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The Unexpected Competence of Adam Lind

Is Adam Lind's resurgent season sustainable?

J. Meric

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article titled The Unexpected Competence of Jhonny Peralta where I looked at the surprisingly good year that Peralta was having and broke down his peripheral stats, coming to the conclusion that it was a run of success that was unlikely to continue. In the comments a reader asked me to take a look at Adam Lind, since he is also something of a fantasy zombie (credit to the 06010 podcast for that term), so here we are. To set the scene, prior to 2013 Lind posted three straight years of sub 100 OPS+ and sub 800 OPS production. He currently sits at 147 and 919 respectively. Certainly those 2013 numbers are a departure for Lind given his previous three seasons, but it's not as if he hasn't reached these peaks before. Indeed in 2009 Lind record a .305/.370/.562 slash line to go with a 141 OPS+ and a 932 OPS. So is Lind riding a hot start or has he reverted to his previous "good" self.

The Good News

There are some strong similarities between Lind's dynamic 2013 and his previous strong year in 2009. His LD% was above 20% in both years, and his GB% around 43%. Lind's HR/FB rate is also it's strongest since 2009 and is up 6% from last year. Additionally, while his strikeout rate has bumped up about a percent from 2012, his walk rate is the highest it's been in the major leagues and we're well past the point that walk and strikeout rate stabilize.

The Bad News

The elephant in the room here, much as it was with Peralta is that pesky BABIP. Lind's sits at .358 the highest it's been since...say it with me now...2009, when it was .323. Worse than just an inflated BABIP is exactly how far it is from his previous three seasons and his career BABIP. 2010 through 2012 all yielded BABIPs below .285, and that's with some seasons with similar batted ball profiles as 2013. Lind's career BABIP is under .300 so it's hard to imagine that he can continue at his current pace with the bat, though that doesn't mean he can't be serviceable with a lower BABIP, as long as it doesn't drop to 2010-2012 levels. Continuing to look at the batted ball profile, Lind's infield flyball percentage is at 1.6% right now, a full 6% below his career rate which will likely see some regression as the season rolls on.

The Result

I don't think that all these thing regress at once and Lind turns back into a pumpkin. In fact, many of these things are tied into each other, with his BABIP likely being affected by a lower number of infield fly balls as well as fewer fly balls and increased line drives. As those things even out, there should be a reduction in his BABIP, but as I said above that doesn't mean he can't be effective with a lower BABIP. The walk rate improvement is also a boon to his value and as stated above is at the point where we can expect it to continue close to this rate for the rest of the season. I am not as bearish on Lind as I was on Peralta because I think there's room for his BABIP to settle between the putrid .280 he was at the previous three years and the unsustainable .350 he's at now.