14. Desmond Lindsay, CF
Height: 6’, Weight: 200 lbs.
DOB: 1/15/97 (21)
Acquired: 2nd round, 2015 Draft (Out-Of-Door Academy, Florida)
84 G, 294 AB, .218/.310/.320, 64 H, 11 2B, 5 3B, 3 HR, 37 BB, 89 K, 7/14 SB, .300 BABIP (High-A)
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, the organization made the most of their second-round draft pick, selecting Desmond Lindsay, a raw but toolsy outfielder from the Out-Of-Door Academy in Sarasota, Florida who likely would have been selected much earlier in the draft if his senior high school season hadn’t been plagued by a hamstring issue. Lindsay had a commitment to play at the University of North Carolina, but the Mets bought him out of it by offering him a signing bonus at the slot value of $1,142,700, above his cutoff of anything less than one million dollars.
He appeared in 35 games that summer, splitting his time with the GCL Mets and the Brooklyn Cyclones, hitting .304/.400/.464 in 21 games for the former and .200/.308/.267 in 14 games for the latter. He began the 2016 season with Brooklyn, and while he was limited to only 32 games over the summer thanks to hamstring and leg issues, he did hit an impressive .297/.418/.450, ending the season near the top of the leader boards in multiple offensive categories. In 2017, he began the season with the Columbia Fireflies, hitting .220/.327/.388, but had his season end after 65 games due to numbness in his hand and fingers, necessitating ulnar nerve transposition surgery, a procedure done to unpinch the nerve. Lindsay was promoted to the St. Lucie Mets for the 2018 season and while he did play a career-high 84 games, he spent roughly a month on the disabled list thanks to a nagging back and arm injuries and hit a career-worst .218/.310/.320 when he was on the field.
Lindsay is listed at 6’, 200 lbs., but he looks larger and stronger than that, especially in his legs. Lindsay has above-average bat speed thanks to his quick wrists, quick hips, and short stride and stroke, but the mechanics of his swing are still fairly raw. His upper and lower halves often get out of sync and his swing has too much uppercut in it, resulting in a preponderance of swing-and-misses. Getting his upper half and legs to work in unison, and flattening out his swing plane are things he has worked on and should improve his ability to make contact. Despite the swing-and-miss in his swing, Lindsay has an advanced eye at the plate. He is able to run deep counts, foul off pitches, and draw an above-average amount of walks. He shows above-average raw power, but is unlikely to tap into it during in-game situations because he hits far too many groundballs and does not pull the ball enough. Lindsay generally played the corners when in high school, but because of his plus speed and excellent instincts, the Mets believed they could move him up the defensive spectrum, into center. The experiment was a wild success, and Lindsay has shown himself to be an above-average fielder. He has lost a step or two due to the numerous leg injuries he’s suffered from over the years, but has made up for the lost speed with improved routes and refined instincts. Because of what seem like chronic hamstring problems at this point, 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 better as a left fielder than a right fielder because his throwing arm is below average.
Steve Sypa says:
When he was drafted, the sky was the limit for Desmond Lindsay. Years and multiple injuries later, most of the luster has worn off, but it would be a mistake to completely ignore the outfielder. The physical tools are diminished and he is still very raw in his baseball maturation despite having four professional seasons under his belt, but the foundation is still there for Lindsay to develop into a solid player. My expectations are low, but Lindsay still has enough tools and skills to surprise me.
Lukas Vlahos says:
Plenty of us bit hard on Lindsay’s promising blend of tools and athleticism, but he health has continued to sabotage him. Now 21, he’s yet to have more than 360 PA in a season, and he posted a meager 86 wRC+ in St. Lucie. The AFL results were more promising, but the league context and sample size make that largely meaningless. Simply put, Lindsay might’ve missed too much development time or lost too many of his physical skills due to injury at this point. On the other hand, he might just need a fully healthy season to put it all together. Keep your expectations low, but hold onto a sliver of hope that Lindsay can finally breakout.
Kenneth Lavin says:
2018 was another lost year for Desmond Lindsay, who again missed time to injury, and was generally ineffective when on the field. The athletic outfielder hit just .210/.310/.320 in 335 plate appearances for the St. Lucie Mets in 2018. To his credit, Lindsay did perform admirably during a short stint for the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League following the 2018 season, hitting .286/.355/.643 with three home runs in 31 plate appearances. 2019 looks like it may turn out to be a make or break year for Lindsay, who will in all likelihood begin the year in Double-A. Lindsay will be tasked not only with facing upper minors pitching for the first time, but will also have to prove that he can stay healthy enough to let his natural athleticism play in games.