Editor's note: Tom Dakers of Blue Bird Banter was kind enough to provide us a report on Adam Lind's career to-date and what might be expected moving forward. Thanks to Tom for taking the time to do this!
I'll quickly admit Adam Lind is one of my favorite players, you are getting a good guy. I knew he was going to be traded, I was hoping for a better return.
Lind came up as a slugging left-fielder. His best season was 2009, his first full season in the majors, he hit 35 home runs, drove in 114 and hit .305/.370/.562. That season, unfortunately, set him up for unrealistic expectations in the minds of Blue Jays fans. For the next 4 years he was your basic low average slugger, just barely hitting well enough to keep his bat in the lineup.
Sometimes, he didn't even hit that well, in 2012 he was outrighted to Triple-A, he cleared waivers and spent almost 2 months trying to find his swing in Las Vegas.
Things changed for Adam in 2013, not so much because of anything Lind did, but because we finally found a manager that understood that Adam needs to be platooned. Lind is a lefty batter that should never be asked to hit against left-handed pitching. He's always hit right-handers very well, lefties he hits like you or I would hit major league southpaws (well, I guess I shouldn't insult you, Lind hits lefties like I would, you'd likely put him to shame against them). If your manager is smart enough to sit him against lefties, you'll love Lind.
This past season, the power seemed to leave Adam. He hit just 6 home runs, in past seasons he would have a hot streak where he'd hit 6 in a week or so. Other than home runs, he had a great season, hitting .321/.381/.479, but I always expect power out of Lind. There are a couple of explanations for the outage. Then new, now former, Blue Jay hitting coach Kevin Seitzer stressed going up the middle and going the other way with the pitch. Adam was always good at going the other way with a pitch, but, in past years, he would choose the odd pitch to turn on and hit deep over the right field wall. This year that didn't seem to happen. Maybe, with the new instruction, Adam stopped looking for that pitch.
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Or, for the second year in a row, Adam had back troubles for a good part of the season, maybe that sapped his strength and made it harder for him to pull a ball.
Defensively? Lind came up as an immobile outfielder. If he could get to a ball, he would catch it, but you had to place it within arm's reach for him to get to it. They quickly decided he would better serve the team as DH, and worked to teach him how to play first.
When they first started with him at the position, he was pretty much the most uncomfortable looking first baseman you'll ever see. He was terrible. Years of work with the Jays infield instructors and his defense has improved all the way to bad. With his lack of mobility, and his continuous back troubles, I wouldn't expect it to get much better.
On the whole, I wouldn't expect him to put up the .369 BABIP number from last year again, but you should see some bounce back with the power numbers. The back troubles are a continuing worry. I very much doubt he can play 150 games at first base, but he should be rested against LHP anyway.
Adam is one of my favorite players. He is a great interview, he always speaks his mind, he doesn't just give the rehearsed pat answers. He'll be honest. He has one of the prettiest swings you are ever going to see. Used right, he's a very valuable player.
On the negative side, he can't hit lefties and shouldn't be asked to try. You'll need a platoon bat and maybe a defensive replacement for the guy. Conditioning, or lack thereof, will always be an issue. He's likely to miss games (if not weeks) with back issues, especially if asked to play first every day.
Oh, and he has the ugliest beard in the MLB.