Adam Dunn, are you out there?

Because I like homeruns, and because I like players who are underrated and underappreciated by fans, media, and management alike, I really really like Adam Dunn. Now that he’s hitting like .380 to start the season, and has 4 dingers to boot, everyone’s come around. Dunn’s hit for average before — he hit .330 in 350 ABs between AA- and AAA-ball in 2001 before getting called up to Cinncy and sticking for good. Of course, is OBPs were more than 100 points higher than that, which means that he was taking a lot of pitches and walking a lot. If you take pitches against minor league pitchers, you’re going to see more mistakes, and get more hits of all varieties. Dunn is a smart hitter, and took full advantage of that. He continued to take advantage of mistakes in the majors: see his consistently high BB and HR totals. In 2004 and 2005 he had 80 and 77 XBH, respectively. An awful six or seven weeks at the end of 2006 killed what started as another fine season. Unfortunately for Dunn’s popularity with folks of the Baker-Morgan School of Counterintuitive Idiocy in Baseball Analysis, he’s never hit above .266 in the Majors. His quick start has converted some folks, and I’m not saying that Dunn doesn’t have the skill and smartness to adjust and hit .280 or so, and cut down on the strike outs a bit. If this comes at the expense of power and OBP in general, people might still be happy with that .280 that causes them to overlook 27 HRs. If Dunn is savvy enough to discern when to take a pitch, when to swing for the fences, when he should cut his losses and tap one to the opposite field or just put it in play, and when to take a close pitch and work for a base on balls, his game could come together as one of the finest in the league. After 9 games, it looks like that’s a possibility. While his Pitches per Plate Appearance are presently at a career low, he’s still drawn 5 walks in 9 games. It could come down to decision making: if you can make good decisions based on the information you’re given, you will get better results in the long-run — like in investing, or poker. (At risk of sounding dramatic) Dunn has an ability to take analyze pitches in a context and decide what his best play on each pitch is. But if this is just a hot batting average start for Adam Dunn, and if by June he’s hitting .250 again, what will come of him? Will Wayne Krivsky pull the plug and trade Dunn for spare arms like he did with Felipe Lopez and Austin Kearns? Or will he ride out the media blitz, realize that a .250 AVG and 170 SO are okay when you have a .950 OPS and 40+ HRs, and pick up Dunn’s option for 2008? If Dunn’s average is down to .250 or lower, and the Reds are out of contention by the trade deadline, I fully expect a smart GM like Josh Byrnes to steal Dunn from Reds. They’ve got plenty of B-prospects that Krivsky should be drooling over. What has this got to do with the Milwaukee Brewers? Not much, except that I wish Adam Dunn played for my favorite team, and that somehow, Doug Melvin was the GM smart enough to rob the Reds blind this time around.  (Yes, I know that we have enough outfielders, and that we have a first-baseman.  But this is a better hitting OF than anything we have).  I’m irrational.  Thats why I’m not a GM.  Yet.

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