Adam Lind has flat out struggled to begin the 2012 season. In 132 Plate Appearances, Lind put up a .186/.273/.314 line to go with 3 Home Runs and 11 RBI. when faced up against Left Handed Pitching, the Blue Jays 1st Baseman managed to hit a mere .129 forcing Farrell to sit the former Silver Slugger when the team squared off against South Paws.
Unfortunately, Lind’s struggles at the dish carried over to the field where the 28 year old has made 5 Errors in 29 games at 1st this season. Compare those totals to the 4 that he made in 2011 (109 games) and its tough to imagine his lack of offense not having a negative effect on the way he plays the field.
This afternoon, news broke that Lind had been sent to AAA Vegas for Yan Gomes. To put things in to comparison, Lind has never played in Las Vegas. The last time the power hitting lefty was in AAA, it was with the Syracuse Sky Chiefs in 2008 prior to the team switching affiliates.
The move should simply be to take some pressure off Lind and allow him to work on things while not having to worry about hurting the Major League team. Lind has emphasized the importance of the cleanup hitter to the club and has put a lot of expectations on himself to perform, perhaps a stint in AAA will help to ease some of that pressure and help him break out of the slump. As Mike Wilner noted, it worked for guys like Jeff Francouer, Cliff Lee and even former Ace Roy Halladay.
Gomes however turned some heads in the spring after putting up an impressive .333 Batting Average while with the big league club. He continued to hit well in AAA compiling a .359/.351/.565 line to go with 5 Home Runs and 22 RBI’s in 33 games this season. The Brazilian native was drafted as a Catcher but found himself splitting time at 1st base in Vegas as Blue Jays management wanted to see what he could do defensively.
Catching is one of the Blue Jays deepest positions as far as minor league talent is concerned having high ceiling players in guys like A.J. Jimenez and former Eastern League MVP Travis d’Arnaud. With such a log jam of talent coming through the system, Gomes best shot to crack the Major League roster is at one of the corner infield positions.
With Lawrie’s suspension on the horizon, he could see time at both 3rd and 1st base in the next couple of weeks but the majority of his time should be spent at 1st as it will give Encarnacion a shot of remaining hot as the Blue Jays Designated Hitter.
Gomes will amass his share of Strike Outs while with Toronto. Playing for Las Vegas, he racked up 26 K’s in 33 games while managing to walk a mere 6 times in the process. In that regard, he is similar to Lind who Struck Out 24 times in 34 games at the MLB level this season however Gomes has the (PCL) batting average to back him up when making the comparison.
At this point, Gomes should be considered a stop gap as Lind will have to take some time and figure himself out in AAA. By no means do I think that Gomes will not become a Major League regular, In fact I believe he will be quite good for the Blue Jays in the coming years, I just think that he may require some more time in the minors to fine tune such skills as working the count, laying off breaking pitches in the dirt, etc.