Friday, February 13, 2009

People continue to be baffled by Adam Dunn

Adam Dunn -- OBP and home run machine -- just signed a two-year, $20 million deal with the Nationals. Aside from it being the Nationals, good for him. As a player the majority of the baseball talking/writing heads continually rip on, I love him.

But still, "His defense sucks! All he can do it hit homers. Walks are borrrrrrrrrring."

I pretty much summed up this article.

One would surmise that Dunn will be used to hit in front of or behind potential all-star Ryan Zimmerman, giving the Nationals a solid run producing combo in the middle of their lineup. However, when breaking down the numbers, this might not be the case. Dunn, despite his large OBP and 40+ homer potential is of minimal value on a club like the Nationals.

Forty home runs. Minimal value. There's nowhere else to go but up from here!

Dudes who hit 40+ home runs in 2008 = Two. Dunn and Howard.

That's actually the opposite of minimal value. Especially at $10 mil/season.

First, the idea that Dunn’s lofty OBP holds any sort of amazing value is blatantly false.

Ohhhhhhh doctor.

Dunn -- who is only 28 years old, mind you -- has a career .381 OBP. That's 21st among all active players. Higher than Utley (who is also older), Teixeira and Miggy Cabrera.

The idea that a top-twenty OBP you can get at a discount price is not of amazing value is blatantly false.

For his career Dunn has an OBP of .381 but when you subtract his home run total he has only scored 421 runs in 1,552 times on base.

While we're at it, let's subtract the best thing each player does in baseball.*

When Reyes doesn't steal a base he only scores 16% of time.
When Howard doesn't hit a home run he only scores 32% of the time he's on base.
When Pujols doesn't do everything awesomely Tony La Russa falls asleep.

An exercise in stupidity? You bet.

Oh, and runs scored is teammate dependent. That's why Dunn is awesome, he drives himself in. Sure, he may not be a "team player" in that he doesn't sit at second base clapping for Ryan Freel to drive him in. But who cares.

Of those 421 runs, 185 of them came after he walked. Dunn has drawn 797 walks in his career, meaning he has scored after a walk only 23% of the time. Of those 185 runs scored after a walk, Dunn has advanced (or been advanced by a teammate) into scoring position on 130 of them (70%). The point is that, unless he gets into scoring position, Adam Dunn’s walks are good for a run scored less than 25% of the time.

All this shit comes down to this: It isn't Dunn's fault.

All he can do is A) walk to first and hope some scrub can drive him in (note: sorry he can't steal two bags.) or B) hit a freakin' home run and drive himself in.

Either way, he sucks.

It is painfully obvious when looking at Dunn’s stolen base and doubles totals that he does a poor job of getting into scoring position when not belting the long ball. So, the question becomes, who is going to be moving him along?

Please tell me it's Christian "The Black David Eckstein" Guzman.

If he hits third (which Dunn’s done in only 125 of his 1,131 career games) then he’s a good chance of being advanced by Zimmerman, who is a double-hitting machine. However, Zimmerman has only hit in the clean-up slot 69 times in his career and usually hits third himself. If Dunn hits fourth, several of Zimmerman’s doubles will be wasted as Dunn does two things very well – walk and/or strike out.

This, this right here, is ridiculous. "He's only batted third 125 times! He'll go fucking crazy if he's moved one slot in the lineup!"

Look, it's not like he's going from playing left field to catching. He's moving (theoretically) from third to fourth, something hitters do all the time. Dunn isn't going to suddenly forget how to OBP .380 and hit 40 bombs because you moved him one spot in the lineup.

This also feels like Mike Walsh really wanted to write clogging the bases. Just do it! It feels so good!

The only way to squeeze any value out of Dunn’s OBP is to hit him second and put contact hitters like Zimmerman and Cristian Guzman


behind him in order to advance him into scoring position. Otherwise, Dunn’s on base percentage is just a number which has led to no viable run production outside of his home run potential. This has been a consistent problem for Dunn over the last eight seasons.

Again, not his fault. Sorry he can't walk to first, sacrifice himself over, steal third and score on passed ball, but hey, 40 homers and a .900 OPS comes with a price.

Dunn has driven in only 328 runners in 969 at bats with runners in scoring position (34%) for his career when not hitting a homer. Again, Dunn is outperformed by someone like Jose Reyes in this department. Reyes, despite a career slugging percentage of .436 (compared to Dunn’s .518) has driven in 235 runners in 632 at bats with men in scoring position (37%). In 2008 Reyes drove in 52 teammates; Dunn drove in 60. For the season Dunn had an OPS of .899 while Reyes posted a low mark of .772. Still, Reyes drove in only eight fewer men (minus homers) and scored 58 more runs than Dunn despite a 50 point difference in OBP and a 127 point difference in OPS.

This is so skewed it's a joke. You'd think he'd pick a comparable hitter to Dunn to make these numbers seem like it's a Dunn's fault. But no, how about we go with Jose Reyes, who hit 16 home runs in 2008. Subtracting homers from Reyes does nothing because he bats leadoff. In fact, 11 of his homers came with the bases empty. So there! *sticks tongue out*

Let's look at the RISP numbers for both:

Reyes - 144 PA/33 H/4 HR/2 2B/4 3B/53 RBI/21 BB/0.844 OPS
Dunn - 182 PA/32 H/11 HR/3 2B/0 3B/65 RBI/39 BB/0.929 OPS

This entire argument is also crazy because it's not like Dunn = Reyes. One of the bets SS in baseball who makes a cajillion dollars versus a top-twenty OF free-agent. It's not like the Nats had a choice between them.

Completely different types of players.

Dunn’s career OPS is .899- Good.

Dunn’s other career totals; 201 doubles, 59 stolen bases, eight triples while batting a mere .225 with 329 strikeouts in 969 at-bats (34% of the time) with runners in scoring position- Bad.

Really? You're picking steals and triples here? How about sac flies and infield hits while we're at it?

How about his NL home run rankings from '04-'08, which go 2, 4, 7, 3, 2? Or walks from '02-'08, 3, 6, 3, 2, 5, 1? Or how he's in the top 25 among actives in OPS+, BB, OPS, and OBP? And not getting paid like it?

Adam Dunn is really, really, really good at hitting homers and getting to first base. He won't save the Nats (who can?), but he'll hit 40 homers and walk 110+ times, all the while people admonish him for not scoring runs or something else dumb.

Oh well.

*numbers made up

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