There were five players going into the season that I was targeting at least a round higher than ESPN, CBS or Yahoo had them rated. Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, Ben Zobrist, Mat Latos, and Adam Lind. Aside from Anderson’s injury (he returns today and hopefully is fine), all of these players have delivered to date on the high expectations. All except for Lind.
Lind is not the only player in the Majors who has been a major disappointment this season, but the type of player that he was coming in makes it so hard to swallow. Carlos Lee is inching toward his mid 30s. Carlos Pena has always been a streaky hitter. Mark Teixeira always starts slow. Lind falls into an entirely separate category. He was always a good prospect and if his tools translated to the big leagues he could be a great player. At age 25 the tools translated and he became one of the best sluggers in baseball. He didn’t have any of the problems Lee, Pena, or Teixeira had. By baseball standards he was supposed to be walking into the prime of his career. Every month Lind hit over .250. His first half and second half numbers were nearly identical with home runs in the teens, an average over .300 and an OPS in the 900s in both halves. There wasn’t any one weakness to point to in his home/road or left/right splits. Outside of a little inflation in his HR:FB rate Lind had the makings of being a perennial top 30 player as he was in 2009.
This year and especially this month though it’s all gone wrong for Lind. The strikeout rate on the season is 7% greater than it was last year. That fact hasn’t escaped Lind as his strikeouts are down this month, but the compensation to make contact has made him a lesser player. He’s walking less and hitting for less power in May than he was in a sub par April. Where he did not have holes in his games last year, he has huge holes this year. Lind is hitting .128 against lefties with just one extra base hit in 47 at-bats. All of his home runs have come against righties and he has hit .255. If it was just righties that he could face, Lind’s season would just be a slight disappointment. The other problem for Lind is his power up the middle and the other way. Last year 60% of the home runs he hit went to center or left field. This year just 43% of the home runs are going that way. Lind is 0 for his last 12 and the mental course of this slump is running it’s course. It’s not an ideal buy low opportunity, but for teams desperate for hitting that can’t sacrafice must pitching he’s got a pedigree.
- Clayton Richard took the loss for the Padres last night, but remains a viable option especially at home. He has 33 strikeouts, a 2.95 ERA, and 1.20 WHIP in 36.2 innings at Petco this year.
- Miguel Cabrera went off yesterday for the Tigers. He has 13 home runs on the season and on pace for a career high, but Cabrera is a hitter first and a power hitter second. Seven of them have been hit to left field and six to right field which is an indication he’s just trying to make solid contact rather than kill the ball. That’s why he’s seventh in baseball in batting average.
- Pedro Feliz is hitting .200 on the season. Chris Johnson is doing well enough at AAA to take over. Shouldn’t the Astros make a change?
- The highest OPS in the National League is owned by 20 year old rookie Jason Heyward. Keeper leagues beware.
- Dan Haren has allowed 16 home runs this season, and as you’ll see here it’s not any one pitch that is causing the problem.
- Matt Lindstrom blew his first save on Thursday night and it was overdue. His 1.43 WHIP does not match up with his 2.14 ERA so he could be a poison to a team’s ERA and WHIP going forward too.
- Jonny Gomes has been tearing the cover off the ball. Yesterday he was 4 for 4 and came out of the box in his last at-bat thinking about a cycle. Gomes can be added in a weekly transactions league while he’s hot.
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