I'm sorry. I'm so so sorry for what I'm about to make you remember. After Prince Fielder left but before Adam Lind was brought in the Brewers first base situation was the laughing stock of baseball. Names like Alex Gonzalez, Juan Francisco, and even Yuniesky Betancourt and more all saw significant playing time at first base. Adam Lind had a nice season in Milwaukee this year but it felt all the better to see after the nightmare fuel that plagued us for too many years.
When the Brewers traded Marco Estrada to the Blue Jays for Lind it felt a bit underwhelming. Lind was half first baseman and half DH. He had chronic back issues and a broken foot. But at the same time it didn't feel like the Brewers gave up much to get him. I had hope that a platoon that hid him from left handed pitching would allow him to manage his back issue and keep him productive. That's not exactly what the Brewers did but he produced nonetheless.
To my surprise the Brewers used him as a full time starter giving him 104 plate appearances vs lefties--the most he's seen since 2011. Of course that didn't mean he was deserving of playing time vs same handed pitching. He hit 221/277/298 with 0 home runs against LHP. That's a 54 wRC+ or 46% worse than league average. The story is very different when looking at his production vs RHP.
He was his usual productive self against opposite handed pitching. In 460 plate appearances vs RHP he hit 291/380/503. All of his 20 home runs came against right handed pitching. He had a 130 wRC+ which is 30% better than league average. He's still probably best used in a platoon but that's strong production anyway you look at it.
One of the encouraging things about his full time usage is that his body held up. He did have to sit a couple of times because his back was acting up but he still played a full season. He played in 149 games this year. That's the most since 2010 and the third highest mark of his career. It helps his trade value and his bargaining position when he hits free agency after 2016 that he showed he can play a full season in the field.
Speaking of playing the field Lind surprised in that capacity as well. I didn't expect Adam Lind to be a liability in the field but I didn't think he'd be a very good defender either. Not only was he not bad he was a positive defender. He had a +5 DRS which is right between the average and above average statistically speaking. In context of other first baseman he tied with Mark Texiera for 5th best among qualified first baseman.
Overall Lind was worth 2.2 fWAR which is right around average. I think "average" has a negative connotation among a lot baseball fans and it really shouldn't. Average is pretty darn good. There are less than 30 people in the entire world that are good enough to play first base full time. That 2.2 fWAR puts Lind 14th--out of 20--on that list. You might not go too far with a team full of "average" players but don't ever let anyone tell you "average" is bad.
That "average" production sure looked a lot shinier after the prior few years of negative production from first base. It took a surplus and largely superfluous pitcher to get that production which is nice. Even better is the Brewers control Lind for another year. Whether that means he'll return or be traded is yet to be determined. If that does come to pass though I know I'll always look back fondly on the season he gave us.
Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs