It’s been a very odd season for Francisco Lindor, as exactly half of his hits have gone for extra bases. That’s led to a .197 ISO, his highest since 2019, when he put up the last of his three consecutive seasons with at least a .200 ISO. But his relative lack of singles has led to a .225 AVG, a drop of 45 points from a season ago. Additionally, Lindor is drawing fewer walks and striking out more often. Add it all up and we have a drop in his production, with a wRC+ of 100, compared to the 121 mark he posted a season ago.
Early in 2023, we saw pitchers trying to attack Lindor by throwing more pitches out of the strike zone, hoping to get him to chase. His AVG wasn’t great then, either. But he was compensating by drawing a ton of walks, which kept his OBP at a respectable rate. Now, we see that pitchers have changed their plan. Instead of trying to get Lindor to chase, they’re pounding the strike zone early, throwing him more first-pitch strikes than at any point in his career.
And when Lindor attacks the first pitch, the results have been very good. In 22 PA where he sees just one pitch, Lindor has a .381/.409/.714 line. And the results are even better when he’s ahead, 1-0, in the count, as he has a 1.217 OPS in 15 instances here. But the longer the PA goes on, the worse it gets. It’s pretty standard for hitters to be much better in 1-0 counts than 0-1 counts. Yet what really stands out are Lindor’s results when the count is 2-2 or 3-2 or even 3-1. Lindor is batting just .134 (9-67) in those deep counts.
If you could make suggestions based on this data – which is far, far from a sure thing – you’d advise Lindor to go up looking for either a certain pitch or certain location and jump on it if you get it in the first two offerings. After that, you might get him to be much more selective at the plate, even with two strikes. It’s better to go down looking while waiting for a ball to drive than it is to flail helplessly at pitches in the dirt.
One thing you can be sure of is that pitchers will look to exploit your weakness. As Ike Davis will tell you, once you make it known that you’ll swing at that breaking ball a foot out of the strike zone, pitchers will happily throw it to you whenever possible. While pitchers attacked Davis low and away, they go low and inside against Lindor, especially as a LHB, as shown in this chart:
It would be nice to see Lindor lay off the inside pitch when the count gets to two strikes. If the pitcher can throw that for a strike, tip your hat to him.
One final note on Lindor. He sure seems to hit a bunch of infield popups. Turns out he’s one of just 11 hitters with at least 1,000 PA as a Met to have a double-digit IFFB%, ranking seventh with a 12.3 rate. This year it’s even higher, as he has a career-worst 14.1 IFFB%. Infield popups are particularly bad, because they’re an out 99.9% of the time, with no chance to drive in a run. Essentially, they’re strikeouts that you made contact on.