Oops, Adam Lind did it again.
If we didn’t already know better, you might even say that the Toronto Blue Jays first baseman/DH is arguably one of the baseball’s greatest trolls, doing his yearly song and dance to the bluebirds fan base in the way that only a master jokester knows know — totally unintentionally.
That’s where the 29-year-old truly transcends being just a frustrating player: he really tries not to do it. In the Toronto veteran actually making an effort to be a good player, he’s found the perfect approach to providing hope to franchise, only to take it away.
But wait, isn’t he still the owner of a solid .303 /.361/.510 triple-slash with 11 home runs? What’s so wrong about that?
While it is true that his current .871 OPS is the best that he’s posted since his breakout season in 2009 (the one that the Blue Jays can’t forget, apparently), the more important thing to note is that only less than a month ago, it was standing at .967.
You know where this is going by now — after a two-month long run as one of the best hitters not just on the Blue Jays, but in the game in general, Lind has effectively fallen off the face of the earth.
Okay, so maybe that’s not totally true given that he did launch seven homers in June and driving in a total of 22 runs, but fireworks from the abyss are still launched from there, and his counting/power numbers seems to have done their job of masking the first baseman’s struggles.
What warning signs? Well, about how about walk rate, for example, which plummeted from 20.7 percent in April all the way to a laughable 2.9 percent in June (despite his .982 OPS thanks to his power). That, as you might have guessed, was accompanied by a season-high 22.9 percent strikeout rate as Lind became more swing happy, lured by the siren song of the home runs.
That diminishing plate discipline is now in a full-on downward spiral, as he is walking at a 3.4 percent rate while striking out a whopping 37.9 percent through 29 PA in July heading into play on Thursday.
Yes, you are reading that correctly: Lind owns a .0.09 BB/K thus far this month.
For what it’s worth, his 1-for-4 performance with a strikeout in today’s loss vs. the Cleveland Indians won’t help things much either. Headed into the game, the slugger was batting a miserable .107/.138/.214 over his last seven days, and it’s not like like .599 OPS over the last 14 days suggests that this is a short slump, either.
Still not convinced? How about a .247/.260/.473 line over the last 30 days, which would have been totally masked by his OPS for the month of June?
Lind’s 1.1 fWAR still makes him one of the most valuable member of the Blue Jays right now, but given past precedent and the slide he’s on, it’s rapidly diminishing value, and the Blue Jays will have to find some way to maximize it (back to the platoon, please) before the perennial disappointment has yet another lost season to his name.