In his second season with the Mets, Francisco Lindor played in all but one game and saw his OPS+ jump 25 points from his first year in Queens. The result was a ninth-place finish in the MVP voting. Outside of the career-high IFFB%, it’s hard to imagine a much-better season from Lindor. So, what does he do for an encore? Here’s what the computer models project:
ATC – 655 PA, .254/.327/.429, 23 HR
Marcel – 605 PA, .254/.327/.424, 21 HR
RotoCh – 627 PA, .261/.333/.436, 24 HR
Steamer – 666 PA, .249/.321/.427, 24 HR
THE BAT – 655, .251/.324/.431, 24 HR
ZiPS – 649 PA, .255/.328/.440, 25 HR
As expected for a veteran, we have a pretty strong consensus on what Lindor will provide. It’s perhaps a touch surprising that the models all see a drop from Lindor in the AVG category. Last year he hit .270, a mark he exceeded five times previously in his career. The trouble was the two times he fell short of the mark came in 2020 and 2021. From a subjective point of view, 2020 can be dismissed because of 60 games and 2021 because of it being his first year in New York. But if we know anything, it’s that the computer forecasts are not subjective.
Another thing to consider with Lindor and his AVG is that he’s surprisingly not a high-BABIP guy. It didn’t start out that way, as his first two years with Cleveland, Lindor put up BABIPs of .348 and .324, respectively. But as his HR increased, his BABIPs dropped. Last year was the first time since 2016 that Lindor’s BABIP cracked the .300 mark, and at .301 it was just barely above the threshold.
We think of guys who have speed and who make solid contact as ones who can exceed the league average in BABIP. And while the general rule of thumb is that the league average in the category is .300, it was lower than that in 2022. Last season, the MLB BABIP was .290, meaning Lindor was 11 points above average. That doesn’t sound like a lot but consider that in 2021, Lindor was 44 points below the league BABIP. So, last year was a giant leap forward for him.
And while it would be nice to see Lindor put up an even-higher AVG than what he did last season, what we really want to see is a return to the .200-plus ISOs he ran from 2017-19. In a lot of ways, 2022 was a bounce-back year from Lindor after two sub-par seasons. Yet his .179 ISO was actually two points below what he posted in 2021.
Perhaps moving in the fences in part of RF at Citi Field will help Lindor to a couple of more homers and an ISO back in the 200s. It’s possible but off the top of my head, my recollection is that the balls Lindor hit hard were comfortably out of the park, not dying on the warning track. It’s very possible my recollection is wrong and that he does get a significant bump in power from the new dimensions of his home park. But that’s not going to be much of a factor in my forecast. Here’s my totally biased projection for Lindor this season:
666 PA, .280/.346/.466, 26 HR