In today’s Enquirer, Paul Daugherty writes about Adam Dunn.

What do you want from Adam Dunn?

There is a problem with being 6 feet 6, weighing 275 pounds and being a good enough athlete that the University of Texas signed you to play quarterback. It is this:

People are always going to want more.

You hit 40 homers? Great. How many were solo?

You drove in 100 runs? What was your batting average with runners in scoring position?

And by the way: Could you mix in some defense?

Is it fair? Beats me.

If history holds, Dunn will hit at least 40 home runs, drive in 100 runs and score 100 more this season, for the third year in a row. He’ll walk at least 100 times. His on-base percentage will be near the 10 best in the National League. He’s all of 26 years old.

If that’s all there is, OK. As Reds manager Jerry Narron said Wednesday, “That ain’t bad.”

No, it ain’t.

Isn’t Dunn the only person in Reds history to drive in and score 100 runs in a season multiple times (Morgan did it once)? He also owns 3 of the Reds top 9 positions for walks in a season (Morgan owns the other 6). In other words, he’s doing things that have never been done in the history of this franchise.

Until Narron rested him Wednesday, Dunn was the only Red to play in every game this season. The last several days, he took early batting practice. You never hear a peep from him about switching positions. He doesn’t say much when allegedly ill-informed media people crack on his game.

Yet he affects an air of indifference. Dunn has said the worst advice he ever got came from former Reds general manager Jim Bowden, who told him he should pull the ball more. Yet some opponents are shifting all four infielders between first base and second base when the left-handed-hitting Dunn appears at the plate.

He has worked with Reds hitting coach Chris Chambliss, who has urged Dunn to use more of the field and to adjust his plate approach depending on the count he’s facing. But when he has fallen behind no balls and two strikes this season, Dunn is 0-for-10 with nine strikeouts.

Have they shifted all 4 infielders? I hadn’t seen that. I’ve seen the old “McCovey shift” where the SS was to the right of 2B, but the 3B? Let’s also remember, they used to shift the other way on Bench also.

If Dunn were older, it would be easier to say he was following the career path blazed by Dave Kingman. If he were 36 instead of 26, we all would be urging him to write “designated hitter” on his tax returns. We’d be looking at that size and athleticism and wondering, “Is that all there is?” even as he approaches 500 homers.

Couldn’t keep from making the Kingman comparison even though the only thing they seem to have in common is that they both his HRs, play LF, and strike out alot. But as Brian had posted last July, the comparison isn’t very valid. I would also mention that Baseball Reference.com lists comparable hitters at his age as the likes of Darryl Strawberry, Reggie Jackson, Jose Canseco, Troy Glaus, Boog Powell, Harmon Killebrew. Pretty select company and no mention of Dave Kingman.

5 Responses

  1. Bill Hansing

    Couldn’t keep from making the Kingman comparison even though the only thing they seem to have in common is that they both his HRs, play LF, and strike out alot. But as Brian had posted last July, the comparison isn’t very valid.

    I think it is more valid than you are letting on.

    They both him home runs and strike out allot prodigiously. And they don’t only play leftfield — they both play/played it incredibly poorly. They other apsect I would add is that they are both awkward and don’t do much else with the bat except strike out, walk or hit a home run.

    Boog Powell especially — and the other you listed were more than the “all-or-none” you get (so far) from Dunn and/or Kingman.

  2. Baseball_Minutia

    Being tall and striking out alot doesn’t make Dunn Dave Kingman the comparison is ridiculous in a column that is about how Adam Dunn the player is misunderstood, in fact it might be the most misaimed part of the whole column.

    Because Dunn is tall and hits HR’s and K’s he should be compared to Kingman, not Howard, not Sexson, not Strawberry… bullocks I say.

    What a player needs to do is not make outs and reach base.

    Adam Dunn does that better than most of the tall players in the history of the game, much better than Dave Kingman did.

    Going tall only

    Best vs the league in reaching base under age 26

    CAREER
    AGE = 78
    HOMERUNS vs. the league average displayed only–not a sorting criteria
    RUNS vs. the league average displayed only–not a sorting criteria
    RUNS CREATED/GAME vs. the league average displayed only–not a sorting criteria
    STRIKEOUTS vs. the league average displayed only–not a sorting criteria

    REACHED BASE DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE HR R RC/G SO
    1 Adam Dunn 202 1066 864 85 107 2.14 315
    2 Darryl Strawberry 191 1238 1047 119 140 2.45 300
    3 Dave Winfield 71 1104 1033 41 62 0.92 48
    4 Tony Clark 25 652 627 43 16 0.84 132
    5 Frank Howard 11 606 595 55 22 1.10 161
    6 Richie Sexson -30 666 696 55 18 0.45 168
    7 Dave Kingman -91 580 671 73 17 0.07 318
    8 Howie Schultz -152 471 623 -3 -51 -1.57 73

    Best all time 1000 ab’s
    CAREER
    HEIGHT >= 78
    HOMERUNS vs. the league average displayed only–not a sorting criteria
    RUNS vs. the league average displayed only–not a sorting criteria
    RUNS CREATED/GAME vs. the league average displayed only–not a sorting criteria
    STRIKEOUTS vs. the league average displayed only–not a sorting criteria

    REACHED BASE DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE HR R RC/G SO
    1 Dave Winfield 412 4351 3939 201 275 1.21 76
    2 Frank Howard 323 2589 2266 223 95 1.63 499
    3 Darryl Strawberry 271 2255 1984 203 203 1.86 486
    4 Adam Dunn 202 1066 864 85 107 2.14 315
    5 Richie Sexson 78 1452 1374 121 72 1.13 317
    6 Tony Clark 25 1530 1505 93 -4 0.58 316
    7 Walt Bond 4 430 426 11 0 0.25 -3
    8 Howie Schultz -152 471 623 -3 -51 -1.57 73
    9 Dave Kingman -276 2236 2512 285 34 0.23 832

  3. Tom

    Be nice if Dunn once in a while would not swing so hard and pop the ball down the left field line to get in those runners in scoring position. Homeruns are great(they go with a lot of strikeouts) but I’ll take the single that gets the guy in from second any time.

  4. al

    i think the point of the article was less to say that dunn is dave kingman, and more to say that he’s a good player but not a great player… yet, if we’re willing to wait.

    the kingman bit was unfair, the main point i think is reasonable. for the kind of power and on base skills he has, he doesn’t match up with the elite hitters in production.

    i think he’s a better hitter (for average) than what he’s showing now, and if he could start to hit .275 his OBP would go up, and he’d drive in 130 instead of 100.