CLEVELAND: Francisco Lindor probably wonders what the Indians are waiting for.
He’s already 19 years old and he’s heard (and probably read) that he is one of the best prospects in all of the minor leagues. Before the season, Baseball America ranked him 28th.
Fans in Cleveland and now in the Carolina League know about Lindor, who is tearing up the league for the Tribe’s “high” Class-A team, the Mudcats. In 42 games, Lindor is batting .331 with 11 doubles, four triples, one home run, 26 runs and 17 RBI.
He doesn’t walk much but he doesn’t strike out much, either, having gone down on strikes an average of once every 9.6 at-bats.
So is he ready to play in the big leagues? That question should not elicit a laugh, despite his youth. In spring training exhibition games, he received 24 at-bats and hit .292 with one double, one triple and only two strikeouts.
All of this is not to suggest that Asdrubal Cabrera will be traded this week to make room at shortstop for Lindor, but if there’s such a thing as a fast track to the big leagues, he’s on it.
Asked if Lindor might be summoned to Cleveland before the end of the 2014 season, Ross Atkins, vice president of player personnel said, “That could happen.”
It’s not even a question of his readiness.
“You saw him in spring training,” Atkins said. “He could play up here. The question is when is the best time for him to come up and make an impact.”
In spring training, Lindor showed no signs of discomfort or nervousness playing with the big boys. He was not overmatched either at the plate or in the field.
“Every night [at Carolina] he gets two or three hits and makes an exceptional play,” Atkins said. “And I haven’t seen that kind of leadership and professionalism from a high school player. Not only does he have the ability, he outworks people.”
Lindor was the Tribe’s first pick (eighth overall) in the 2011 draft. He was born in Puerto Rico but attended high school in Florida, so he hasn’t been forced to make a huge cultural adjustment since signing a professional contract.
How quickly will Lindor advance through the Indians’ farm system?
“He continues to speed up the timetable,” Atkins said.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.