It goes without saying that Adam Lind entered the 2013 season with a lot of question marks. After three consecutive seasons, he had dug himself quite the hole with the Toronto Blue Jays and his role with the team was undetermined at best. He was struggling to hit lefties and he was struggling to get on base consistently, two things that weigh heavily on a man who is primarily a full-time designated hitter.
However, something started to click for Lind in Spring Training last season, something that carried over into the 2013 regular season. After going 6 for 18 in the spring against lefties, John Gibbons started to pencil him in a bit more often against southpaws in the regular season. And while the solid split against left-handed pitching failed to carry over into the regular season, Lind used the regular at-bats to keep himself fresh and re-established himself in the Blue Jays line-up.
When all was said and done, Adam Lind finished with a .288/.357/.497 slash-line, all four-year highs and all welcome signs from a player in flux. That lead to the Lind’s name being mentioned throughout the winter in possible trades, most notably with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but nothing came to fruition.
Now as the regular season approaches again in two weeks time, Adam Lind is still a Blue Jays and is again swinging a hot bat. In 25 spring plate appearances, Lind is slashing .391/.440/.739 with 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 walks, and 5 strike-outs. He’s also continuing his spring magic against lefties as well, admittedly in a decidedly small sample size of just 6 plate appearances, going 3 for 6 against same-side pitching where all three hits have been doubles.
And just to quell some of the naysayers who may indicate that Lind is facing spring quality pitchers, Baseball-Reference’s Opponent Quality Index rating for Lind’s at-bats grades out at 9.2 out of 10.
Still, these results do carry the caveat of having been achieved in just 25 plate appearances, a tremendously small sample size compared to the 500+ at-bats that Lind will see during the regular season. However, spring is about rebuilding confidence, something that Adam Lind used a season ago to propel him to a bounce-back year at the plate.
With the first of two club-options on the table at the end of the 2014 season, Lind will want to show that 2013 was more than just a bounce-back year, it was a building block. Those options are relatively inexpensive at $7.5 million and $8.0 million respectively in 2015 and 2016, especially compared to the cost of hitting on the open market. A strong year by Lind at the plate again in 2014 will be a boon for Toronto, who could pick-up the first option and either keep him to fill their own needs in the line-up or use him again as trade bait next winter, knowing they’ll have holes to plug in the outfield.
Either way, 2014 could be a big year for Adam Lind, and if spring is any indicator, he’s off to a good start.