Ht: 6’0″ Wt: 200 Level: Short Season A – Brooklyn Cyclones
B/T: R/R Age: 1/15/1997 (19) Age Dif: -2.1
Acquired: Selected in the second round (53 overall) of the Amateur Draft (Out-of-Door Academy, Sarasota, Fl.)
Last year: #7
2016 Statistics: 37 G, 122 AB, 21 R, 37 H, 6 2B, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 26 BB, 31 K, 3 SB, .303/.433 /.451
In 2015, the Mets used their first pick of the draft (2nd round, number 53 overall) on high school corner infielder Desmond Lindsay. This was the fourth time in five years that the Mets selected a high school long-term project with their first pick of the draft, and with good reason.
Lindsay has a desirable combination of plus speed, plus raw power, and a plus arm. He was tabbed as “an offensive machine” by Mets director of amateur scouting Tommy Tanous upon being drafted. Early projections had Lindsay being picked in the 1st round, but a hamstring injury his senior season limited his production and exposure. When he was still available to the Mets in the 2nd round, they were ecstatic to have the opportunity to draft a 1st round talent, after having lost their 1st round pick as a result of the Michael Cuddyer signing.
While Lindsay played primarily first and third base during his high school career, he was projected as a future five tool outfielder, and has been positioned as a center fielder since entering the Mets minor league system. While self admittedly he is still learning the intricacies of the position, his combination of plus speed, plus arm, and natural baseball instincts have most seeing him as a plus to elite defender once fully developed (this bodes well for the Mets due to a thin farm system at the CF position).
Over the course of two seasons in the Mets minor league system, Lindsay has unfortunately battled multiple injuries that have limited him to just 72 career games and only 236 total at-bats. In 2016, after battling some early season hamstring and calf issues, Lindsay hit the ground running while playing center field for the Brooklyn Cyclones. In 32 games and over 111 at-bats, the 19-year old put up a .297/.418/.450 slash line, while slugging four homers, five doubles and driving in 17 runs He also showed a keen eye at the plate, drawing 20 base on balls.
The apex of his 2016 season came on August 12, when Lindsay tied a Cyclones single game RBI record by driving in seven runs while going 3 for 5 with a three-run homer. This was an extremely important game for Lindsay on a personal level, as he was in the lineup for the first time with one of his childhood hero’s, Jose Reyes (Lindsay’s Grandmother hails from Connecticut and is a huge Mets fan, so Lindsay grew up a Mets fan as well).
Lindsay has a very high ceiling and tons of potential, arguably the highest among Mets position prospects not named Amed Rosario. His up the middle line drive approach at the plate, quick inside hands, and natural power (which he generates from his very fast and explosive hip rotation) have some projecting him as a future Adam Jones.
Though he has not shown base stealing prowess as of yet (primarily in an attempt to keep his legs healthy), down the line he projects as a 20+ stolen base threat at the Major League level. While injuries have kept him from quickly moving through the system to this point, we could see that trend change this year if Lindsay is able to shake the injury bug.
Lindsay’s natural abilities and cerebral approach to the game, combined with his work ethic and a willingness to learn, have him pegged for a Major League ETA of some time between the 2019/2020.
Lindsay is the most promising Mets outfield prospect to come along in a very long time. This is a not an un-humble Lastings Milledge, or a raw unpolished kid who didn’t have high school baseball in his home state like Brandon Nimmo. This is a young player who went to private schools that developed and groomed him for one purpose, to be a Major League baseball player. With a little luck and patience, it’s the Mets who are poised to be the beneficiary of this young players potential coming to fruition.
Mike M adds:
The strength is one thing that stands out for me and Lindsay, he’s an impressive physical specimen. It’s not everyday you see a 19-year old center fielder that has a five tool potential skill set like that of Lindsay. He still has some things to work on in center field, but with his natural skills, his defense there should be a plus tool in the future.
Lindsay played the entire 2016 season as a 19-year old, making his .868 OPS in the New York-Penn League pretty impressive given that the average age of pitchers in the league was 21.4 and the average OPS was .655.
Due to his minimal exposure to minor league pitching up to this point, he is most likely ticketed for the Mets A-ball affiliate the Columbia Fireflies to start the season. Barring any further health issues, don’t expect that to last past the mid-season point, as his skill level should easily outshine the competition of the South Atlantic League.