When the Nationals didn’t re-sign Adam Lind over the offseason, Nats faithful were heartbroken. Lind had become a fan favorite, and the left-handed slugger was incredibly important to the club all last season, providing a huge lift off the bench and filling in in the starting lineup when the Nats needed him most. But when they let him go, the question remained: Who was going to fill that giant hole left by Lind’s absence?
Enter Matt Adams.
Adams and Lind essentially have the same role: left-handed slugger, acquired as a bench piece to give Ryan Zimmerman some days off here and there. But both of them have been so much more.
Adams has gotten smoking hot of late. Lind made his presence felt early in the season last year. So the fun question I’m going to present: Who’s better?
If we’re looking at the resume, Lind has the Silver Slugger and five more years of big league experience over Adams. Both of their career averages sit in the .270s. Lind’s career OBP is about 10 points higher, and Adams’s career slugging percentage is about 20 points higher. That’s very nitpicky, and their career trajectories and bodies of work are incredibly similar.
So the real question: Who performed better for the Nationals? For this purpose, I’m going to look at their first 29 games with the Nationals, Lind in 2017 and Adams in 2018. In Lind’s first 29 games, he only started nine of them and had 50 at-bats. Adams started 18 games and had 75 at-bats. Lind slashed .340/.393/.600 and Adams slashed .307/.422/.747. Lind hit three home runs, had 14 RBIs, five walks and four doubles. Adams hit 10 home runs, had 23 RBIs, 13 walks and three doubles.
In more playing time, Adams looks to have had a more productive start to his Nationals career. Lind was perhaps more consistent and certainly provided a helpful pinch off the bench, while Adams is starting considerably more. However, we do have the benefit of hindsight with Lind, and he remained hot and consistent throughout the entire season, hitting .303 and ultimately clubbing 14 home runs in a limited role. Adams looks like he is going to be in the starting lineup more, especially with all the long-term injuries, so he’ll get more at-bats and maybe a chance for more production, but we will just have to see if Adams can keep up the success he’s having now all year long. Signs right now point to yes, as the man is simply unbelievable.
If these trends continue, Adams and his productivity are going to surpass that of Lind. His first 29 games were better, and he looks on pace to have an even better overall season. But only extended time over the season will truly tell. Of course, it will take longer to replace Lind in our hearts, and he will never have the same friendship with Wilmer Difo, but it’s looking like Adams is going to make his mark in a big way.
Liz Barr blogs about the Nationals for The Nats Blog. Follow her on Twitter: @RaiseTheBarr1. Her opinions on the Nationals will appear here as part of MASNsports.com’s initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our little corner of cyberspace. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.