Adam Dunn: The New Dave Kingman?
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By Brian Madsen (White Sox Correspondent): Follow @brianm731
.159 Batting Average, 11 HRs, 42 RBI, 177 SO, $12 Million. Those are the #’s posted by Adam Dunn in 2011 during his first season with the Chicago White Sox in just 415 AB or two-thirds of a season. Quite possibly one of the worst statistical seasons in MLB history. Far from Dunn’s previous season averages leading up to that point in his career: .248 Batting Average – with 33 HRs and 82 RBI. These were not the #’s the White Sox thought they were getting when they signed Dunn to a 4 YR/$56 Million Contract prior to the 2011 season. Dunn never was a high average kind of guy, has always struck out a lot (as a lot of power hitters do), but also walks a lot. Much to Dunn’s credit, he turned everything around in 2012 hitting (only) .204, but with 41 HRs and 96 RBI. His turnaround season was a big reason for Chicago’s success in 2012.
Dunn has been one of the game’s premiere power hitters since 2004. Yet, to this date, has never been on a playoff team. He and the Sox came close in 2012, but fell short behind the Tigers. Dunn surpassed 400 HRss last year for the Sox, ( the same year that his teammate Paul Konerko hit his 400th. Konerko actually hit his 300th HR in the same game, back-to-back with, then teammate, Jermaine Dye) and has a great chance to surpass 500 HR’s. While Dunn will probably fall short of 500 HRs in his next 2 seasons with the Sox, you have to figure he’ll catch on with a team in 2015 and get there. A common complaint about Dunn is, and has been, his average. Last year Dunn hit a “robust” .204, yet still managed to have an OBP of .333. Not quite as good as his career OBP of .370, but not awful either. For a guy that strikes out as much as he does, Dunn sure walks a lot. Though Dunn walked 105 times last year, his K’s more than doubled that amount with 222.
Adam Dunn Highlights: Mature Lyrics – Parental Guidance is Advised:
Some might say that Dunn is today’s version of Dave Kingman. Dunn certainly strikes out more than Kingman did. He also walks a lot more. But, at first glance, they have very similar player profiles. Lots of power, don’t necessarily hit for average, both are really big guys at 6’6″. Both tend to be all or nothing type hitters, which can be very frustrating for a fan. They also are amongst the top players of ALL-Time for HRs hit Per AB.
ALL-Time HR Per AB List
|1.||Mark McGwire (16)||10.61||R|
|2.||Babe Ruth+ (22)||11.76||L|
|3.||Barry Bonds (22)||12.92||L|
|4.||Ryan Howard (9, 32)||13.51||L|
|5.||Jim Thome (22, 41)||13.76||L|
|6.||Ralph Kiner+ (10)||14.11||R|
|7.||Harmon Killebrew+ (22)||14.22||R|
|8.||Sammy Sosa (18)||14.47||R|
|9.||Albert Pujols (12, 32)||14.57||R|
|10.||Adam Dunn (12, 32)||14.60||L|
|11.||Ted Williams+ (19)||14.79||L|
|12.||Manny Ramirez (19, 40)||14.85||R|
|13.||Alex Rodriguez (19, 36)||14.93||R|
|14.||Juan Gonzalez (17)||15.11||R|
|Dave Kingman (16)||15.11|
Dave ‘Kong’ Kingman:
Dunn was drafted by the Reds in 1998. Dunn also played football at the University of Texas, but stop playing once he was moved from quarterback to tight end. Dunn made is MLB debut in 2001 with Cincinnati. He produced solid #’s for the Reds until he was traded to the Arizona Diamonbacks in 2008. LF was his primary position throughout his career, but transitioned into a 1B role as well. In 2009, Dunn agreed to a 2 YR/$20 Million Contract with the Washington Nationals. Dunn split time in the OF and 1B in 2009, while becoming the every-day First Baseman in 2010.
