Cleveland Indians: Francisco Lindor or Carlos Correa?

May 16, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) hits an RBI double against the Cincinnati Reds during the third inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
May 16, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) hits an RBI double against the Cincinnati Reds during the third inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

Plenty of younger players are part of the Cleveland Indians‘ core. One player in particular, Francisco Lindor, has superstar potential and is one of the best at his position. Still, would he be the first pick at his position to start a team?

Cleveland Indians’ shortstop Francisco Lindor and the Houston Astros’ Carlos Correa are neck and neck statistically at this point in their careers.

Breaking down the young careers of the Cleveland Indians’ Francisco Lindor and Houston Astros’ Carlos Correa is a tiresome exercise. But, one foregone conclusion is that both shortstops will be contending for American League MVPs in the near future.

Analyzing their careers to date just emphasizes their dominance since their respective rookie campaigns in 2015. What each may lack in their counterpart, they make up for in other areas. So, who would you rather have on your team?

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Each brings something with the bat on their respective clubs, and both do their job effectively. Lindor’s offensive numbers are fantastic for a shortstop, but lag behind in terms of offensive WaR due to Correa’s superior power. What he lacks to the Astros’ shortstop in MVP potential at the dish, he makes up for with precision and flair in the field.

We’ll start off by looking at each of their per 162 game averages at the plate (all stats as of August 19th).

Runs- Lindor (98), Correa (83)

Hits- Lindor (199), Correa (172)

Doubles- Lindor (34), Correa (38)

Stolen Bases- Lindor (20), Correa (18)

Home Runs- Lindor (19), Correa (30)

RBIs- Lindor (85), Correa (113)

Batting Average- Lindor (.312), Correa (.275)

On-Base-Percentage- Lindor (.356), Correa (.356)

Slugging Percentage- Lindor (.468), Correa (.490)

Offensive WaR- Lindor (6.8), Correa (9.4)

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Correa is undoubtedly the greater offensive threat, but Lindor’s well-rounded presence at the front of the lineup creates havoc for opposing pitching staffs. Correa was expected to be a force offensively. Lindor’s 162 game average of 19 home runs was not expected at all.

Advanced fielding statistics of the two budding superstars illustrates the impact Lindor has on defense compared to Correa. In career defensive runs saved above average, Lindor blows away Correa’s -3 rating with a mark of 24 in the category. The statistical equality of both shortstops greatness is best understood when looking at the following career statistics in succession.

Total WaR- Lindor (9.4), Correa (9.1)

oWaR- Lindor (6.8), Correa (9.4)

dWaR- Lindor (3.9), Correa (1.0)

Runs better than average hitter- Lindor (20), Correa (42)

Runs better than average fielder- Lindor (24), Correa (-3)

WAA, wins added above average- Lindor (6.2), Correa (5.9)

Lindor slightly edges Correa on overall Sabermetrics statistics due to his elite fielding. However, the margin is not substantial enough to declare him a better MVP candidate than Correa.

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Historically, the MVP award is reserved for those players with superior offensive numbers, power numbers specifically. But maybe, just maybe, Lindor’s dominance in the field for the Indians could sway more potential voters his way.

The encouraging sign for Lindor’s case against Correa is his surprising ability at the plate. The gap between the two offensively, even when considering their differing styles, is not insurmountable. If Frankie continues to develop, it’s possible he could catch Correa in oWaR in the very near future.

If you were starting an MLB team today and could pick either  Correa or Lindor to be your starting shortstop, who would you choose? Even when pondering the question objectively as possible, I would have to say Lindor.

For full esclosure, yes, I am a diehard Cleveland Indians fan. But, picking Lindor over Correa is the correct choice. When Lindor is in the Indians lineup, the observer is virtually guaranteed to catch a glimpse of what makes him so special. Whether it be in the field or in the batters box, he is an exciitng player to watch!

Correa doesn’t bring the same “wow” factor Lindor does, nor does he have the all-around game of the Indians’ 22-year-old. Correa, 21, is immensely talented and will continue to improve as well. With that being said, the limitless potential Lindor has in all facets of the game will prove more beneficial to a club’s success than a slugging, below average defender at short.

Lindor has the natural talent and range in the field that Correa will never be able to match. The Cleveland Indians’ advantage with him at short outweighs the superior RBI ability Correa has displayed.

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That fact has been on display ever since they both debuted in 2015 — to both the naked eye and the stat geek. The debate will rage on as to who the better option is at arguably the game’s most important position. I don’t see it becoming subdued anytime soon.