In baseball, everyone is talking about Albert Pujols, and rightfully so.
“The Machine” is once again setting his sites on the first Triple Crown since Yaz in 1967. With less than 24 hours left to make your pick, Pujols clearly looks to be heading for the highest vote total for this go at the mid summer classic and deservedly so.
I constantly hear about how the fans get it wrong. In the case of Pujols, I’d like to give my brethren a round of applauds because they clearly got it right.
Now let’s talk about an instance where they got it wrong and why. The American League outfield is a dumpster fire and the fans continually poor grease on it. I’d ask why? You’d probably ask me why I have such a problem with the results.
Let’s look at it real quick. I’ll give you the top 15 and the number of votes received, and the one guy I was completely snubbed by the MLB and subsequently the Fans.
2 609 913
1 802 826
1 635 781
1 490 800
1 442 175
1 355 133
K. Griffey Jr
1 204 863
1 175 539
1 171 354
1 050 112
1 022 041
So there you have it, your top 15 vote getters in the American League as far as outfielders go.
Now in defense of the fans, Lind is a mediocre defender, and because of that Cito Gaston started him as the team’s DH. As fans are not allowed to vote on DH’s for the All-star game they would have to write him in.
So out of sight, out mind means that fans in 29 other major league cities have almost no chance of voting for Lind. At this point, when people think Toronto Blue Jays, they think of Roy Halladay, and rightfully so.
Also the hype that surrounded fellow youngster Travis Snider managed to over shadow the potential that Lind had show in 2008. In 24 games last year Snider managed to post a stat line of .301/.338/.466 and completely set people worlds on fire as a 20-year-old prospect.
At the same time Adam Lind was posting an 88 game performance that resulted in .282/.316/.439, which although nice wasn’t nearly as interesting as Lind was now an “ancient” 24 years old.
We all know that in a world of instant gratification, scoops and tabloid journalism, we’ve become a society that will proclaim the 20 year old the next heir to the thrown 10 times out of 10 before we’ll give the due credit to a prospect developing on schedule.
It’s this need to be first that causes us to make irrational decisions; we have been convinced that being first is more important that being right.
While Snider started his season in the big leagues, he was sent to down after just 32 games in the midst of a slump, from then on Lind has put himself in a position to seriously be considered for this year’s mid summer classic in St. Louis.
He caught fire in April and has been unrelenting ever since, wearing out opposing pitching at every turn.
Among the top 15 American League outfield vote collectors Lind would rank third in batting average, fourth in home runs, and third in RBI.
On the other hand he does have his defensive short comings including taking what can only be described as questionable route’s to the ball.
That being said it’s certainly more than offset by Lind’s 95 hits that means he is tied for fourth in the majors. He has managed 25 doubles a total that puts him first in the American League and trails only the 26 tagged by Hanley Ramirez and Miguel Tejada in all of baseball.
Let me take a page out of the sabermetrics book and see if I can put the type of the under the radar Lind is having. So far through 78 games this year 51 at DH, and another 27 in left field Lind has managed to contribute 61.3 runs created. That places him eighth in the major leagues.
Digest that for a second, not only has Lind put him among the offensively elite players at his position, but he quite literally after half a season stacks up against the best players in the game. That list, minus Lind, has 48 years of Major League experience or 5.3333 years per player.
In that time they have racked up four MVP awards, an additional 12 top ten finishes in MVP voting, 22 all-star games, 17 silver sluggers and three rookie of the year awards.
As far as runs created Lind is cashing in 0.785 runs per game. What does than mean? Well it means a line up of nine Adam Lind’s would produce 7.07 runs per game.
Through 78 games that line up of Adam Lind’s would have generated 552 runs. Now think about that for a second. This line up would put you on pace for 1145 runs scored over a 162 game season. Since 1900 only seven teams have scored more than 1,000 runs, none of them more than 1,100.
Statistically Lind has been as good, if not better than in his contemporaries, unfortunately it doesn’t look like 2009 will be the year that he is recognized for it. Luckily for Adam, although he may never be Albert Pujols, I predict that he’ll have plenty more years just like this.