Not only they dealt prized young shortstops Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario, plus two prospects to Cleveland, but they also signed the All-Star infielder to a contract extension worth $341 million the day before the start of the season.
Now the face of the Mets’ franchise, Lindor was eager to start the season on the right foot.
However, that hasn’t been the case at all.
Lindor is, before Friday’s game, slashing .203/.317/.261, far from the .284/.345/.483 he has hit during his career.
Francisco Lindor: "I don't feel like I'm in a slump. I feel like I've had quality at-bats.
"A slump for me is when I'm 0-for-35, 0-for-30. That for me is a slump, that's like I'm not doing anything to help the team, I'm not giving my absolute best at-bats to help the team."
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) April 28, 2021
Fans have even booed him this week.
ICYMI: Booed this week, Francisco Lindor vows to win in New York.https://t.co/Fd4shvW1YB
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) April 29, 2021
He only has one home run and hasn’t stolen any bases, which is uncharacteristic of him given that he averaged around 35 dingers and 20 thefts in his last three full seasons, 2017, 2018, and 2019 (2020 was a shortened campaign.)
Lindor has, for his career, a 6.1 barrel percentage.
A barrel is a ball hit at a certain minimum exit velocity and with an optimal launch angle, and as you can imagine, these often lead to the best outcomes.
So far in 2021, he only has one barrel, for a 1.6 barrel percentage.
So, what is wrong with Francisco Lindor?
Small Sample Size Matters
First, it’s important to note that any slumps at this point of the season mean next to nothing because the sample size isn’t big enough to draw any conclusions.
This is especially true for star players, like Lindor, because he has an extensive track record of success in the big leagues and has shown the ability to adjust.
Having said that, let’s dig deep and try to determine what is causing the Mets’ star slump.
The first thing that jumps to mind is that he is hitting the ball in the ground very often, as his 1.68 groundballs per fly ball suggests.
That 1.68 GB/FB would be the highest mark since his sophomore year, in 2016.
More than half of Lindor’s batted balls have been grounders, at 53.3%, which would be the highest of his career.
Groundballs are considerably worse than fly balls and line drives, and they lead to worse outcomes (for example, you can’t hit a homer on a fly ball.)
Lindor’s launch angle had been hovering between 12 and 14 degrees for the last four seasons, yet it is at just 7.1 degrees.
Lindor Is One Adjustment Away From Breaking Out
It seems Lindor is a slight mechanical adjustment away from breaking out and producing the stats we should expect from a $341 million man.
His strikeout rate is on par with what he has shown over the course of his career, at 12.0%, and he is taking even more walks than punchouts, with a 13.3 BB%.
It’s not a matter of hard contact, either, as Lindor’s 41.0% hard-hit rate is on par with his recent seasons, in which he was a very good, successful hitter.
His average launch angle is a little off, and he is hitting more ground balls as a result.
That is something Lindor should fix in almost no time, and go back to the feared offensive performer he is.