After a disappointing first year in Queens, Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor enjoyed a record-breaking campaign in 2022. If what he’s done so far this spring serves as foreshadowing, 2023 is bound to be another prime-time performance.
It’s hard for me to call 4.2 fWAR in 2021 a “down” season for Lindor. However, the start of his year was terrible and he was never able to fully rebound from there. But that’s in the distant past now that he’s the franchise record holder for home runs (26), RBI (107), and fWAR (6.8) in a single season for Mets shortstops.
Lindor is the leader of Team Puerto Rico, and they named him captain prior to the tournament. All he’s done is rake during his first three games of the WBC. Lindor has accumulated 11 plate appearances so far, which has led to a .455/.538/.636 line, four RBI, and four runs scored. Of his five hits, the below triple is his only one of the extra-base variety.
A bases clearing triple for Francisco Lindor!
— SNY Mets (@SNY_Mets) March 14, 2023
It’s not like he waited for the WBC to start swinging a hot bat, though. He’s been feeling good in the box since stepping foot in Port St. Lucie.
Before leaving camp, Lindor appeared in seven Grapefruit League games, which led to 18 at-bats. During that time, he slashed .389/.500/.778 with two homers, four RBI, and five runs scored. This performance has also included more walks (four) than strikeouts (three).
This is obviously still just spring training. And while the WBC is meaningful baseball with an intense atmosphere, it won’t count once Opening Day rolls around in a couple of weeks. Lindor has also typically been a solid performer during spring training. He hasn’t posted an OPS lower than 1.000 since 2020.
Even though the stats won’t end up meaning anything soon, there’s no baseball player on the planet who wouldn’t take a hot start like this. He’s entering his third year in New York, and it’s safe to say he’s fully comfortable in his surroundings now. Lindor is also comfortable within his own body now that the “fart bubble” issue is officially in the rearview mirror.
After a player enjoys a record-setting performance the year prior, it’s unfair to assume he’ll do it again the following season. Lindor may not reach all of the same heights he did in 2022, but he looks primed to build upon what he’s already accomplished in Flushing.
Matt Musico can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.