Adam Lind Hates Walks

Golly gee gosh darn it! Another walk!

John Lott of the National Post filed a story on Adam Lind last night, speaking with the 1B/DH about ending the season with a solid little September– a relatively nifty turnaround after having reached the nadir of his professional career with a demotion to Las Vegas at the end of May. In the piece Lind addresses what he believes was the key to his turnaround, and it’s… um… interesting.

And by “interesting,” I mean positively Cito-esque.

“I think the walk is a little overrated,” he says.

“Sometimes there’s an environment around here that people want us to walk. You just can’t do that with the pitching you’re facing in this league, in this division,” he explains.

Sure. Y’know, as long as you forget that among the top 30 in walk rate among qualified hitters in the American League this year are Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Ben Zobrist, Joe Mauer, Adam Dunn, Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Willingham, Prince Fielder, Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson, Austin Jackson, Shin-Soo Choo, Mark Teixeira, Matt Wieters, Alex Gordon, Josh Hamilton and Paul Konerko.

Oh yeah, and had he qualified, Jose Bautista’s rate would have ranked third– the same as it did in 2010– after leading the AL in 2011.

Aaaand with enough at-bats Evan Longoria would have been in there too.

But other than for a shit-tonne of the best hitters in the league, walks are totally an untenable proposition for a hitter trying to succeed in this league.

Now, I will grant that there are plenty of fine hitters who do more than get by with below average walk rates– Adrian Beltre, Yoenis Cespedes, Billy Butler, Albert Pujols, Torii Hunter, Adam Jones and Alex Rios are all in the top 20 in AL wRC+ with below league average walk rates. And it’s not like bad hitters don’t have great walk rates either– Kelly Johnson, Carlos Pena, Alberto Callaspo, Jemile Weeks and Jamey Carroll are all among the leaders, too.

It’s just… come on.

And then there’s this:

“When you go in thinking walk-first, you can take some of the aggressiveness away from the hitter,” Farrell said. “Ideally, you’d like to see controlled aggression [and] pitch recognition. To me the definition of a disciplined hitter [is], what does he do on the 3-2 pitch? Does he chase a breaking ball on a 3-2 count or does he take it and take his walk?”

Lind says he prefers not to get that far in the count.

Ugh.

I mean, obviously a walk-first approach makes no sense– nobody would, or has, ever argued that a walk is better than a hit– and if Lind needs to be aggressive to be successful, it is what it is. But… is it? After all, the best season of his career by far happens to have coincided with his best walk rate as a Major Leaguer.

Far more importantly, though, is the fact that Lind has posted a 92 wRC+ and been worth -0.2 fWAR over his last 1500 plate appearances– fifteen hundred fucking plate appearances!– which kinda makes the notion that he has any kind of fucking answer to unlock his latent productivity a little preposterous.

Not to mention pointless to bother articulating at this stage. After all, it’s difficult to see him coming back to the Jays unless things go terribly wrong for the club this winter– especially after Alex Anthopoulos didn’t include him among the players he sees as assured to return next year. In Lott’s piece, it seems he sees the writing on the wall, too.

“I hope I have the opportunity to stick around and be part of the 2013 Blue Jays,” he said. Then he chuckled, and, thinking of his recent surge with the bat, added: “When you do good, your trade value probably goes up, so we’ll see.”

Trade value? You never know, I guess. And shit, a change of scenery has done wonders for Aaron Hill this season, and Alex Rios is finally acting like the player everybody thought he was capable of being, so maybe it’s not crazy to think that Lind too could capture whatever potential has been rotting away these last three years. It’d be great to see him do it, even– almost as great as it would be to not see him given another damn chance to do it here.

Comments (78)

  1. He just continues to confirm my belief that he’s not the sharpest blade in the drawer. He’s definitely been much better since his return, right around .800 ops the last time I checked and that was against a lot of lefties too. I think the best you can hope for at this point is he only sees right handed pitching in a platoon situation and that OPS climbs closer to .900.

