T.J. McFarland, SP-AKR: W (2-0), 6 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 4 K, BB.
McFarland has started the season off right, throwing 11 innings while allowing just one run, striking out 6 and walking three. McFarland quietly had a solid season in Akron last year, going 9-9 with a 3.87 ERA in 137 1/3 innings for the Aeros. After the year he was sent to the Arizona Fall League, which is the top offseason league for advanced prospects all around baseball. It's typically a hitter's league, but McFarland was outstanding in the dry desert air, going 3-0 with a 3.18 ERA. He threw 28 1/3 innings in the AFL, striking out 22 and walking 13. McFarland isn't a big strikeout guy, but gets a ton of groundballs with his outstanding sinking fastball and does a nice job pitching to contact. He has excellent control, and when he's commanding his fastball well he keeps it down in the zone and is awfully tough to hit. McFarland is never going to be a dominant ace that anchors a staff, but he can be a solid, innings eater in the middle of a big league rotation. The lefthander is still just 22, and should be in Columbus at some point this season and in Cleveland as early as 2013.
Francisco Lindor, SS-LCC: 3-4, 2B, R
I can't tell you how excited I am about the Francisco Lindor experience. Remember, he's going to be just 18 for the entire 2012 season. A lot of the kids drafted in the upcoming June Rule 4 draft will be older than him. He's getting his first real professional experience in a full-season league that is notoriously tough on hitters. He's facing the best pitching of his life on a nightly basis. And all he's doing is hitting .353/.371/.529 with 3 SB in the first week of the season. Wow. I've been high on Lindor since before he was even drafted, and was extremely excited when the Indians selected him with the 8th overall pick last June. But even I didn't expect him to be this good, this fast. He's going to struggle at some point this season, he's going to hit a rough patch where he goes 0-15 or something like that, but he's already shown enough to have talent evaluators around baseball drooling over his potential. Since his opening day 0-4, Lindor is hitting an even .400 while playing solid defense at the 2nd-hardest defensive position on the field. I still think he spends all of 2012 in the Midwest League and there's really no reason to rush him, but I'm going to run out of superlatives really soon when trying to describe just how good Francisco Lindor is and could eventually be.
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