|Image courtesy of Daylife via Reuters Pictures|
At times, he’s looked like one of the elite first baseman in the league. There have also been other times he’s barely been above replacement level.
As the season nears an end, the Blue Jays appear to have an identity crisis with their first baseman. So which is the real Adam Lind?
It’s something I’ve been racking my brain over the past few days. Aside from the obvious drop off in walks and home runs and skyrocketing strikeout rate, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what’s wrong with Adam Lind.
A few weeks ago, it was fairly easy to see that Jose Bautista’s struggles were correlated to him chasing the high fastballs time and again. Adam Lind’s issue on the other hand, is a completely different story.
After scouring through all the Pitch F/X data, there were no red flags alerting me to bad habit that Lind has suddenly developed. If anything, since mid-July he’s actually done a decent job of not swinging at fastballs high in the zone.
The next option was to check out the percentages from his at-bat results over at Texas Leaguers. Now we’re starting to get somewhere; I graphed his at-bat results from April 1st to July 19th, and then from July 20th to August 25th.
Adam Lind At-Bat Results – April 1st to July 19th
Adam Lind At-Bat Results – July 20th to August 25th
One might be concerned with Lind’s increased strikeout rate and lack of singles since July 20th, but those don’t really concern me. What is a little alarming is Adam Lind is grounding out way more and drawing a lot less walks.
During that span from July 20th to August 25th, Lind has drawn a free pass four times; and two of those were intentional, and one was a hit by pitch … which means Adam Lind has drawn one walk in 33 games.
It was frustrating to watch Lind again last night because just when it appears he is on the verge of righting the ship after that two-run home run, he falls back into his old bad habits and strikes out on seven pitches in his final two at-bats.
And all of this is happening while Adam Lind continues to occupy the cleanup spot in the Blue Jays lineup, arguably the most coveted slot on the lineup card. Lind has flourished as well as flounder in the role, and now I think it’s time to get him out of that high leverage batting position until he can sort himself out.
I don’t think a month-long slump like this is putting into question Adam Lind’s future with this team, and yet it certainly has the odd few a little worried about the first base situation … but by no means is Adam Lind is jeopardy of losing his job.
One interesting theory lobbed out there by avid Jays tweeter @coolhead2010 is that Adam Lind is having a tough time picking up the spin on the breaking ball. Which would explain why it appears all of Lind’s strikeouts come on offspeed pitches down and away (otherwise known as Rajai Davis’ mantra).
At this point in the season, there’s no question we’re witnessing Adam Lind at his absolute worst. However, we’ve also seen him at his best earlier in the year. So where exactly does the real Adam Lind lie? Somewhere in between.