The poster boy for "three true outcomes" is on a record-setting pace.
Adam Dunn is usually one of the first players to come up when the three true outcomes are discussed, and his bounce back year on Chicago's South Side has him on pace for the most Adam Dunn-like (or Rob Deer-like) season in baseball history.
Adam Dunn continues to make a big comeback from one of the worst seasons in major-league history, and Bryce Harper hits his first homer.
The Monday Takeaway
With 11 home runs in 150 plate appearances entering Monday’s game against the Tigers, Adam Dunn had come all the way back from one of the worst offensive seasons in history. Well, almost all the way.
The one thing Dunn had not yet done was go deep against a left-handed pitcher. The last time he did that, Dunn was still a member of the Nationals, the Democrats still controlled the House, and the most salient things being occupied were airplane lavatories on cross-country flights.
Cycling is, above all, a team sport, and the tactics involved are as complicated as those of baseball or basketball. "Ever try to explain the infield fly to somebody?" Armstrong asked me when we were in Texas, where he lives when he is not racing or training in Europe. --New Yorker, 2002
The tater trots for April 20: two inside-the-park home runs, plus an invalid trot from David Ortiz!
What do you do when two different players each hit an inside-the-park home run on the same night? Normally, one is good enough for Home Run of the Day, but how do you choose? And what if they both come on a once-in-a-century day where two storied teams are wearing fantastic uniforms from generations past while celebrating the birthday of a park like Fenway? Especially when there are six different home runs in that game? And let's not forget a pair of home runs from last year's sad sack story Adam Dunn, or home run number 631(good enough for fifth all-time) from Alex Rodriguez?
While most players don't need to prove themselves in spring training, the pressure is on for Adam Dunn.
For most players, spring training stats are meaningless. As long as they are healthy, their swings or deliveries are in order, and their bodies are conditioned for the 162-game grind, all the March 0-fers and five-run duds will be forgotten come Opening Day.
That’s not the case for Adam Dunn. No one in baseball needed a clean slate after last season more than the 32-year-old Dunn, who hit an awful .159/.292/.277 and was worth –2.7 WARP, making him the absolute worst player in the league. Prior to 2011, Dunn had been remarkably consistent, slugging between 38 and 40 home runs in six consecutive seasons. It was hard to believe that all of his talent could have slipped away so suddenly, but after an impossibly bad 597 OPS in the first half of the season, Dunn somehow managed to drop even further to 519 in the second.
Adam Dunn's 2011 season was painful to follow first hand, but there are a few reasons for hope.
"He spent hours fretting whether to ask for help or wait it out. Some day the slump was bound to go, but when? Not that he was ashamed to ask for help but once you had come this far you felt you had learned the game and could afford to give out with the advice instead of being forced to ask for it. He was, as they say, established and it was like breaking up the establishment to go around panhandling an earful. Like making a new beginning and he was sick up to here of new beginnings. But as he continued to whiff he felt a little panicky. In the end he sought out Red Blow, drew him out to center field and asked in an embarrassed voice, 'Red, what is the matter with me that I am not hitting them?'"
Which outfielders and DHs proved to be the biggest black holes in the majors?
Picking up where I left off on Friday, we continue hunting the fish at the bottom of the major-league barrel in search of the positions where teams got the worst production—worse than the Replacement-Level Killers, but without the burden of toiling for a contending team. As with their catching and infield brethren, the following players helped produce tornado-level disasters amid their lineups, often at salaries that represented far more than just soft breezes running through their teams’ bank accounts. These are the Vortices of Suck.
The Cubs finished fifth last season, and the White Sox finished third, but the moods of their respective fan bases don't mirror their showings in the standings
You don’t really meet a serious baseball fan, native to Chicago, who roots for both the White Sox and the Cubs.
This is the only two-team town in which I’ve resided, so I don’t know if there is a similar divergence in New York, Los Angeles, or the Bay Area. I have a Chicago friend who is a transplanted New Yorker—he loves the Mets but absolutely despises the Yankees and everything Derek Jeter stands for. (Winning?) My own mother lives in central Missouri and roots for both the Cardinals and Royals, which might not be quite the same thing but shows a certain generosity of spirit. Undoubtedly there are many in Chicago who root for both teams, who grew up in some neutral suburb or West side neighborhood and just like their baseball however they can get it. Those people, assuming they exist, are a decidedly silent minority.
It's a race against time in the nation's capital, but no Franke Potentes were harmed in the course of a potential five-peat.
Adam Dunn is the prototypical Three True Outcomes hitter, someone who earns his keep by getting on base and jacking home runs. His fielding makes Pat Burrell-relegated to DH duty-resemble a Fielding Bible award-winner, and while he may have swiped 19 bags in the 2002 season, few, if any, regard Dunn as a baserunning asset these days. Dunn gets paid to rake, and his astute yard work has resulted in 40 or more home runs in each of the last five seasons. It may initially sound odd, but only five players who debuted in or after the 1954 season have been able to accomplish the same feat: Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds. That's four of the greatest home-run hitters of all time, and Dunn, a guy lampooned for the non-hitting aspects of his game to the point that one might think he starred in Dorf Goes Fielding. Sosa and Rodriguez extended their feats all the way into a sixth season. The table below shows pertinent home run data for the group:
Player Years HRs Average StDev
Adam Dunn 2004-08 206 41.2 2.40
Ken Griffey Jr 1996-00 249 49.8 5.95
Alex Rodriguez 1999-03 239 47.8 6.05
Alex Rodriguez 1998-02 234 46.8 6.49
Sammy Sosa 1998-02 292 58.4 7.34
Sammy Sosa 1999-03 266 53.2 9.11
Barry Bonds 2000-04 258 51.6 10.80
We're only halfway through June, but acquiring the Reds slugger should be at the top of five teams' to-do lists.
In what is shaping up as a light midseason trade market, the big prize is Reds left fielder Adam Dunn. Dunn has been a lightning rod for criticism in Cincinnati, where his take'n'rake approach and Three True Outcomes output seen as a drag on the team's offense rather than a boost to it. Criticism of his defense and conditioning--justified to some extent--has taken on a piling-on feel. With the Reds unlikely to win anything in the next two seasons, trading Dunn is one step along the path to winning with Homer Bailey, Jay Bruce, and Drew Stubbs in 2009.