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Francisco Lindor is the Mets’ biggest star in 2023

One of the faces of the franchise, Lindor will look to have another MVP-type season in 2023.

Cincinnati Reds v New York Mets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

When the Mets traded for and extended Francisco Lindor ahead of the 2021 season, it was a franchise altering transaction. With newly minted owner Steve Cohen at the helm, Lindor was the first piece of the puzzle to a new era in Mets baseball. With sky high expectations set for that season, Lindor struggled to get acclimated to a new city and team, while dealing with a major injury for the first time in his career. All these factors led to Lindor’s worst season of his big league career and left him with something to prove in Flushing come 2022.

He did that and more last season, producing a typical Francisco Lindor season fans had become accustom to from his time in Cleveland. Lindor played in 161 games, leading to a top-10 finish in the MVP voting, all while posting a 6.8 fWAR, the second highest mark of his career. Lindor also hit 26 homers, with a wRC+ of 127, also the second highest of his career, just shy of the 132 he posted in 2018. Lindor also provided the Mets with his all-around superb defense, making him an invaluable piece of the Mets.

At the beginning of spring training, it was revealed Lindor played throughout the season with abdominal discomfort, which resulted in an appendectomy days after the Wild Card series loss to the Padres. This discomfort, combined with a slump-ridden June—due to playing with a fractured finger—may have lessened Lindor’s 2022 numbers slightly. It’s possible without these two injuries, his season would have been even stronger, putting him at the forefront of the MVP conversation.

Overall, his 2022 campaign helped push the Mets to a 101-win season, all while re-establishing himself as the best all-around shortstop in baseball. Going into 2023, Lindor is set up to have another monster year as one of the biggest bats in the Mets’ lineup alongside Pete Alonso. Fangraphs’ ZiPS projects Lindor to have a very Lindor-like season, posting marks of .255/.328/.440 with a 121 wRC+ and 5.9 fWAR while hitting 25 home runs.

If Lindor is able to produce these numbers, or better, while continuing to play Gold Glove caliber defense and leading the Mets to the playoffs, he should represent the Mets in the All-Star game, and get serious MVP consideration.

After a strong showing in March for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, as well in the final weeks of spring training, it appears Lindor is locked in for Opening Day. Playing his third season in New York in the prime of his career in his age-29 season, Lindor has a chance to have the best season of his career. If he does, good things are almost certain to follow for the Mets as they continue to chase a World Series championship.