The Cleveland Indians (35-29) received another great performance from a starting pitcher (Josh Tomlin with 7 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 0 BB, 5 SO), yet ultimately fell to the Kansas City Royals (34-30), 3-2. Reliever Bryan Shaw continued his horrific week of failure (2 IP, 4 R, 6 H, 2 HR, 2 BB, 2 SO) by giving up the game-winning two-run home run to Salvador Perez in the eighth inning. The Tribe's offense is now 1-for-16 in this series with RISP as the offense flailed despite a 5-for-11 mark (plus three walks) from the top three hitters in the lineup. The Indians now must rely on Corey Kluber outdueling Ian Kennedy on Wednesday to remain alone atop the AL Central Division.
One of the players who thrived despite the loss on Tuesday was Francisco Lindor (3-for-4 including a double). Flag Day will forever be the day paired with the anniversary of Lindor's arrival to MLB as he was brought up on June 14, 2015. Since that day, Lindor has quickly evolved into the team's best player whose attributes on defense, at the plate, and away from the field have all somehow exceeded the lofty expectations attached to the eighth overall pick from the 2011 MLB Amatuer Draft.1
Do not tweet or write about Francisco Lindor being #ASGWORTHY. It is a complete joke that Truffles is not in the Top 5 of the AL shortstop voting no matter how stacked the position happens to be this year. Lindor is second to Bogaerts in both bWAR and fWAR and out-paces both Correa and Andrus (next closest on list above) by almost two full wins.
When the players and managers inject their thoughts into the process, Lindor should make the bench (behind Bogaerts). But, any thought that he isn't #ASGWORTHY is ridiculous and should be treated as such.
So, there is no reason to campaign for Lindor to make the 2016 MLB All-Star game. If somehow he is snubbed, then we'll keep one of the best players in MLB to ourselves. No worries.
AL MVP Race
The more interesting vote will come at the end of the season. While it is still early in the season, Lindor is the best player on a first-place team with a slash of .308/.364/.453 (113 OPS+,122 wRC+), and makes web gem quality highlights on defense nearly every single game.
In fact, his defense is so good that the entire starting pitching staff has adjusted their approach to induce more ground balls. Sure, the infield defense on the whole contributes and there might be higher analytical studies at play too. But, the most obvious reason to induce more ground balls is Lindor elevating the infield defense over the past calendar year.