by year stats for Lindor’s career. This is why I don’t buy those projections.

Those numbers always just kind of setup a baseline and doesn’t try to accurately predict the total production for a whole season. This is where my personal projections come in. I like to be more optimistic and not just go for the safer numbers.


These numbers are my own guesses for Lindor’s overall production at the plate this season, based off of no one else’s projections for him this year.

2018 Prediction: .287/.349/.494, 43 doubles, 35 HRs, 91 RBIs, 18 stolen bases

I believe that Lindor’s power surge is legit and he can continue to hit 30+ homers every season. Lindor is an impressive young hitter and he’s only going to get better each and every year. He finally figured out his power stroke last season and I think he’s going to find a way to make it stick while also improving upon his batting average and on base percentage from last year.

There’s no reason to believe Lindor will regress. If he gets through a completely healthy season, he will just continue to put up better and better numbers.


As far as awards go, I think the Silver Slugger is easily within reach, especially if his power surge continues as I expect. He was also the Gold Glove winner in 2016, meaning he should be on the list of contenders for that award once again this season. However, being a shortstop, there will be plenty of stiff competition for that award once again in 2018.

The big award everyone is pushing for is the AL MVP award. However, Jose Altuve is still a hitting machine in Houston. Aaron Judge could continue his surge of power and impress MVP voters. Oh, and by the way, reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton is now in the AL, so there’s another slugger who can win the award.

Not to mention his own Cleveland Indians teammate Jose Ramirez should be another candidate. Lindor finished fifth in voting last year while Ramirez finished third. That was Lindor’s second top-10 MVP finish, after he came in ninth in 2016.

But, if all goes well and his power surge continues while also upping his batting average, there’s no reason to believe that he can’t win the MVP award. If he can somehow snag the Gold Glove as well as the MVP award in 2018, that just proves Lindor is the best all-around player in the American League.

Next: Could Eric Haase be the catcher of the future?

There will be high hopes not only for the Cleveland Indians in 2018 but for Lindor as well. He’s the face of the franchise and is only improving each and every season. I can’t wait to see what he can do this year.