CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Francisco Lindor is one step closer to potentially taking home some postseason hardware.
The Indians’ rookie shortstop was named as one of three finalists for the AL’s Rookie of the Year Award on Tuesday night, joining Carlos Correa of the Houston Astros and Miguel Sano of the Minnesota Twins.
Lindor led AL shortstops in wins above replacement (via Fangraphs) this past season (4.6), despite playing in just 99 games in 2015. The switch-hitting 21-year-old slashed .313/.353/.482 in his first big league action, demonstrating more power (12 home runs) than anyone anticipated in his rookie year.
He also added 22 doubles, four triples, 12 steals and 50 runs scored.
What many did expect was plus defense, and Lindor did not disappoint with his glove. The slick-fielding youngster led AL shortstops in defensive runs saved (10), coming up just short of qualifying for a Gold Glove this season.
Lindor also led the league in shortstop UZR (10.5) among players with at least 500 innings played.
At the end of the season, Lindor was asked what it would mean to him to be named Rookie of the Year.
“It would be an honor,” he said. “It would be an amazing feeling, not only for me, but for my family, for Puerto Rico, for the organization, the Cleveland Indians, for the fans here. I thank them for all the support they’ve been giving me. It made it a lot funner for me throughout the year.”
Lindor’s teammates certainly believe he is worthy.
“There’s a lot of unbelievable rookies,” catcher Yan Gomes said at the end of the season. “I think that was the big talk of the whole year — the rookies took over. But, I mean, from what he does and what he did this year, it’s definitely deserving.”
“You can already tell his competitive nature when he dives for a ball and he doesn’t get to it, he’s slapping the ground,” second baseman Jason Kipnis added. “He’s mad. He wants to make every play and he wants to get there every time. That’s the sign of a good ballplayer.”
Despite Lindor’s strong resume, Correa and Sano present stiff competition for the coveted Rookie of the Year Award.
Correa, who won the AL Outstanding Rookie Award at the 2015 Players’ Choice Awards, slashed .279/.345/.512 with 22 homers and 68 RBI in 99 games played this past season for the Astros. And while postseason stats do not figure into the voting, the 21-year-old hit .292 with two homers for Houston in the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Sano was also special for the Twins, slashing .269/.385/.530 with 22 bombs in 80 games played for Minnesota in 2015.
The winner of the AL Rookie of the Year Award will be announced on Monday, Nov. 16 at 6:00 p.m. on MLB Network.