Some of Dunn’s influence has been obvious. Signature moment so far: Ripping that three-run, first-inning homer against San Diego ace Jake Peavy in Arizona last Wednesday after the Padres had seized a 4-0 lead in the top of the first. The Snakes went on to win 8-6.

Some of his influence has not been so obvious, though it has been just as important: Lengthening the lineup and easing the pressure on some of Arizona’s other hitters. Allowing them not to be forced into pretending to be what they’re not.

“It certainly would appear that way,” Melvin says. “The number of walks we’ve had since he’s been here … whether that’s a contagious effect, or whether it’s the pressure certain guys don’t have hitting in the four hole, he’s really taken some pressure off.

“I think it’s made us a deeper lineup, and tougher to navigate.”

Since Dunn’s arrival, a team that once needed a search party to find paths to home plate suddenly is averaging 5.5 runs per game. And a club that rarely met a strike three it couldn’t hack at is averaging 4.8 walks per game.

Yes, it’s a small sample size. But even when he’s not hitting, he gets on base.

“He’s a monster,” Diamondbacks left fielder Conor Jackson says of Dunn and his .463 on-base percentage since arriving in the desert. “He gets on base, he drives in runs, he’s a proven power guy.

“It’s definitely something we were lacking. We have power guys in our lineup, but never power guys with a big on-base percentage.”

Interesting article. Seems like they’re embracing Dunn for what he is, not for what he isn’t. There’s even a hint of a “leadership role” in the article (a constant complaint about him with the Reds).

33 Responses

  1. David

    Some people say that he carved his bat out of a tree which was hit by lightning.

    Seriously… He is no longer on this team. I would love all the bloggers Bill, Chad, etc. to get on board with that. Why must I constantly read about everything that is written about Adam Dunn. He isn’t a member of the Reds, and I could care less about him. Unless you want to change the name of the website to DBack Nation get off your high horse and start covering your Cincinnati Reds not former players.

  2. Man Mountain

    Why must I constantly read about everything that is written about Adam Dunn.

    I don’t know, why must you “constantly” do that? I presume no one is making you.

  3. GregD

    That’s the great thing about written articles (blogs, newspapers, whatever.) They come with a headline. If you’re not interested, don’t read the article.

    What Dunn does this year, especially as he continues to do things that many in the media said he couldn’t do, is still very topical IMHO.

  4. Shawn

    Because those of us who knew better are rubbing it in to those who didn’t, that Adam Dunn can actually play baseball.

    Partly in hopes that the same mistake is not made again.

  5. Mark in CC

    I was 13 when Frank Robinson was traded.
    That was worse, he was better, GET OVER IT!

  6. GregD

    Funny you mention Robinson because Dunn ranks right behind Robinson in multiple categories of Reds career stats:

    Reds career OBP – Robinson 3rd, Dunn 4th
    SLG – Robinson 1st, Dunn 2nd
    OPS – Robinson 1st, Dunn 2nd

    A lot of the counting stats (R, RBI, etc) won’t directly compare because Robinson played 415 more games than Dunn and almost 2000 more plate appearances. Pro-rate up what Dunn’s career number would be if he spent 3 more years in a Reds uniform, and the counting stats are quite comparable, too. 3 more years and he likely would have been the Reds all-time leader in HR, passing Johnny Bench.

  7. Y-City Jim

    Why must I constantly read about everything that is written about Adam Dunn.

    Because the Adam Dunn situation reveals the mentality of the Reds organization and its media outlets. I find it so interesting that Arizona “gets” Adam Dunn and understands that 1) getting on base is extremely important, and 2) that it lets players be who they are. Dunn could have scored 300 runs a season and there would be this interest base that would complain that he is only hitting .xxx with RISP and only driving in 100 runs.

    I also find it interesting that the Diamondbacks organization seem to be encouraging their players to emulate Dunn’s patience at the plate and get on base by whatever means. Maybe this is why the D-Backs are good and the Reds aren’t.

