Toronto Blue Jays’ 2014 Wildcard: Adam Lind
Adam Lind‘s eight-year career in a Toronto Blue Jays‘ uniform has been that of a remarkably dubious nature. Although, going from playing the role of one-time hero to franchise-scapegoat with fans calling for your head is just your average day at the office in the the city of Toronto’s sports scene.
First came the anticipation of a top-notch prospect, one who breezed through the minor leagues, renowned for his professional approach, strike-zone recognition and savvy swing.
Soon after his feet were wet and all dues paid in full, came his 2009 breakout. A season that saw the left-handed sweet-swinger finish 15th in MVP voting, putting up a final stat line of a .309 BA, 35 HR, 114 RBI and 93 Runs, while topping it off with a monstrous .932 OPS as icing on the cake.
After that performance was a free-fall of epic proportions. Lind became so lost in the batter’s box, it even resulted in a 2012 demotion to Double-AA. Once on pace to be a perennial slugger and an organizational backbone, the left fielder turned first baseman was relegated to potential afterthought.
After Lind’s banishment to the minors, he came back with a vengeance, showing he still had what it takes, clubbing his way to a .296 BA and launching eight home runs in his final 203 at-bats of 2012. The Lind of the past was on the horizon.
Enter the mixed bag of 2013: that’s exactly what last season’s highs and lows displayed. Lind hadn’t sniffed a batting average over .255 or an .OPS higher than .734 since his glorious 2009 run. In just 465 at-bats, a triple-slash of .288/.357/.497 and .854 OPS had Lind eyeing the comeback trail.
However, there is a reason his at-bats were kept at bay. Lind suffers from the affliction many left-handed batters battle through, known as the southpaw-syndrome. He simply cannot hit lefties. Let’s take a look at his split’s over the last two seasons:
2012 vs. Lefties: .202 BA/.303 Slug% - 2012 vs. Righties: .276 BA/.457 Slug%
2013 vs. Lefties: .208 BA/.333 Slug% - 2013 vs. Righties: .309 BA/.539 Slug%
You can’t disguise your flaws for long, and major league pitching adjusted accordingly, making it a no-brainer for the Jays to have Lind ride the pine when a dreaded southpaw takes the hill.
One of the many wildcards the Blue Jays deck is stacked with entering the 2014 season and beyond. Is Lind ever going to recapture his MVP-esque prominence? Bet the under. Can he reinvent himself and build on his 2013 resurgence? Put me down for the over. His track record suggests possible sustainability.
Can he shake his lefty demons? Well, do you feel lucky?