The Revenge Of Adam Lind?

By Thom Tsang

Here’s the thing: Adam Lind has been hitting like a star since being recalled to the Toronto Blue Jays about a month ago, posting  .319/.372/.569 triple slash with 5 homers in 72 at-bats. Even though it’s a small sample size, that’s pretty good. One might even say it’s Adam Lind circa-2009  good. So, is he fixed after a short stint in AAA, and what can the Blue Jays expect out of him moving forward?

It’s difficult to ignore 1000+ ABs accumulated over the last 2 seasons when it comes to Lind, who was easily one of the worst MLB starters during that stretch, so I’m probably not going too far out of the blue here by being skeptical of what Lind has done in his return thus far as being something sustainable. Unfortunately, the peripherals for Lind don’t bode too well for his redemption story this season either. For one, he’s not exactly seeing the ball any better – Lind’s 0.29 BB/K is as poor as it was when he hit rock-bottom in May (worse, in fact), and about the same as his 2010-2011 season.

As for the batted balls, there isn’t a significant change in what Lind has done this month. He’s hitting homers, but what’s falling between those is that he’s actually hitting more ground balls than ever, with a 2.70 GB/FB ratio in July, with a 15.9% lind drive% that’s about in line with his 2012 number (16.7%), and below his 2010-2011 seasons. The main difference seems to be this: even though Lind is still mostly just hacking when he gets to the plate, and he’s hitting fewer fly balls than ever, those fly balls are turning into homers. They’ve been doing so at a 30% clip, which is unsustainable even for the best of hitters, and suggests that the power numbers are likely to come down. Ditto the .390 BABIP in July, which is significantly higher than Lind’s .292 career average.

It’s hard not to write a lot of what Lind has done off as luck, because there just hasn’t been much of a change in his batted ball profile. You might recall that we’ve seen a streak or two like this from Lind before over the last couple of seasons – and we all know where those seasons have ended up as well. Has Adam Lind been fixed? The counting numbers say yes for now, but the under-the-hood numbers suggest a different story. Simply put, this is the same Adam Lind we’ve seem over the last 2+ seasons, and the baseball gods are just a little kinder to him right now. This isn’t to say that Lind will be as bad as he was when he was demoted, but I’m not expecting him to be much better than than he’s been the last 2+ seasons either. The streak will be fun to watch as long as that keeps up; the rest? Probably not so much.

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