    • Definitely not the sharpest blade. Look at his comments in the Sun article about leadership too. Not that AA needed more reasons to look to replace him with someone better, but if I was fighting for a job, I’d be a bit more careful about what I say…

      Regarding trade value: He cleared waivers this year, i.e., every MLB team thought his contract was a net negative. The most likely event I see in his off-season is an outright release (a la Mark Teahen).

      • But what was he hitting when he cleared waivers? At the time he he may have resembled a Teahan.

        I think he’s proven since his return he still has something to offer. I’m guessing he has trade value, but would likely need to be part of a package rather than a straight-up player for player deal.

        • I expect MLB GMs to not be fooled by a couple of months of Adam Lind performing to a level of “not quite as shitty as one should come to expect from Adam Lind”.

          • No smart GM is going to trust September hitting stats.

          • As Farrell said, that becomes less true when you look at the fact he was playing against teams fighting for their playoff lives in September.

            Still, no GM would be fooled into to a player swap (unless you want Thames back), but I think he has more value as part of a package now than he did when put on waivers.

  2. I look at Lind in a line-up the way I view a girlfriend (or wife) who loves sports

    If that is her 6th or 7th best asset – that is good
    If that is her 2nd or 3rd best asset – she is not a keeper

    • Dare I ask where being a sports fan ranks in your list of assets?

      • My girlfriend is just as big of a baseball and hockey fan as I am and a way bigger fan of football then me. I adore that about her, that we can share interests together (even if they are sometimes competing ie. Leafs-me Avalanche/Canadiens-her, Peyton Manning-me Eli Manning-her.)

        Hell our fist date was a Jay’s game. I like that I don’t have to fight with the remote to catch a game.

  3. im impressed Lind got all the way through that John Lott interview without having to go on the DL with back problems.

  4. With a solid platoon partner and an improvement offensively in LF i’d be ok with keeping lind around for next year. Obviously it would be great to have improvements at LF and DH but i’d rather throw money at a SP than at a DH.

    • He has no value so we’re paying him either way. Might as well let him rest his back and only play once or twice a week and as a pinch hitter or backup for EE and whoever else we get for 1B/DH.

      Rested and as a part-time, DH, type, I like him.

  5. This roster, as constructed, struggles to get on base as it is without the big pasty white guy saying he doesn’t value walks.

    Speaking of Butler, wonder where he stands with KC. Did he sign an extension?

  6. Being patient at the plate only works for players with good eyes at the plate, that can recognize pitches.

    Walks are a product of a good eye and approach not the causation.

    So for players like adam lind, looking for walks probably is counterproductive. Because he has a bad approach and bad pitch recognition.

    • Totally agree. Something happened to him…he can’t read pitches anymore. At all. Just swings at anything remotely close. A lot of players are like that on this team.

  7. The thing that cracks me up the most is that his best season came when he had his highest walk rate. You’d think the light switch just might come on.

  8. Swinging agressively at good pitches is what every good hitter does. Good hitters get walks because they are good hitters. Good hitters have an eye. Adam Lind has not been a good hitter for years. Lay off the shit idiot. Until you do, please do not speak of walks.

  9. There might be something to this, though. Obviously, all of those awesome hitters walk all the time, but is that possibly a product of them being pitched differently? Lind can’t walk if they are throwing him strikes. And if he starts to hit, maybe they won’t throw him strikes, and he will then walk more? …. Just a theory with no research done whatsoever, and maybe I’m looking for easy answers, but its the first thing that popped into my head.

  10. I get the feeling that he has a sense of humour that really does play in interviews. Instead of sying he’s going to give it 110% and other safe interview cliches he’s saying offhand things and being sly/tongue-in-cheek.

  11. Anyone watch Oliver deliberate whether or not he wants to retire by throwing to first base countless times last night?

  12. guh. Adam Lind just bothers me. He has one of the worst approaches at the plate of any hitter I’ve ever seen. For a guy who’s not looking walk… I often wonder what he’s looking at half the time when we watches cock shots right down the middle. I could careless if he goes elsewhere and turns into an all-star. It’s not happening here. Trade him for a bag of balls for all I care

    • Couldn’t care less. Meaning you care so little that you could NOT care less.

