MINNEAPOLIS — Francisco Lindor had back-to-back seasons during his tenure at Cleveland in which he topped 30 home runs and 20 stolen bases, but said he only knew about the missed opportunity after the fact. .
Thirty steals in one of those seasons would have put him in baseball’s elite 30/30 club alongside some of his idols.
“I wasn’t aware of it,” Lindor said. “I never really played for numbers, so I really wasn’t aware of that.”
This season is different, with the Mets shortstop now regularly fielding questions from reporters about his 30/30 chances.
He’s set to join the club, with 26 home runs and 26 stolen bases as the Mets open a three-game Friday series against the Twins.
David Wright, Howard Johnson and Darryl Strawberry are the only Mets players in the 30/30 club.
Johnson has accomplished the feat three times.
Lindor noted that Carlos Beltran, Jimmy Rollins and Barry Larkin — all of whom were some of his favorite players growing up — belong to the 30/30 club.
Ronald Acuna Jr. — a strong National League MVP contender — has already reached 30/30 with the Braves this season.
Although rule changes implemented this season (primarily limiting the number of times a pitcher can throw to first base during an at-bat) have improved the success rate of stolen bases in the major leagues, Lindor said that he didn’t know how much it had affected him.
“It’s similar to numbers I’ve gotten before, so it’s not like I’m going crazy,” Lindor said. “I’m not like, ‘They pitched twice (at the first) and I have to go.’ It’s one of those where I pick my moments and where (first base coach) Wayne Kirby tells me it’s a good time to go out there, run. But does it help? Probably. It helps that they don’t throw to the first seven times in a row.
Pete Alonso noted that Lindor has made 30 doubles this season, which has allowed him to hit even rarer airs.
“If you can get 30/30/30…and he’s definitely on his way to having another 100 RBI season,” Alonso said. “Whatever the position, it’s been a great year. And for a shortstop, that’s extremely great. It’s extremely crazy because there aren’t many types of players who have that ability and do it consistently, and he’s one of those guys. It has been a great year for him. It was absolutely like nails.
Lindor set career highs for homers (38) and stolen bases (25) with Cleveland in 2018.
The following year, he homered 32 and stole 22 bases.
A pandemic-shortened season followed, and Lindor’s first year with the Mets included a stint on the disabled list with a strained oblique that cost him a month.
Lindor hit 26 homers and stole 16 bases last season.
When asked if this was his best season with the Mets, Lindor said he would wait until the schedule was over to assess.
Overall, he owns a .251/.332/.466 slant line with 83 RBIs.
Last season he slashed .270/.339/.449 with 26 home runs, 107 RBIs and 16 stolen bases.
In June last season, he fractured his middle finger when he got stuck in a sliding door, and while Lindor didn’t miss out on meaningful action, his power was gone for a while.
“This year is almost a very similar year to last year, I just have more RBIs at this point,” Lindor said. “These are very similar years. Even in 21, it was a similar year, I just got injured during that month. If I had played, I would probably end up with 25 home runs and 80 RBIs. My batting average suffered in 2021, and this year (is) similar. Last year I was a little more consistent with batting average.