Where in the World is Adam Lind’s Hitting Ability?

Pardon the cliche, but we are approaching a make or break season for Adam Lind. During the 2010-11 seasons Lind proved he does not deserve to bat fourth. One more sub .316 wOBA season, and Lind will prove to any rational person, that he shouldn’t even deserve any spot on the lineup card.

You know the story, solid prospect breaks out for a massive 2009 season, only to provide abhorrent hitting from the two positions with the least scarcity for the next two years. Hopefully you are not so blinded by the counting stats (49 HR/149 RBI between 10-11) to realize that Lind has been a black hole of baseball ability for two calender years (a whopping -0.3 WAR over that span).

I hate writing the phrase “make or break season.” It’s overused and generally just a throw away line. But, I’m going to use it here, because seriously, if Adam Lind can’t get it together I might just break my t.v watching the Jays broadcast this summer.

So lets go over all the facts, as I see them:

Image curtesy of wsau.com

Platoon player?

Lefty’s leave Lind’s licks loopy; the guy flat out cannot handle LHP. Period. If I were John Farrell, I’d be platooning Lind right off the hop in 2012.

2011 VS LHP

.243/.275/.364/ wOBA .280

Career:

.223/.266/.349/ wOBA .270

VS RHP

2011:

.253/.303/.468/ wOBA .328

Career:

.283/.334/.508/ wOBA .359

Do you want your clean up hitter against left handed starters sporting a career .270 wOBA?

Blame it on the BABIP-ohal:

No, batting average on balls in play isn’t synonymous with luck, especially for hitters. But there is something to be said for someone who has posted two seasons with BABIP significantlly lower than he career average. So I’m going to say it: chances are Lind’s BABIP will be north of the .265 mark he put up in 2011 and that should help his production a bit. BABIP regression however, will not cure what ails Lind.

2011: .265

2010: .277

2009: .323

Career: .295

Lay off the slider:

Lind struggles against breaking balls, especially sliders from left handers. This is why he faced breaking pitches 34% of the time against LHP (23% sliders) and 25% overall (sliders 14.2%). He’s got to find a way to lay off breaking pitches on the outside of the pate.

Against LHP

Strike: 64.7%

Swing: 51.6%

Whiffed on 22.4%

Against everyone:

Strike: 68.5%

Swing: 56.9%

Whiff: 16.2%

Spray Charts:

Lind was an opposite field hitting machine in 2009. Unfortunately for the Jays, the other-way power dried up during the 2010-11 seasons. That power has still got to be in there somewhere, doesn’t it?

 

2009 season vs everyone

Graphic from Texas Leaguers.com

 

Just take a minute and reminisce about all of those left field bombs Lind hit back in 2009. It was a beautiful thing.

 

2011 vs everyone

Graphic from texasleaguers.com

 

Injury?

Wishful thinking is a powerful thing, and it explains why many Jays fans blame Linds horrible second half in 2011 on injury(s). Is it possible that Lind’s production was hindered by a physical ailment? Yes, but it’s an awfully weak excuse. The guy was clearly healthy enough to be playing for one, and it also doesn’t explain his dreadful performance in 2010.

Projections:

You may recall Bill James offense happy projection for Lind’s 2012 production.

PA 599/.268/.322/.474/ wOBA .341/ 27 HR / 96 RBI

This would be a pretty solid year, not fantastic, but certainly a big step up from 2010-11. Curiously, the projection is almost exactly the mid point between Lind’s great 09 and terrible 2011 season.

Show me the money:

Thanks to cot’s baseball contracts, I am able to list the details of Lind’s salary. As you can see, Lind has a minimum of $12 million dollars left on his deal and as much as $32.5 million headed his way. Thank god for AA’s ability to tack on club options.

2012: $5 million

2013: $5 million

2014: $7 million club option ($2 million buyout)

2015: $7.5 million club option ($1.5 million buyout)

2016: $8 million club option ($500,000 buyout)

 ***

So you can probably tell that I am pessimistic about Lind’s ability to turn it around this season. What can I say, he’s just been that bad for roughly 1150 PA’s. What do you think?

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

-SB

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Topics: Adam Lind, Toronto Blue Jays

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  • yakyeti

    Lind’s best 1.5 season was when Cito used to sit him down next to him and walk him through the game plan in facing pitchers. Cito then stopped it in his final season managing the Jays as he said, “Lind needs to learn to figure out how to do it on his own”. Ever since, Lind has been a disaster with no clue how to approach his at bats. Simply put, if he hasn’t figured it out in 2 seasons, doubt he ever will.

  • Eagles11

    Don’t count Lind out of the equation yet, he will have a solid 2012 season, he will be the same player he was prior to last seasons All Star Break. Lind and Bautista will form a formidable 3-4 punch this year, if AA didn’t have the belief Lind wasn’t going to perform he would have replaced him this offseaon.

  • ace frehley

    Something is missing with Lind and I’m not sure what it is. Somehow, I think 2009 will turn out to be his anomaly year and he’ll end up as a .260 hitter with modest power. Just too many good prospects at the position to keep him here for much longer. It must be the way he squints his eyes…

  • gnor

    Joe Carter in 1993: .254/.312/.489/.802, wOBA >.350 33 home runs. Highest paid player in baseball, All-Star, MVP-12

    Adam Lind in 2011; .251/.295/.439/.734 26 HR ($5 million salary)

    Why is everybody down on Adam Lind?

    Did you not notice that he tore it up last year before he hurt his back?

    Did you not notice that his 2011 slash line against lefties is a marked improvement over his career numbers?

    Did you not take into account the fact that he has been bounced all over the field in his major league career?

    Did you not realize that only in the last 3 seasons has he had over 326 at bats?

    Did you not realize that he spent a lot of last season learning a new position (which he played at a better than average rate)?

    Did you not realize that Lyle Overbay at age 27 put up a -.1 dWAR after 4 years in the majors? Adam Lind was a +.4 in his first year at the position, with only 4 errors (P Fielder made 15)?

    I really don’t understand your pessimism.

  • gnor

    “The guy was clearly healthy enough to be playing for one, and it also doesn’t explain his dreadful performance in 2010.”

    This is just stupid: almost every player will play hurt at some point, and in Lind’s case, a weakened core would certainly slow his bat, limit his ability to stay back on pitches and recognize breaking balls, especially from lefties, who would hide the ball better.

    Prior to 2010, Lind had added a lot of upper body mass in the off season, which limited his mobility getting the bat around. He was able to make adjustments in 2011, and most guys would kill for a 26 HR season. Anyway, I predict that Eric Thames may have the same problems this year.

    Instead of being pessimistic, you can put this down to a learning experience for a very good hitter. Rather than platoon him, they should let him go out and learn how to hit lefties better.

  • scottbarber

    @gnor -Ok, so he may not have been 100% healthy for part of 2011. My point was that the club clearly thought he was healthy enough to perform at the major league level, or he would not have been in the line up.

    -A “marked improvement” to .243/.275/.379 against LHP is not worth noting. It is nowhere near good enough.

    -Joe Carter’s 1993 season, where he put up an OPS of .802 and put up 2.4 fWAR was really not that impressive. All-star appearances and MVP votes for 1993 are not an accurate way to gauge a players performance.

    I want to see Lind do well, I just think that there is a fair bit of evidence that shows that he is not good enough to be an everyday major league player.