Sullivan: Francisco Lindor wants to be baseball’s best player

From Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs on May 16, 2018:

Articles about great players have this habit of turning into articles about Mike Trout. That’s because Mike Trout is the best player in the world. I’m not certain it’s even up for debate. It will be one day, and maybe that day will be soon, but Trout has proven so much, for so long. Players sometimes flirt with Trout’s level of performance. They’ll do it for a month, or even two or three. Then they fade away, while Trout remains. That’s his big secret: never slump. Never slump, and always be awesome.

I understand that, these days, there’s a conversation comparing Mike Trout and Mookie Betts. As you could guess, despite Betts’ start, I’ll still take Trout. I’m a Trout guy. But the Betts side does raise a valid point: Betts’ offensive bar doesn’t have to be so high, because he’s so incredibly valuable in the field. Betts is baseball’s best defensive right fielder. That gives him a leg up. He doesn’t have to hit like Trout to be more valuable than Trout. That much is correct.

That much would also apply to Francisco Lindor. Lindor is a wizard at a premium defensive position. He’s a threat when he gets on the bases. And now, at the plate, Lindor has leveled up. To be clear, I’m still a Trout guy. But Lindor, at least, is closing the gap.

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Originally published: May 17, 2018. Last Updated: May 17, 2018.