Nationals Baseball: Adam Lind - Better than Clint

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Adam Lind - Better than Clint

Let's do this in Q&A form

Does Adam Lind make the Nats better?

Sure! Last year Lind OPS'd .717 (.239 / .286 / .431).  Last year Robinson OPS'd .637 (.235 / .305 / .332). It was Lind's worst year since 2012. He's a decent bet to do better. Robinson was also better before this. But it was just one season. It's a complete toss-up what Robinson is.

That's a pretty good SLG.

Yep! He's a full season 25 HR 30 2B season guy. (For comparison - Robinson is more like a 10 HR / 15 2B guy).  If there's one thing you should be able to count on from Lind it would be that he can hit the ball hard

Great! Tell me more good news

Ok. The assumption is Lind will mostly play versus RHP.  He slugged .442 with 19 homers in 121 games vs RHP last year. That was an off year. In 2015 he threw up a .291 / .380 / .503 line against righties. In 2014 it was .354 / .409 / .533. He could be really effective in a platoon

Wow. How'd we get this guy for a million...WAIT! That's not a qu

Lind can't field. Robinson isn't great but can do the job if necessary. Lind probably not. And while defensive stats are a little fluky, especially in a single year, Lind has been bad forever. You can forget about the outfield. He really should DH. So he's an imperfect choice for an NL team. Also he's slow. Not Ramos slow, but not too far off. So while Robinson could feasibly run for a pitcher or catcher or hurt player, Lind probably isn't all that much better. So he's an imperfect choice for a bench player.

And the flip side of those awesome numbers vs RHP? Lind is garbage vs LHP. Like should have signed with the Dodgers garbage vs LHP.

But at least he can crush righties?

Well yes. Assuming last year was a fluke and not a trend downward.

...was it a trend downward?

Let's quick read fancy stats. The BABIP is low - that suggests that the average should perk up and with it he should be above average. But it's not low for no reason. Lind hit a higher percentage of "soft" hits last year than any year in his career. Zone stats suggest the culprit may be losing his ability to distinguish the strike zone leading to more swings at bad pitches. If that's the case we should see more strikeouts in general and fewer walks and yep, that's what we see. Lowest walk rate since 2011. Highest K rate since 2010. He was also fed more off-speed stuff last year meaning the other teams know this is a weakness.

So what exactly are you saying?

Given his age (34 in July) I guess I'm saying I wouldn't be surprised if Lind was free-falling.

Can we end this on some good news?

Sure. There's no telling what is actually happening with Lind. I don't give him much better odds than Robinson to "be right". But if Lind is right he's going to hit well, and probably hit righties very well. If Robinson is right, well we don't know what he'll do.

Also Lind hit .293 / .388 / .448 in September

Anything else about Lind? 

There's apparently a "Teen Mom" dad with the same name. That's not him.  Here's an early interview with the one we care about from Toronto. 

If Lind is in, what happens to Clint?

Well, if the Nats are smart he gets shipped down to AAA. Sure he might have literally been the worst last year. But he was literally very good the year before. Which is the real Clint? I don't know. Something like just below average, seems to be most likely. So you keep him around because if injuries happen he's a quick fix.

If the Nats aren't smart, or more accurately have other thoughts in mind, they will trade Clint for some nothing prospect to save his half a million. This is what I'm watching for.  

20 comments:

Jimmy said...

Isn't Clint out of options, thus stashing him in AAA would require him to clear waivers?

Jimmy said...

Overall I think this does wonders for our bench, now if they would go out and pick up Pagan and Blanton I'll be feeling pretty good. As either of those have a remote chance of happening the last bench spot will be an interesting spring training battle with Dusty settling on Michael A. Taylor for the last spot.

Harper said...

Jimmy - Yes and yes. I agree - it makes the bench stronger. Of course the last time they did something that should have definitely made the bench stronger with was bring in Nate McLouth, so no guarantees.

Positively Half St. said...

Stinking McLouth. Don't remind me.

Ole PBN said...

Not to peddle it back to the bullpen, but I noticed Luke Hochevar and Jordan Walden are still out there... I'd kick the tires on those guys, right?

karl kolchak said...

Robinson failed to get even one XBH after 7/8 a year ago, which means that for half the season, or 120 As, he was nothing but a lumber singles hitter with bad defense. That isn't "trending down," that's falling off a cliff. Clint is indeed out of options, by there is a decent chance he'd clear waivers, especially if he has a poor spring training.

karl kolchak said...

Grrrr...that's 120 PAs out of the total of 224 PAs he had for the whole season.

Fries said...

I like Clint, he's a good guy. But there's a reason it took him so long to get to the majors...he's just not that great. Solid bench piece at his "prime", but he's on the wrong side of 30 now. Lind has a much higher ceiling and didn't spend most of his 20s in the minors despite being older. Lind is an upgrade through and through.

The only problem I foresee is if Zimm can't return to form at all. Lind is no longer a starter unless it's as a DH. That's pretty clear. So if Zimm is only playing 100 games this year, or he's hitting .190, or whatever other issue, Lind cannot be looked at as the replacement by Dusty and the front office. They'll need to make a move, and I'm not optimistic they would

Anonymous said...