      Words mean things.

    • Maybe that is what it is. He can’t read pitches worth shit (either type of pitch or location) and it almost seems he decides if he is going to swing or not before the pitch is even thrown. There are batting practice pitches that he passes on and nasty pitches way out of the zone that he swings at. I really wonder if he needs to get his eyes checked.

  13. Adam Lind plays baseball like I play MLB: The Show

    Before the pitcher throws the pitch, I don’t even care where it ends up, I decide if I’m going to be swinging or not.

  14. What a fuckin moron… man I hate this guy. Too dumb for his own good.

    Overbay may have looked just as retarded as Lind, but at least he actually had common sense (or at least made it seem that way when interviewed).

    • The “Lyle Overbay Approach to Hitting” actually used to make me furious.

      1) Take pitches without considering swinging until you either walk or take two strikes

      2) Swing at the next pitch no matter where it goes.

      Like some kind of retarded wind-up doll or something. Fuck Lyle Overbay.

    • I know eh! Like, he doesn’t hit small white objects with a wooden stick to my liking! I hope somebody pours gas on him and lights him on fire!!! Burn Lindy Burn!

  15. “nobody would, or ever has argued that a walk is better than a hit.” Actually Joe Posnanski argues that point all the time to establish that there is no value in a player’s batting average. Of course I think he’s wrong – glad to see that’s a consensus view even among those more metric-minded than myself.

    • there are studies showing that a hit is worth 30% more than a walk: obviously, a walk cannot advance a runner from second to home etc.

  16. Can I throw another theory out there? Lind comes off as a lazy sack of shit. He admitted to doing nothing in the off-season to get into shape, and it wouldn’t shock me if plate discipline, being something he probably has to work on, seems like too much work.

    There’s no point keeping him around – the Jays aren’t going to pick up his options anyway – he’s too crappy to pay that kind of money to. I’d trade him – see if a team will take him before his options kick in, and get SOMETHING for him.

  17. neh. You have to think of walks as a by product of good hitting IMO, and swinging at any pitch you are not prepared to handle is also a sign of a bad hitter no matter the count.

  18. Why oh why would he say this…keep it to yourself…youre making yourself no favors after the second of what was two shit years. I would hate to see him take a bench spot for someone who can actually play more then 1st base. Please clear up the fodder this offseason.
    Personal Wish list
    LF–Go get Justin Upton defenitely tradeable
    DH–Ortiz left handed bat and beauty 3-4-5 with EE and Bats
    P–Start with Marcum for 4 spot….then seek trade for #2 starter

    Get em Alex

  19. In 2009, Adam Lind had by far his best year (.305-370-562 with a .962 OPS). Coincidentally, 2009 was also the year that he had the most walks (58 in 654 PA’s).

    Now compare this to his 2nd highest BB figure in 2010. Total of 38 in 613 PA’s. Oh, poor Adam also posted a .237-.287-.425 triple slash line with a .712 OPS in 2010.

  20. I would rather watch a player foul of a dozen pitches from a pitcher and run up the pitch count than watch the numerous 1 run 7-8 innings pitched throwing 80-90 pitches. Meanwhile the good teams find ways to run up your pitch count and force you to make mistakes.

  21. The big change with Adam Lind at bats now compared to 2009 is not the walk rate but his ability to hit with 2 strikes.

    In 2009 there were 25 mlb players with at least 300 at bats with 2 strikes. Adam Lind had the highest 2 strike average among this group at .251 and a 2 strike OPS of .746 which was by far the highest.

    The story now is not that Adam Lind forgot how to walk, but that the league figured out how to strike him out?

  22. It’s all about balance. You have to go up willing to take a walk otherwise you will be over aggressive. You can’t go up pressing for a walk either because then you take good pitches to hit. It is usually the dim-witted that see the world in black and white. Lind clearly took the walk talk far too literally.

