4. Desmond Lindsay, CF
Height: 6’ Weight: 200 lbs.
DOB: 1/15/1997 (19)
Acquired: 2nd round, 2015 Draft (Out-Of-Door Academy, Florida)
2016: GCL Mets (Rookie): 5 G, 16 PA, .364/.563/.455, 0 HR, 0/0 SB, 31.3 strikeout rate, 31.3 walk rate / Brooklyn (Short-A): 32 G, 134 PA, .297/.418/.450, 4 HR, 3/4 SB, 19.4 strikeout rate, 14.9 walk rate
The Mets believed they were getting a bargain when they drafted Desmond Lindsay with their first selection in the 2015 draft, and the young outfielder has so far justified his selection at 53rd overall. One of the youngest players in the New York-Penn League, Lindsay had no trouble handling competition years older than himself, ending the season near the top of the leader boards in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging. If he hadn’t been physically ailing from a handful of lower body injuries—a concern in his profile, given that this is the third consecutive year the young outfielder has had problems with his hamstring—he might have performed at an even higher level.
Lindsay is a physical specimen, looking much bigger and stronger than his listed 6’, 200-pound frame, especially in his lower body and legs. Lindsay has a very fast swing, thanks to his quick wrists, quick hips, virtually nonexistent stride, and short stroke. The swing is built for more contact than power, but by adjusting his hand placement, adding more uppercut to his swing path, and utilizing more of a stride during the weight transfer phase of his swing, the young outfielder will be able to add more power to his swing. He has shown the necessary athleticism to stay in center field, but because the position is still new to him, his instincts are raw and his routes to the ball need to be better refined. In the limited time he has spent in center, Lindsay has relied on force rather than finesse, utilizing his plus speed to get to balls. If for whatever reason he cannot stay in center, he will most likely be relegated to left field because of a below average arm for right.
I am excited about Desmond Lindsay. He has the tool set to become an impact player at the major league level, and he looks the part, too. He has a good eye at the plate and a fast, short swing that will serve him well as he moves into full season ball. If he can get his legs healthy and show us he can play some center field, I think Lindsay has the potential to be a top 50 prospect in baseball heading into 2018.
Lindsay has my favorite combination of tools in this system after Amed Rosario. His advanced hit tool and growing power make him a threat at the plate, while his plus speed makes him a threat on the basepaths and gives him a chance in center if he can stay healthy. There’s the rub, of course, because Lindsay has been almost constantly injured since being drafted. If his health fortunes reverse, look for him to shoot up lists next season.
There’s so much to like about Des Lindsay, but there’s also so much that can go wrong. I’m more bullish than bearish on his future, given that he has more than handled himself despite playing compromised. His ability to learn and stick in center field will be important to his value in the future, but even if he does not develop into that kind of player, his profile will bring value, with his combination of hitting for average, hitting for power, and speed.