Compare these hitters:
*cO-Swing is the O-swing% compared to the league average, as the number of pitches judged to be inside the zone has changed pretty drastically.
Player A and B seem very similar, with Player A hitting more line drives and probably getting unlucky in terms of BABIP. Both players swing at a lot of pitches, both in and outside the strikezone, but their contact rate is still pretty high for a power hitter as the average for Contact% is just above 80. It seems these hitters could swing a bit less to make sure they hit the pitch they can drive, to improve on their possibly unlucky BABIP and already pretty good power.
Player C is pretty different, and clearly a star hitter. He's got decent patience, but most strikingly he's got immense power but still manages to make more contact than the league average hitter. That's a rare quality, so Player C must be a pretty good player.
Well, yes and no. Player C, of course, is Adam Lind in 2009. Player B is Adam Lind in 2010 and Player A is Adam Lind in 2011. The star player that Adam Lind was in 2009 doesn't seem to exist anymore, as he's been swinging at more pitches and missing more pitches. The ability to hit the ball hard hasn't disappeared, but it also has not improved, and is now his only above-average skill. He's not an important part of the defense (yes, his D at 1B seems to be decent), definitely not a good baserunner, he doesn't tire out pitchers by taking a lot of pitches, and he makes below average contact. So power is the one thing that Adam Lind does well.
(more after the jump)
Let's look at Lind's career from 2009 onwards on a month by month basis (only months with 80+ PA are included):
Notable here is that Lind never had a horrible month in 2009. May that year, his worst month, was still pretty decent, and nothing compared with May '10, June '10 and July '11. Also worth noting is that, as many people around here will know or have thought, Adam has not gone opposite field effectively in 2011 (he was still decent at that in 2010). Though how exactly this plays a part is hard to tell, as Adam's power and line drive ability are still pretty decent over the course of a full season. Are the bad slumps an indication that pitchers have found ways to exploit a weakness in Adam's hitting?
It's hard to tell how good Adam Lind is going to be going forward. June '11 was a good sign, as Adam was better than he ever was in 2010. However, it didn't last long enough to make me feel certain that the Adam Lind of 2009 is coming back for good. Who knows, perhaps we'll get a new hitting coach for 2011? I don't know for sure that Dwayne Murphy is to blame for his struggles, but I do know that he was quoted as saying that OBP is not important, and I do have a strong feeling that Lind's struggles are related to him not being selective enough. Putting the two together is not a hard thing to do, even if they may be unrelated.