Would Adam Lind Have Fantasy Value As The Blue Jays 2011 First Baseman?

Adam Lind’s 2010 campaign was disappointing as he fell well shy of what many hoped was his 2009 breakout (.305, 35 HR, 114).  The fact of the matter is, he had little opportunity to approach those numbers once again.

His HR/FB in ’09 was 19.8%, significantly higher then what he had posted in portions of the prior two years (13.3% and 11.0%).  The inability to sustain that mark certainly played a role in his regression, while he also may have been pressing to live up to the power (his fly ball rate went from 36.8% to 40.4%).

Throw in a huge jump in strikeouts and a regression in his BABIP and it all added up to the following numbers:

569 At Bats
.237 Batting Average (135 Hits)
23 Home Runs
72 RBI
57 Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.287 On Base Percentage
.425 Slugging Percentage
.277 Batting Average on Balls in Play

I think there is little questioning the idea that he was pressing in 2010.  His strikeout rate went from 18.7% in 2009 to 25.3 % in 2010.  Over his minor league career he posted an 18.7% mark in 1,581 at bats, so there is little questioning his ability to make contact.

However, you wouldn’t know it by looking at his monthly rates:

  • April – 29.7%
  • May – 22.0%
  • June – 31.1%
  • July – 26.4%
  • August – 19.6%
  • September – 23.8%

Every single month was higher then his 2009 mark, almost unfathomable to think of.  You couple that with a huge decline in BABIP (in 2009 he had a .323 mark) and the expected decrease in power and the fact that his average was awful should not be a surprise.

However, there certainly is reason for optimism.  He has proven to be too good of a hitter throughout his minor league career and early in his major league career to think that he won’t be able to turn the contact around.  Throw in some improved luck, and his average shouldn’t be a concern.

The power he showed in 2010 is probably what we should come to expect.  Given his history (55 HR in 1,581 minor league at bats), and the huge increase in his peripherals, it would appear that he’s more of a 25ish home run hitter.  That’s certainly not a mark you would complain about.

An improved average should help him in both the run and RBI categories as well.  Let’s face it, the more he’s on base, and the more hits he gets, the more productive he’s going to be overall, no matter where he settles in the lineup.

The Blue Jays took a look at him at first base in 2009, and there certainly is reason to believe that they could give him a much longer look in 2010.  Lyle Overbay could be considered just as disappointing, hitting .243 with 20 HR and 67 RBI.  As a free agent this offseason, it’s hard to imagine the team bringing him back.

That would leave a gaping hole at first base, and Lind, who is signed through 2013 (with options for 2014, 2015 and 2016) could make the most sense to fill the void.  Of course, it’s dependent on the team’s other moves and there figure to be a slew of first options available via free agency.  Still, it certainly is worth considering.

That type of move could add to his fantasy appeal in 2011.  Depending on your league rules, he may actually have just utility eligibility at the outset of the season, playing 16 games in the outfield and 11 at first base.

That limits his value significantly, because fantasy owners are not going to want to clog their utility spot on a player who is going to hit .280 with 25 HR.  Those are fine numbers, but they certainly aren’t going to be a first choice, especially if he doesn’t have eligibility elsewhere.  It just cripples your flexibility.

However, even as a first baseman Lind is losing significant value.  It’s a position where you are looking for big HR and RBI totals, and coming off 2010 there are significant questions if he can get there.  He’s just not in the class of names like Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera and Joey Votto.

As a high-upside risk, then he’ll be worth taking in the mid-to-late rounds of your draft (if he has outfield eligibility in your league, then it’s a mid-round pick).  He’s shown how good he could be, but it doesn’t seem likely he will fully get back there.

We’ll get into a projection as we get closer to the 2011 season, but for now keep his name filed away as a bounce back sleeper, but one that may not be worth the risk.  Then again, could he be 2011s version of Vladimir Guerrero?

What are your thoughts on Lind?  Where are you pegging him for 2011?  Is he going to have value as a first baseman?

Make sure to check out our 2011 projections:

2 comments

  1. Chief Aloique says:

    I didn’t own Lind. I was subliminally aware that he was experiencing some regression, but until I read this analysis I hadn’t realized it was so shocking and dramatic and severe.

    My first impression reacting to this is that Lind’s regression is the dark side of playing on a team that got caught up in being Home Run Happy and to hell with everything else . . . that he and Aaron Hill were the casualties, the negative counterweights to the style and numbers of Bautista, and to a lesser extent Wells, Encarnacion and Snider.

    IF that’s all it is, then with a bit of rethinking and retooling there’s no reason why he (and Hill, for the matter) couldn’t revert in 2011 to a season’s totals closer to 2009 than 2010. But there’s just no way of predicting which it’s gonna be — a boom season is just as likely as another bust season right now.

    This is a can I’ll have to kick down the road until at least spring training, and the probability is that none of us will know for sure even then.

    My main concern right now is that I thought keeping Carlos Gonzalez for 2011 was a no-brainer . . . but I look at at Lind’s Tale of Two Seasons and while I probably still will I’m nowhere near as confident as I was just a little while ago . . .

  2. Rotoprofessor says:

    I wouldn’t let Lind’s struggles affect your decision on CarGo. Yes, there is little doubt that he’s going to regress (his BABIP was .384 after all), but they are two completely different cases.

    I’ll get more into CarGo in the coming weeks, but he certainly is a must keep option.

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