    I’m not sure what I think about Murph’s pick one pitch and take everything else til strike 2 policy. How many times this here have we seen hangers taken for stikes because they weren’t fastballs early in the count. It’s seems like most teams toss in the offspeeed junk for the first 2 strikes all the time now because they know the Jays will take it.

  23. We think we know something, but that knowledge is limited by time, sample size, adjustments from the player, adjustments from the environment. Scouts used to make the reports that were used by teams to adjust to other players. They had to watch games to do that. I think that computers can watch games well enough to build up sample sizes so that scouts can make evaluations quicker and they are more reliable as well. And it probably is more effective to use a combination of live scout and computer scout to do so. I’ll go so far as to suggest that this combination is changing the game. Adjustment cycles that took weeks or months are down to days, and maybe at times, innings. The players with the most flexible approaches have the advantage and that plays out at all kinds of different levels. The most obvious example is the difference in approach between Prince and Jose in the HR derby. I would have “does he have fun playing the game?” on my list of “intangibles”.

    I was with Stoets before Lind went down; enough already. Since his return and especially lately, he is looking relaxed, loose(r) and is definitely hitting better. Maybe he has found what works for him; he has nothing to lose with the Jays and maybe broke out of a constricting mindset. If he is not traded, let him fight for a spot in the spring and even play him at Buffalo or New Hampshire if he is not blocking someone else. He does make an adequate backup for injury and the money has to be paid anyway.

  24. I wonder if you could reconstruct what Lind is saying to make some sort of sense. Namely – good hitters will often end up walking more. If you are successful as a hitter, the pitchers become correspondingly less willing to pitch hittable stuff to you, and your walks go up if you are willing, as Bautista is or Bonds was, to lay off anything outside the zone. Walks are a symptom of good hitting, not a cause.

    ‘Chasing’ walks at the outset, rather than ‘being agressive’, could lead to you strike out more than you need to, or being forced to try to hit bad pitches, after you’ve watched a good one go by.

    I suspect what we’re seeing is Lind trying to find an internal logic that works for him, that allows him to be aggressive and get the most out of his hitting, and, of course, just happens to match the coaching style of his most succesful year. It shouldn’t be treated as a single-handed attempt to dismiss the fact that walks matter, a lot.

  25. Lind is a piece of crap.

  26. David Ortiz!!!!!

  27. Marcum for ten mil trade lind to the sox problem solved

  28. So not only does he have the wrong plate approach, he also has the wrong attitude. Any return value is a plus here this offseason to me. This is not a guy who is willing to learn an approach to lay off bad pitches consistently or come into the season in great shape with 20 less pounds.

    If you are a pitcher and hear that a guy who strikes out too much is saying that he doesn’t like to take walks, why on earth would you throw him strikes?

    The walk is not the be all, end all, but it’s no secret that the majority of the better hitters are taking walks. I’m ok with Lind’s comments if he start Vladdy’ing pitches out of the park at his shoetops and eyebrows. Otherwise, start making adjustments or start making other career plans.

  29. Adam Lind’s projected 2013 role will basically tell us whether or not the Jays plan on competing in 2013. If he’s an everyday player, they don’t. If he’s a platoon player with a viable option vs. RHP (not a Ben Francisco) they are at least trying to create as much offense as possible. If, however, he’s pushed to the bench by a DH acquisition like Papi that will be a very good sign. As a LHB off the bench that can allow days off for half of your lineup he’s still a valuable piece even at 5m.

  30. The Astros are going to need a DH, maybe AA can pay them to take Lind off our hands?

    On a side note, is there a chance we see a hitting coach change for 2013? I ask because with the promotion of several young guys from AAA, is it possible that we’ll see Mottola full-time with the Jays helping to continue developing these guys’ hitting skills? Just a random thought.

  31. Anyone find it weird that a guy that really doesn’t enjoy working out would rather take a hack with the bat than simply watch pitches go by and trotting to first base without having to so much as jog? Just seems like taking a walk is the lazier option.

  32. Lind is a fukstik. Case closed and goodbye

  33. nobody’s gonna drop a “haters gonna hate” caption on that lind pic up there? nobody? for reals?

    HATERS GONNA HATE

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