Adam Dunn – 2007 Topps
June 28, 2011
Let’s All Pile On Adam Dunn…
1. He’s having an awful season.
2. His peripherals, though, are within reason for performance.
3. He did come back five days after an emergency appendectomy, which could have had long lasting issues.
4. If he was hitting home runs and batting about .250 or so, no one would give a rat’s patoot about his 100 whiffs.
It is a new era in baseball. Guys like Dunn, Jack Cust, Russ Branyan and Mark Reynolds may be on their way out. Those players aren’t aging well at all (though Reynolds is just 27 and has regained some of his mojo – OPS+ of 126) and may not be cut out for the speed, defense and pitching game that baseball is evolving back into.
(AND NO, IT AIN’T STEROIDS! There were about 43,137 other factors involved in the baseball offensive explosion, and I think the reduction in greenies have more to do with it than ‘roids.)
(All of you anti-Bonds-HOF pontificators can go soak…what he did was no better or worse than most everyone in the HOF did or would have done to be the best in the game. Gambling destroyed the game 100 times worse than steroids. Stop being so sanctimonious…that’s MY job!)
OK, with that rant done, I think it’s luck and the appendectomy that’s messing with Dunn’s season. His BABIP (batting average for ball-in-play) is .262 this season, way down from .294 for his career. His isolated power is .143, way down from his career mark of .265.
What that says to me is that he’s hitting weaker sauce and it’s finding mitts instead of gaps or flying over fences. That also says the appendectomy may have taken its toll more than you’d think.
But what’s really amazing is:
1. He’s hitting .019 against lefties with an OPS of .193. Now he’s always had a problem against lefties – with an OPS of .797 instead of .931 against righties. But with his power you didn’t really want to sit him against lefties. I’d bat him around sixth or seventh. But this season? WOW! He’s 1-53 against them.
2. Ozzie has no choice to write him in the lineup. The problem with the expanded pitching staffs that shrink the bench is that Ozzie really HAS to play Dunn. The bench guys are Castro (catcher), Vizquel (infielder), Teahen (corner guy AND a lefty to boot) and Lillibridge. He’s having a great first half, but odds are he’s going to plummet to Earth. He’s also in his age-27 year. As bad as he was in 2009, he’s that good in 2011, which means his 2010 may be what you can realistically expect from him. And that’s no Adam Dunn. That’s a 4-A players.
Oh, and Alexis Rios is also stinking up the joint as well, and so is Gordon Beckham. Juan Pierre is still Juan “Omar Moreno, Jr.” Pierre. Dunn’s not their only problem.
I would platoon Dunn with Lillibridge, for now, but that’s really not the best way to handle it on a long-term basis.
3. He’s still having a much better season than Tyler Colvin.
4. There are 16 players who qualify for the batting title that are having WORSE seasons than Dunn in OPS+. They are:
Chone Figgins, Miguel Tejada, Dan Uggla (!), Ian Desmond, Casey McGehee, Daric Barton, Rios, Pierre, Yuniesky Betancourt, Alcides Escobar, Hanley Ramirez (!), Beckham, Orlando Cabrera, Omar Infante (!), Cliff Pennington and Aaron Hill.
There are five players with lower WAR than Dunn:
Aubrey Huff, McGehee, Uggla, Chris Johnson, Raul Ibanez.
There are 19 players with lower WAR batting than Dunn:
Figgins, Uggla, Tejada, Desmond, Pierre, McGehee, Rios, Infante, Betancourt, Danny Valencia, Escobar, Alex Gonzalez, Cabrera, Barton, Hill, Carl Crawford, Pennington, Beckham, Kurt Suzuki.
Dunn’s not the worst, and he certainly has more upside the second half of the year than most of those guys.
It will be interesting to watch. I’m rooting for his next hit against a lefty. Of course, that may be in a beer league in 2018, but I can wait!