Francisco Lindor is the future of the Cleveland Indians, but Asdrubal Cabrera, the team’s current shortstop, belives that the kid has all the right tools to be playing in the big leagues right now. In a piece discussing Lindor and his first big-league camp, Stephanie Storm of the Akron Beacon-Journal caught up with Cabrera to discuss the role he’s playing in the top prospect’s growth.
“He’s a really good player, a young kid,” Cabrera said. “He’s got everything he needs to play this game now.”
Asked if Lindor reminded Cabrera of himself as a 20-year old player, Cabrera shook his head.
“No, no,” he said. “He’s really good. I don’t think I was like that. I didn’t have the conditioning he has right now when I was 20 years old. He can play here a long time.”
Even though Lindor is the heir apparent to his position, Cabrera doesn’t mind playing the role of mentor this spring.
“I had mentors when I was in Seattle, a lot of guys who helped me like Carlos Guillen,” Cabrera said. “I tried to learn from those guys. So if he can learn something from me, I’m happy for him.”
Lindor, the team’s top prospect, has been on the fast track ever since the Indians made the Puerto Rican native the eighth overall pick of the 2011 Draft. He played in the Futures Game as an 18-year-old in 2012 and reached Double-A Akron the following year. It’s beleived he will start out in Akron for 2014, but it should not be too long before he’s playing in Columbus with the Triple-A Clippers.
“He’s an extraordinarily motivated guy,” Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said earlier this offseason. “He’s a great person with a great work ethic, and I think it’s just natural to want to compete against the best players. I think that’s, in the end, one of the things that will make Francisco such a good Major League player. But there’s also a process to go through developmentally.”
Presenty considered one of the best (if not the best) defender in the minor leagues, the switch-hitting shortstop was thought to be a big-league bat away from being able to make an impact with the Tribe. If his .801 OPS with the Aeros (at age 20, while dealing with considerable back pain) is any indication, the future may not be all that far off.
(AP Photo/Mark Duncan)