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Francisco Lindor ‘the rock’ of surging Mets amidst historic season

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Francisco Lindor Mets
Francisco Lindor (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

Suppose Buck Showalter was to identify one dependable constant within the juggernaut which is the New York Mets in 2022. In that case, it could very well be his superstar shortstop in Francisco Lindor, who is putting together one of the best seasons of his career — and one of the best campaigns ever put together by a Mets shortstop. 

The 28-year-old four-time All-Star has played in all but one of his team’s 112 games this season, an automatic candidate to pencil in the lineup card every day.

“You probably wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve talked to him and I know he’s going to be honest with me,” Showalter said about playing Lindor every day, especially amidst a streak of 27 games in 26 days. “It’s a skill to know how important that is but it sets a tone for so many guys.

“I remember talking to [Cleveland manager and Lindor’s former skipper] Terry Francona before the season and one of the things he talked about was that he likes to play, he likes to compete. Let’s be frank: When you make commitments to players long-term, that’s one of the hardest things to read.”

There certainly can’t be any question about Lindor’s level of commitment after signing a 10-year, $341 million extension prior to the start of the 2021 season, overcoming a difficult debut campaign in Queens to become one of the most consistent Met this season.

His batting average is 40 points higher compared to last year while he’s already tied last year’s home run output and blown past his previous RBI mark. 

Tuesday night saw him become the first shortstop in franchise history to record multiple seasons of 20 or more home runs. On Wednesday, a second-inning two-run single during the Mets’ 10-2 blowout of the Cincinnati Reds tied Jose Reyes’ 2006 franchise record for the most RBI in a single season by a shortstop with 81.

“It’s a blessing. Whenever you can do something cool, it’s a blessing,” Lindor said. “To be next to Reyes — I grew up watching him. It’s great. But I want to try and win a World Series. That’s all I have in mind. Along the way, things like this are going to happen.”

When he came in to score on Jeff McNeil’s sacrifice fly in the first inning — making it the 13th-straight game in which he scored a run — it tied a franchise record set by David Wright in 2008.

Quite a remarkable turnaround compared to 2021.

Francisco Lindor Mets
Francisco Lindor (AP Photo/Jessie Alcheh)

“He’s shown a lot of maturity about how he controls it. It’s not he said she said or this isn’t fair,” Showalter said. “He would have finished in the top percentage of shortstops last year with the year he had. But with the burden of expectations and x-contract and x-year commitment means that you should do this statistically. That wasn’t my line, my approach. It was just go play shortstop, play the heck out of it. Bring what you bring and we’ll count on that.”

That philosophy is paying dividends. Not only is Lindor one of the top shortstops in the game, but he’s a leader on the second-best team in Major League Baseball.

“Francisco has been the rock,” Showalter continued. “He’s the same personality. I’ve talked about this about Pete [Alonso]… I never have to ask what kind of mood Francisco is in. Once he walks through those doors, it’s about the Mets and it’s about playing shortstop for us and doing what he needs to do. It’s a heck of a responsibility that he’s taken on. He took a lot of pride in that.”

For more on the Mets and Francisco Lindor, visit AMNY.com