Now, even the most casual baseball fan has heard of Derek Jeter and I’m willing to bet that most fans born before the year 2000 have heard of Nomar Garciaparra. However, unless you’re a pretty close follower of the game or the Cleveland Indians specifically, you might not have heard of Francisco Lindor.
As you can see by the tweet, Mr. Lindor put up numbers in his rookie season which rival those of Jeter and Garciaparra.
So, which one of those statlines belongs to Lindor, you ask?
You might be surprised to learn that the answer is A (B is Nomar in ’97, C is Jeter in ’96). Lindor finished 2015 (his age 21 season, mind you) with a batting average just a point lower than rookie Jeter’s and an OPS+ a point lower than rookie Nomar’s. We’re talking about two of the best offensive shortstops of the ’90’s and ’00’s here, so it’s safe to say that Lindor is in good company.
If you were born sometime in the ’80’s or before, you might remember that there was another good shortstop who burst onto the scene in 1996 along with Jeter – a 20-year-old playing for the Mariners by the name of Alex Rodriguez. His offensive numbers in 1996 were even better than those of Jeter and Nomar in their rookie years, posting a triple-slash line of .358/.414/.631 and an OPS+ of 161 (it should be noted that Rodriguez’s official rookie season was 1995, but he didn’t even eclipse 150 PA, so 1996 was his first full season).
If you followed baseball at all this season, you also might remember that there were two very young shortstops who had similar impacts to Lindor in 2105, and their names are Xander Bogaerts (Boston) and Carlos Correa (Houston). Once again, the offensive production of these young men was impressive enough that, if I had put either of them in the tweet mentioned earlier, you’d have a hard time picking who was who.