I think the problem with the Lerner's (possibly Rizzo, though I doubt it) perspective of the reliability of the players currently on the roster. They deem Zimmerman and Werth as reliable to be on the field, but that can't be the case. This isn't to say that you need to have an insurance option for all positions. Do the Giants have a viable bench option should Posey go down? No. Do the Astros have a viable bench option should Altuve go down? No. Or the Nats with Bryce? No. But none of these guys are high-injury risk players. We need that, and given the current crop of FA's out there, our unwillingness to spend $$, and our lack of prospects to land someone solid, Lind is th best option at this moment in time.

Nats handcuffed themselves with the Zimmerman note (contract), which could be catastrophic for franchise. (who says history doesn't repeat itself? - see WWI). You can't bench a player being paid that much, which forces you to stay with him as a starter, and doesn't allow you to pick up a player of equal value.

sirc said...

I like Lind as bench depth and pinch hitting, even as a platoon partner in the short-term if Zimmerman isn't hitting. But if Zim lands on the disabled list, the best plan is still to slide Murphy to first and insert Drew at second. That's also the best long-term solution if Zim is ineffective at the plate again.

Harper said...

Ole PBN - I fully expect Hochevar here and have said so all off-season. Fits Nats qualifications - super-cheap, Boras

karl - I don't disagree. I think the chances of "Clint is good in 2017, Lind is bad" is pretty small - 10%? While the chances "Clint is bad, Lind is good" is much greater. like 40%? and in the case both are good or both are bad, which fills other 50% it's very likely Lind outperforms Clint because he has a higher ceiling. It's not the best move the Nats can make but I can't argue it.

There may be a specific team out there that needs an lefty bat as an OF/1B, last spot on the bench. Otws I'd expect him to clear.

Fries - Yeah, he's kind of like Heisey in that regard. if Bryce or Werth go down, Heisey can't be a full-time starter. Yes so let's hope Zimm returns to form, or at least hits lefties and Lind is good too.

Anon - Huzzah for historical references. If Xavier Hernandez was still around I'd try to work in an XYZ affair. Another thing to note is that Posey and Altuve are in hard to find positions. You just have to accept if you have, say a star catcher, that you are going to have a big dropoff if he gets hurt. But there isn't that excuse for 1B/OF. Brandon Moss would have been pretty ideal.

sirc - probably. it depends on what kind of year Drew is having. He really bombs some years.

blovy8 said...

I think there's a hint of worrying about Murphy's ass in this. Since Lind can only, and barely, play 1st, his playing time goes there and Murphy won't be getting lesser effort days there with Robinson riding the pine - he'll probably get full days off, maybe he needs that. If they really wanted to optimize offense, there would be some games with Turner in the OF when Werth rests. Who is going to be a better hitter in 2017, Taylor/Goodwin or Drew? Ugh, I hate that question.

Fries said...

@blovy

I'd love to see Dusty manage this team like a little league team. Everyone plays wherever they can. Eaton needs a day off? Move Trea to CF and put Drew at SS. Werth? Slide Eaton over and do the same as before. Zimm's plantar fasciitis starts acting up again? Put Murphy at 1st, Difo at 2B, and spell Murphy or Difo late in the game with Lind. Just make the starting lineup a revolving door.

Now I know there's the arguments about players needing consistency and whatever other crap, but I've never seen any data on it (and honestly haven't looked). So until someone proves to me otherwise, I say make these players getting paid 6, 7, and 8 figure salaries go out and play like they were 12 again

mike k said...

Fries, I have a feeling he might actually do that.

Anonymous said...

Crazy thought...how about LaRoche out of retirement?

He can definitely play better D than Robinson or Lind.

Josh Higham said...

@Anon, I get the impression LaRoche really enjoys being retired, and I also think Nats fans have an exaggerated idea of his value because he had a career year to help the Nats to their first playoff appearance (3.6 fWAR in 2012) and was extremely pedestrian for the rest of his career (3 years of ~2 fWAR, 3 years below replacement level, and hovered around 1 fWAR otherwise, totaling 11.3 career WAR), so as much as I love him and have fond memories of 2012 and 2014, he's a 37 year old we can do without. My heart loves the crazy thought, head says no way.

Jay said...

Word going around Nats may be interested in Wieters on a one year deal. Hopefully that is accurate. Tampa has already made an offer to him, so things could be clarifying soon.

Ole PBN said...

@Jay - If both the Nats and Tampa are offering 1-year deals with equal $$, I predict he'll go to Tampa. Wieters' primary goal is showing he can stay healthy, thus being able to improve on showcasing his ability at the plate. With Ramos coming back sometime next season, he'll platoon behind the plate or be slotted in at DH. Either way, safe-regular at-bats. In Weiters mind, if he has health/success at TB this season, he'll be primed for a larger/multi-year deal. In DC, he catch only and risks injury. Plus top-tier positional FA's never seem to sign here. Besides, we'll offer a 1yr contract valued at $10 million, but he'll be paid in annual installments of $250k/yr for the next 40 years. Sounds like family-tree changer! (sigh)

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