Back in January, the New York Mets acquired star shortstop Francisco Lindor in a blockbuster trade with the Cleveland Indians. His debut year with the Mets hasn’t been picture-perfect, but the four-time All-Star is still finding ways to make an impact.
In 80 games this season, Lindor has a .219 batting average with nine home runs and 29 RBI. Mets owner Steve Cohen was expecting more production from a player who has proven he can be a .300 hitter in the pros, however, it’s worth noting that Lindor’s batting average is getting better and better each month.
Although his bat hasn’t been elite this season, Lindor hasn’t allowed that to affect the rest of his game. He’s still flashing the leather on a daily basis and is even among the MLB leaders in sacrifice bunts. It’s not very often you see a $341 million player lay down a bunt, but he’s more than willing to in order to help out his team.
We caught up with Francisco Lindor to discuss his work with Gatorade, his first season with the Mets, whether a new contract affected his approach at the plate and much more.
The Spun: What are you doing with the Gatorade Player of the Year program?
Francisco Lindor: I introduced the Gatorade Player of the Year award to Dylan. It was definitely really cool to see his reaction and see how surprised he was. He’s going to be the future of the game very soon, so I was very excited to announce this award.
The Spun: Was it a little odd presenting an award instead of receiving one?
FL: No, it was actually pretty cool [laughing]. I would’ve loved to win this award in high school, so being able to present it was great.
The Spun: When you sign a 10-year, $341 million contract before the start of the season, does that put extra pressure on you to perform?
FL: It was great to get the deal done before Opening Day. I got to sign with a great organization. Does it add more pressure? I think it’s the same as it’s always been. I want to win – it doesn’t matter where I am. I’m with the Mets and I want to bring a championship to Queens. It’s going to be a dream for me and for all the fans if we can pull this off. It’s a journey that I’ve been ready to take on.
Francisco Lindor gets one right back for the Mets 😎 pic.twitter.com/pcK4AEBa6q
— SNY (@SNYtv) July 7, 2021
The Spun: Your batting average is steadily improving over the past few months. Did your mindset at the plate change at all?
FL: It’s just baseball, man. I’ve been working just as hard since Day 1 of Spring Training. I didn’t have the results I wanted in April, I got some results in May, I got a little better in June and I’ll continue to get better every single day. I don’t know, man. Sometimes, you get lucky. Other times, you struggle no matter what. I served my time this year, so hopefully I’m done struggling and I continue to climb the ladder. Hopefully, I’ll have some big months in the second half of the season.
Highest OPS among #Mets hitters with a min. 40 PAs in high leverage situations this season:
— Mathew Brownstein (@MBrownstein89) June 30, 2021
The Spun: You’re halfway through your first season with the Mets. What are your early thoughts on the New York fan base?
FL: I’m glad I’m not playing through a pandemic like last year. I feel like I’m getting to experience the fans. These fans are loud and they’re different from the Cleveland fan base, which I loved Cleveland, but here it’s a completely different crowd. They expect results, and so do I. When it comes to New York, I get cheered and I get booed. That’s part of the grind here in New York. I love it here and I can’t wait to see what this journey has in store for me. I just hope we come out on top at the end of the year.
The Spun: Does this Mets team the way it’s currently built have the tools it needs to win a World Series this fall?
FL: Of course, I think we have what it takes to be a championship team. We’re improving every single day. I couldn’t say that in March or April because I didn’t know the guys that well. But seeing how we’ve backed each other no matter what, I truly believe we can win a championship. I think we have what it takes to do it. I know there’s still a long, long time until we actually make it to the postseason, and hopefully we do make it, but I really think we can win a World Series.
we'd trust Francisco Lindor with our internet passwords, his defense is so strong. pic.twitter.com/wx17xUQCT1
— Cut4 (@Cut4) May 27, 2021
The bright lights in New York can negatively affect a superstar athlete, but Francisco Lindor has managed to stay levelheaded through all the highs and lows this season.
As a matter of fact, Lindor is actually building some serious momentum before this summer’s All-Star break. If he can return to his 2019 form during the second half of the season, the Mets will be tough to stop down the stretch.
You can read more of The Spun’s interviews with athletes or media stars here.