After Dunn’s contract with the Nationals expired, he signed a 4 YR/$56 Million Deal with the White Sox. This would be the first time in Dunn’s career playing for an American League team. It was also his first time as an everyday DH. As mentioned earlier, Dunn had by far his worst season in 2011. In early April of that year, Dunn had an appendectomy. He missed 5 games, and everything was downhill from there. Ozzie Guillen benched Dunn for the last couple weeks of the season. Some thought this was because the Sox didn’t want him to break the all-time strike out mark. Some thought it was because Ozzie knew Dunn was just mentally fatigued, and needed to look forward to 2012. It seemed like EVERY time Dunn came to the plate (at US Cellular Field), Sox fans booed him. Being booed by your home-town crowd can’t be good for one’s psyche. Did the appendectomy have any bearing on Dunn’s poor 2011 season? We’ll probably never know.
2012 was a much different season for Dunn. He bounced back to have a more prototypical Dunn year. He made the ASG for only the second time in his career. If the Sox are to contend for a playoff spot again this year (and in 2014), Dunn needs a repeat of 2012. As Paul Konerko ages, Dunn will see more time this season at 1B. He’ll spend the majority of his time at DH. While fans like the RHB-LHB-RHB in the middle of the Sox lineup, Dunn often hit third in front of Konerko and Alex Rios. If that lineup holds true in 2013, Dunn will likely have Jeff Keppinger hitting in front of him in the 2 spot. Though it’s been rumored that the Sox are still looking to acquire another LHB before the 2013 season, losing A.J. Pierzynski will make Dunn one of the few lefties in the Sox lineup.
US Cellular Field is, without a doubt, a hitter’s ballpark. With the short porch in RF, it’s a perfect fit for Dunn. Dunn grew used to hitting in The Great American Ballpark while with the Reds for many years, but some think “The Cell” is THE most hitter friendly park in MLB. Dunn is only 94 HRs away from the 500 HR mark. Could he reach 500 in the next 2 seasons with the Sox? Maybe, but that milestone will more than likely be reached in 2015. Whether Dunn re-signs with Sox after the 2014 season remains unknown. But, it’s logical to say that he will probably hit 500 HR’s, a milestone reached by (at this point) only 25 players in MLB history. On the other side of that coin, Dunn is currently 5th on the ALL-Time Strike out list. He’s only 1 SO behind A-Rod (who probably won’t play this season. Or, ever????) for 4th on that list. Reggie Jackson is still the ALL-Time leader, 566 in front of Dunn. Again, this milestone is unlikely to be reached by Dunn while in a White Sox uniform, but may eventually come to fruition in 2015 o 2016.
ALL-Time Strikeouts By A Hitter
|1.||Reggie Jackson+ (21)||2597||L|
|2.||Jim Thome (22, 41)||2548||L|
|3.||Sammy Sosa (18)||2306||R|
|4.||Alex Rodriguez (19, 36)||2032||R|
|5.||Adam Dunn (12, 32)||2031||L|
Dunn is who he is. He’s not flashy, he’s not fast, and he’s no Ozzie Smith in the field. He’s a true power hitter, the kind of hitter that every team should have. By many accounts of his teammates (both past and present), he’s also one of the funniest people in the game. He really needed that great sense of humor in 2011. Luckily for him, 2012 wasn’t as humorous.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
A big thank-you goes out to our ‘White Sox Correspondent’ Brian Madsen for preparing today’s featured article. Brian was born and raised in Chicago Heights, IL, a south suburb of Chicago. He attended Illinois St. University, majoring in education/teaching. Brian now lives in Joliet, IL with my wife Suzanne two daughters, Abby, 9, and Grace, 3. He has worked at The Little Guys Home Technology for 12 years as a salesman/system designer/custom integrator. Brian is an avid White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks, and Bulls fan. Follow @brianm731
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Posted on February 6, 2013, in MLB Player Profiles, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged @brianm731 on twitter, a.j. pierzynski, adam dunn, albert pujols, alex rodriguez, all-star game, arizona diamondbacks, babe ruth, barry bonds, Brian Madsen, chicago white sox, cincinnati reds, dave kingman, harmon killebrew, jeff keppinger, jermaine dye, jim thoms, juan gonzalez, mark mcgwire, ozzie guillen, ozzie smith, paul konerko, ralph kiner, reggie jackson, sammy sosa, ted williams, university of texas, us cellular field, washington nationals. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.