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The Season That Was: Adam Lind

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Before the season I had really no idea how Adam Lind would fare this year. In the 2008 season, Lind was called up at the end of April, after Frank Thomas was released and Shannon Stewart showed he wasn't suddenly going to become young. After going 1 for 19 JP and Gibby, showing their tremendous patience, sent him back to the minors so we could be treated to Brad Wilkerson and Kevin Mench. They had no end of patience for those guys. When Cito signed on, he got Lind called back up. If for nothing else, that alone made his hiring a good thing. 

Last year under Cito, Lind started off pretty well, but his last homer came on August 19th. That seemed like a bad sign going into to this year. Ending 2008 with a .282 batting average seemed ok, but he didn't walk hardly at all (16 times in 349 at bats), it seemed like a fairly empty .282 for a poor fielding corner outfielder. 

Well I shouldn't have worried, but who thought he'd have a season like he did? In our 'Community Project' we figured Lind would have a .330 OBP and a .465 SLG in 580 plate appearances, which would have given him a WAR of 0.2. He actually hit:

2009 - Adam Lind 151 587 93 179 46 0 35 114 58 110 1 1 .305 .370 .562

So he beat out our guesses by 40 points of OBP and almost 100 points of slugging. He had 74 more plate appearances than we projected. Fangraphs puts his WAR at 3.7 which makes his value $16.6 million. 

So what changed for Adam? I figure it was a combination of two things, Cito and Gene Tenace's teaching and his own talent showing through, when he finally got to relax and not worry that if he went 0 for 4 two games in a row he'd be sent down.

Unsurprisingly for a lefty he hit RHP (.317/.389/.602) much better than LHP (.287/.363/.461), but hits lefties well enough that he need not be sat against them. He hit much the same on the road (.287/.363/.577) as at home (.324/.378/.547).

He hit a lot better in the games he played in LF (.316/.386/.605) than he did as a DH (.299/.362/.539). To me, with that sort of difference, I'd like to see him play in the outfield even with his less than terrific defense. 

His longest hitting streak was 13 games in July. His longest stretch without a homer was 17 games.

Batting by Month:

April        .315/.400/.533

May         .264/.333/.453

June        .360/.434/.650

July          .258/.286/.581

August    . 321/.364/.560

Sept/Oct   .313/.395/.604

When you get on at a .333 rate or better every month but one and slug .533 or better every month but one, you've had a good year. 

He hit great with RISP (.305/.413/.584). A lot was made of his ability to hit with 2 strikes and he did hit well .251/.323/.423 but it isn't like you'd want him to get to 2 strikes. 

His favorite team to play? Well the Reds (.444/.615/.889) but that was just 3 games. Of the AL teams he hit the Angels great (.539/.543/.853). Least favorite? He was 0 for 12 with no walks in 3 games against the Marlins. Hit just .214/.333/.321 in 15 games against the Orioles. 

As you likely know his fielding isn't good. Fangraphs has him at a -8.0 UZR or -19.0 URZ/150 which would put him deep in at the bottom of the list of LFers in the AL if he had played enough to qualify. He only had 1 error and 1 assist. He's never going to be a good fielder. He would be a good big target at first base though.

He had a great season and is just 26 going into the next one so he hasn't hit his prime yet, he might still improve though it is hard to imagine he could hit much better.. But I'm looking forward to watching him try.