Baseball Prospectus took to the experts of the baseball world – both others in the industry, and their own in-house crew – to determine: of the four big-time shortstop prospects in baseball, which one would you choose to build your franchise around?
Well, Cleveland Indians prospect Francisco Lindor won the thing going away over Javier Baez, Addison Russell and Carlos Correa. The gist of the selection seems to be that Lindor, while offering plenty of awesomeness and upside, is pretty much the safest bet of the crew. He’s got Gold Glove-caliber defense (which tends to translate well to the bigs without a lot of risk), and he’s got “off-the-charts” makeup. He’s going to do some good things with the bat, too, so it’s not like it’s just about making the safe pick.
I found it interesting how frequently you see this kind of line of thinking come up in the piece: Baez has the potential to be the more impactful, better player … but the experts just can’t pick him over Lindor. It’s a risk versus ceiling kind of debate, and if I can only choose one guy to start my franchise, I’m not so sure I can fault the experts here. The question is a loaded one, and it seems to imply: don’t you dare screw this up. With Baez, there’s some risk of screw-up, even if he’s got 10 WAR potential (Lindor almost certainly does not). It’s a good read.
(If the question instead had been, imagine you’ve got a solidly-built franchise, and you can steal any shortstop prospect in baseball from any other organization, I’m pretty sure Baez would have been the overwhelming choice.)
… and to all that noise, I say pfft, yeah, but does Lindor have a GIF that makes you drool like this:
(h/t Dylan Heuer)