Interview Outtakes: Top Indians Prospect Francisco Lindor Answers Six Questions on Playing Shortstop
Whenever I conduct an interview with anyone — including top Minor League prospects — I always conclude it with some variation of this question: “Is there anything that came into your mind that you would like to add?” I ask it mostly to make sure I haven’t left anything significant out of the conversation, but I ask it, too, in case the interviewee does, for any reason at all, have something on their mind they want to talk about.
I bring this up now because Francisco Lindor, the 14th-ranked prospect in our Top 100, had something on his mind. I interviewed Lindor last week for the second story of my nine-part series on top-ranked prospects who are also top-rated defenders (the story is here), and I purposefully avoided asking him about his offensive skills. (The idea of the feature series is to make up for the fact that we at MiLB.com really only report on outstanding hitting and pitching performances April through September.)
Well, Lindor wanted me to know something. “Hitting is really, really important,” he said. “I’m a good hitter as well.” He went on to explain, somewhat to my surprise, that he takes as much, but more likely greater, pride in his offense as he does in his defense.
This was not a top Minor League prospect acting like a top Minor League prospect. This was one of the smartest and most thoughtful interviewees I have encountered on this beat wanting to make sure I understood that he was not happy being a one-dimensional player, that he wants to be a great multi-dimensional player. And I respected him for it.
Anyway, below are six additional long-form quotes from Lindor that didn’t make it into the story. Also on the blog, comments from one of his Minor League mentors can be found here.
- On how he came to play shortstop: “When I started playing, my brother and cousin were playing the outfield, then went to catcher, so I caught a little bit. Whatever they did, I did it. I wanted to be like them. Then they played shortstop. It was a lot easier to practice as a shortstop than as a catcher,” said Lindor, who settled at short by 9 or 10. “It was always fielding, fielding, fielding, and then after I was done, it would be hitting. Hitting was like a reward. It was like, ‘I’ll get ground balls, and if I do it right, I’ll go hit, and not only go hit, maybe I’ll [give myself] 20 more cuts.’”
- On the source of his arm strength: “God blessed me with talent, of course, and family and the people I have around me. The rest, I work for it. That’s how I feel about everyone. We’re all blessed with arms, legs and are capable of improving every aspect: running, hitting, fielding, throwing.”
- On the Indians’ depth at shortstop (see Dorssys Paulino, Tony Wolters, and Ronny Rodriguez): “I love it. I love it. I love it. About the three guys you mentioned… they are going to make me better, and I’m going to make them better. It’s fun being around them. It’s fun trying to help each other, to challenge each other. It’s not a bad competition. We all got the same goals: making the bigs and being the best player we can be to help the Indians win the championship.”
- On Puerto Rico producing so many good infielders: “Fielding is a great part of the team. If you realize, most of the great shortstops that came out of Puerto Rico can hit. To me, hitting is more important than fielding. I take pride in fielding, but I take a lot of pride in hitting as well. Look at Roberto Alomar. The guy can hit, and he could also field. Fielding is like your personalization of the game. Hitting, you can have your own technique, but fielding is where you’re making great plays, make a great double-play. So a lot of kids growing up seeing that, they like that.”
- On his favorite play as a shortstop: “Double plays — that’s my favorite play. It doesn’t matter what kind of double play it is, it’s just fun. The satisfaction you get when you get two outs on one play, it’s a great feeling.”
- On his goals for 2013: “I keep my goals simple: get better every day, go out there and compete every day, and have fun every day. If I take care of these goals, everything will work out.”