In 2009, Adam Lind led a Blue Jays offense that finished eighth in the majors in runs scored. His .394 wOBA topped the team by a significant margin, and his .257 ISO was unrivaled by any player with more than 150 PA (sorry, Randy Ruiz). It stood to reason that Lind, a highly touted prospect whom the Blue Jays brought along slowly, had experienced a breakout year and would continue to lead the team’s offense through its rebuilding years. Yet in 2010 we saw a completely different Lind. It has led to many questions about him heading into 2011. But looking at how his season unfolded, it appears as though he could be in for another high-powered 2011 campaign.
There is no way to spin Lind’s 2010 into something positive. His walks were down, his strikeouts were up, his power dropped considerably, and he finished with an OBP below .300. His numbers against righties, while decent, were down considerably from his 2009 levels, and he was absolutely abysmal against left-handed pitching — his .156 wOBA was the worst in the league vs. lefties by 50 points. But if you’re looking at his splits, you might notice an encouraging sign.
Lind’s poor performances seem to be concentrated in two months, May and June. His BABIP, .361 in April and around .300 later in the season, was around .200 in those two months. His power was basically non-existent, as he had a .138 ISO in May and .078 in June. But after that he took off. From July forward he had a .241 ISO, which was close to his .257 mark from 2009. He also brought his strikeout rate down a bit, and walked just a bit more. These are all obviously encouraging signs.
It’s tough to take a half-season’s worth of data and declare that it demonstrates improvement. But given what we know about Lind from a scouting standpoint, and what we’ve seen him do, at least in 2009, I have a bit more faith that his second half resurgence does have merit. His batted ball profile also looks considerably better.
He pulled the ball with much more authority in the second half, much in the way he did during the 2009 season. It appears that he went the opposite way more in the first half, but got away from that in the second half. That’s a bit odd, since he had a .327 ISO when hitting to the opposite field in 2010, after displaying even more opposite-field power in 2010. I’m not sure what to make it of it, but it does signal some kind of change, whether deliberate or not.
The projection systems disagree with this assessment. Here is Lind’s triple slash from the prominent projection engines:
Bill James: .281/.338/.497 Marcel: .268/.324/.464 Fans: .278/.334/.487 ZiPS: .269/.321/.471 CAIRO: .257/.314/.456 PECOTA: .264/.317/.468
Only Bill James gives him a chance of approximating his breakout season. And even if we weigh his second-half performance more heavily, he still hit just .272/.312/.513. But given what we know about Lind’s potential, what we’ve seen from him, and his second half recovery, I think that we’ll see Lind beat his projections in 2011, perhaps by a considerably margin. Everyone has down years. It’s just a shame that Lind’s came right after his breakout.
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