When the New York Mets traded for Francisco Lindor this offseason they thought they were getting a franchise cornerstone for the next decade. That was emphasized by the 10-year, $341 million contract they handed the shortstop on the eve of the 2021 season. But a month into his time with the franchise Lindor has been terrible -- especially at the plate -- which has prompted many to wonder if the deal was a mistake.
Lindor is currently mired in an 1-for-27 streak at the plate after finally getting a hit on Thursday afternoon. He was one out away from the worst hitless stretch of his career. Through 25 games in New York, he's batting .163, with an on-base percentage of .297 and he's slugging .207. That's an OPS of .504, which is 367 points off his career-best from 2018 (.871). If you're not a stathead, let me just state unequivocally that those numbers are indeed bad.
The 27-year-old four-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger Award winner has two -- count em -- two extra base hits this season (a home run and a double) and a measly three RBIs. One of MLB's best shortstops, Lindor already has two errors this season after only having one in all of 2020.
Worse still, this isn't the case of a guy hammering the ball right at people, or some form of bad luck. Lindor is earning these struggles. Entering Tuesday, just 2.8 percent of his batted balls qualify as "barrels" -- or have the right combination of exit velocity and launch angle off the bat. He ranks in the 40th percentile across baseball for average exit velocity. His groundball rate is far higher than his career levels. His expected batting average ranks in the 32nd percentile while his expecting slugging percentage is in the 19th percentile. And his percentage of batted balls classified as "weak" is 8.3 percent, or double the league average.