3, Desmond Lindsay, CF
Height: 5’11”, Weight: 200 lbs.
DOB: 1/15/97 (20)
Acquired: 2nd round, 2015 Draft (Out-Of-Door Academy, Florida)
2017: 65 G, 251 PA, .220/.327/.388, 10 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 4/6 SB, 33 BB, 77 K
When the Mets signed Michael Cuddyer to a two-year, $21 million contact in November 2014, they did so knowing they would be sacrificing their first-round draft pick in the 2015 MLB Draft. While they missed out on the cream of the crop, Tommy Tanous made the most of their second-round draft pick, selecting Desmond Lindsay, a raw but potentially five-tool outfielder from Florida who likely would have been selected much earlier in the draft if his senior high school season hadn’t been plagued by hamstring issues.
In the three seasons Lindsay has been in the system, he has shown tantalizing flashes of the potential that the Mets’ scouting team saw in him, but has had trouble staying on the field. Thanks to repeated lower body injuries- including what seems like chronic hamstring issues- the 21-year-old only has a total of 137 professional games under his belt. Most recently, he played 65 games with Low-A Columbia before having his season end in late July thanks to ulnar nerve transposition surgery, a procedure done to alleviate numbness in the hand and/or fingers.
Though he is only listed at 5’11”, 200 lbs., “physical specimen” is one of the most common phrases used to describe Linsday- and he certainly looks bigger and stronger, especially in his legs. Thanks to very quick wrists, quick hips, and a short stride and stroke, Lindsay has a very fast swing. His athleticism and bat speed let him generate plus raw power, and burgeoning in-game power, as many of the balls that would have been line drives in past seasons began going out of the park in 2017. Even though his in-game power has increased, the up-the-middle approach he uses and his mostly one-plane swing will probably limit the amount of power that he will be able to manifest during live at-bats. Lindsay also brings with him an advanced eye at the plate, though he has sometimes shown a susceptibility to spin. He runs deep counts, displaying a bit of passivity at the plate, and until the 2017 season, was hard to strike out.
Despite the fact that center field was relatively new to him when the Mets selected him, as he had mostly played first and third base in high school, Lindsay has looked extremely confident in center since day one and has taken to the position like a duck takes to water. He is a plus runner, and that raw speed translates into plus range in the outfield. His instincts and routes have improved since being drafted, and presumably, they will continue to develop as he plays more games going forward. Because of his chronic hamstring problems, there is a chance that his foot speed will eventually deteriorate to the point that he will need to be moved from center. In that case, Lindsay profiles more as a left fielder than a right fielder because his throwing arm is below average and would not be a fit in right.
Greg Karam says:
He still has the best raw ability in the system. This ranking is more based on upside than base case. If it all comes together it’s plus power, plus plate discipline, and average defense in center. An average regular outcome is not an unreasonable projection.
Lukas Vlahos says:
To me, Lindsay will be the most fun prospect in the system to follow in 2018, simply because he’s the only guy with five tool upside. Unfortunately, that tantalizing upside has been hampered by the same leg issues that made Lindsay available in the second round in 2015, and he developed a new penchant for striking out in Single-A. Still, if there’s a single player in the system you have to bet on to become an elite talent, Lindsay’s your guy, even if the probability of that outcome is very low.
Steve Sypa says:
Lindsay is the Mets’ Powerball lotto ticket. If everything goes right, there’s going to be a big payoff in the future. But, just like the odds of hitting the Powerball jackpot are 1:292,201,338, the odds of everything going right for Desmond Lindsay and the Mets, and the young outfielder developing into the average-to-above-average major league center fielder he could be are equally slim. As a famous Corellian once said, “Never tell me the odds.”