Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians
Today’s game is littered with a ton of elite young shortstops. Proclaiming the best of them all probably depends on who you ask, and what day the question is asked. It doesn’t matter, though, because Francisco Lindor gets his fair share of votes.
The young shortstop has never finished a year with less than 4.0 fWAR, and that number has gone up each season since debuting with Cleveland in 2015. From 2015-16, he showed off his ability to hit above .300, but his batting average has dipped into the .270s since the start of ’17. However, that’s because he’s enjoyed consecutive seasons of 30-plus homers.
The 2018 season was a banner one in most statistics for Lindor. He set career highs in fWAR (7.6), homers (38), runs scored (129), RBI (92), wRC+ (130), ISO (.242), and hard-hit rate (41.6%). He also added elite defense — only Andrelton Simmons (21 DRS) posted more Defensive Runs Saved than Lindor (14) at shortstop. The 25-year-old’s performance was worth $60.9 million, and he earned just $623,200. That’ll change this year, as he’ll earn $10.55 million as a first-year arbitration-eligible player.
As long as his calf injury doesn’t keep him sidelined for too long once the regular season gets underway, Lindor is on a similar trajectory as the others on this list to earn one of the biggest contracts in league history.