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Is Francisco Lindor better than Carlos Correa?

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Carlos Correa has received all the attention this year, but Francisco Lindor is giving him a run for the title of best shortstop in the American League.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

On June 8th, the Astros made the roster move that everyone had been waiting for, promoting their über prospect Carlos Correa. He was an instant sensation, and captivated fans across the league. In 307 plate appearances, all he's done is hit 16 home runs, post an ISO of .236, and gain 2.6 fWAR. At just 20 years old, he's forced himself into the conversation of best shortstops in MLB, as well as one of the best players in the sport.

While he undoubtedly deserved the praise that he's been given, and the comparisons to all-time talents such as Alex Rodriguez, Correa's ascension has inadvertently diverted attention away from Francisco Lindor. The Indians called up their shortstop just six days after the Astros made their move, and the argument can be made that Lindor has been better overall.

2015 PA HR BB% K% ISO wOBA wRC+ fWAR
Francisco Lindor 319 7 5.6% 15.7% .130 .341 118 2.8
Carlos Correa 311 16 9.3% 19.3% .233 .363 132 2.6

Correa is clearly the superior offensive player, as his ISO, wOBA, and wRC+ confirm, but Lindor has the better fWAR, albeit slightly. However since July 2nd, the offensive gap has narrowed.

July 2nd-present PA HR BB% K% ISO wOBA wRC+
Lindor 256 6 5.5% 14.1% .145 .366 136
Correa 214 11 12.1% 18.7% .222 .364 132

Over the last two months, Lindor has overtaken Correa in wOBA and wRC+, while increasing his ISO by 11.5 percent. He's also reduced his strikeout rate by 10.2 percent, without his walk rate suffering. Lindor has clearly been a fantastic hitter in his brief MLB career, and defensively, he's been even better. In just 628.1 innings, he's posted a UZR/150 of 15.9, and a Def rating of 8.8.

Player Innings DRS RZR OOZ UZR/150 Def
Adeiny Hechavarria 1120.1 10 .833 55 15.9 19.9
Andrelton Simmons 1051.1 17 .808 43 13.1 16.2
Nick Ahmed 947.0 19 .818 60 16.2 15.4
Alcides Escobar 1082.2 2 .810 55 11.7 15.4
Brandon Crawford 1043.1 21 .807 72 10.3 13.9
J.J. Hardy 806.2 4 .785 59 16.4 13.8
Didi Gregorius 1085.0 3 .777 98 4.9 9.2
Francisco Lindor 628.1 6 .793 45 14.6 8.8
Jose Iglesias 1019.1 -3 .779 42 4.3 8.6
Xander Bogaerts 1121.1 1 .779 73 3.3 8.4

Despite a huge difference in innings played, Lindor ranks among the best shortstops in baseball. His DRS ranks 6th, his OOZ 23rd (an impressive feat considering the leader has 456 more innings at SS than Lindor), and his UZR/150 6th. He's clearly a fantastic defensive player, which is ultimately the deciding factor for why Lindor's fWAR is greater than Correa's, who has a Def of just 1.3.

While Lindor hasn't yet had a full season at the big-league level, the early returns have been great, and it seems that Cleveland has found their long-term shortstop. In time, Lindor might even be able to supplant Omar Vizquel as the greatest Indians player to occupy that position.

At Vizquel's peak with Cleveland, his best Def rating was 21.5, while his average was 8.64. Lindor has already eclipsed the latter figure, and seemingly has more value as a hitter. Vizquel's best offensive season came in 1999, when he posted a wOBA of .372, a wRC+ of 115, and an Off rating of 18.0. However, Vizquel posted those numbers in his 11th season in the majors, and didn't come close to replicating Lindor's value in the 10 seasons prior to that.

Lindor doesn't get the attention that Correa, Kris Bryant, or Miguel Sano receive, but he's more than deserving of it. He's thrust himself into the conversation for AL Rookie of the Year, and is without question one of the many young superstars that will usher in MLB's next era of great players.