  8. Matt Steele

    One thing to worry about though for the DBacks that is, reading Jerry Crasnicks article on today

    Dunn has very bad September numbers. July is usually his best month and September his worst. (Though that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll do the same this year)

  9. Chris W

    Watching Adam Dunn is far more entertaining to me, a Reds fan, right now than watching the Reds.

    I watched 1 Dunn AB last night, he drew a walk. That is more ABs than I have watched of the Reds of late. I’m pulling for the big guy to make it to the postseason!

    And in response to #2, is anyone still covering the Reds in order for us to post anything? And we had a nice thread about Corey Patterson up yesterday. We even had his picture on the front page!

    So see, we still cover the Reds!

  10. Shane

    You guys and your man-crushes -snickers-

    as bad as Dusty and Corey -snickers-

  11. Mark T

    What really scares me is this: Without Adam Dunn aboard, the team might start losing games. I mean, he made it happen for us. That’s what leaders do.

  12. Y-City Jim

    What exactly does management want this offense to look like?

  13. Chad

    I don’t want to hear Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Tony Perez, Tom Seaver, Joe Morgan, or Frank Robinson mentioned here ever again. Anyone who mentions them will be banned.

    None of those players play for the Reds any longer. GET OVER IT!

  14. Chad

    And if you don’t like what’s on this blog, no one is forcing you to read it. Go start your own blog and write about whatever you want. I’ll post what I want on mine, thank you very much.

    Disagree with us all you want, but don’t tell me what to post. I pay the bills here, I make those decisions.

  15. Y-City Jim

    I don’t want to hear Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Tony Perez, Tom Seaver, Joe Morgan, or Frank Robinson mentioned here ever again. Anyone who mentions them will be banned.

    None of those players play for the Reds any longer. GET OVER IT!

    Love it!!!

  16. Chris

    I’ve been thinking the same thing all week. The irony is that Dunn was under-appreciated in Cincinnati largely because the fans and baby-boomer-aged media never got over Pete Rose (or the “clutch” myth they created around Tony Perez).

  17. GregD

    Mark T – that is what is tired. Blaming the team’s losing record this decade on Dunn (& Griffey.) All the talk of moving on now that they are gone, a new era without Dunn, etc. It’s all BS.

    They haven’t and don’t have the pitching to compliment the offensive players that they’ve had.

    This team’s problem dating back to 2001 has been that they’ve allowed 6624 runs in 1268 games. That’s 5.2 runs per game. Only 12 times from 2001 to 2008 has an NL team had a single season score in excess of 5.2 runs per game. That’s a HUGE hurdle to overcome. And if you were able to put up that much offense, you’d likely only finish close to .500 and not near the 90+ wins you normally need to make the playoffs.

    Dunn is obviously at fault this year, too. It has nothing to do with the following ERA’s:
    Harang 5.35 (opening day starter)
    Arroyo 5.07 (Beg of season #2 guy)
    Fogg 7.29
    Belisle 7.28
    Bailey 7.93

  18. Shane

    Arroyo and Harang’s stats have been bloated by a few games, not indicative of their full worth, and when you add Fogg, Bailey and Belisle’s innings pitched all together they total up to approx. 15 games. Hardly the Reds season. If you swap those 15 games from losses to wins it raises us one spot in the standings.

  19. NickP

    The easiest way to make our pitching staff look better would be to get better defenders. There’s really no way to replace Dunn’s bat, so we should take the salary savings and get elite glovemen at SS and CF. That *could* save as many runs as lost by Dunn’s bat. Of course, that just gets us back to even, which means we’ll still be a horrible team. The SS could be as simple as (finally) moving Phillips to SS, but that’s unlikely to happen under this regime.

    The next step would be to move Edwin to LF and try to get a great gloveman at 3B, too, saving more runs.

  20. GregD

    A few games? Harang has made 22 starts this year. He had a 3.32 ERA after 11 starts + 1 relief appearance in San Diego. In his last 11 starts he has a 8.12 ERA, opponents are hitting .347 off him, and he missed more than a month on the DL. That’s more than “just a few games.”

    Is his “full worth” better than that? Sure. But he just hasn’t gotten the results this year. Esp not for a #1 starter.

    Arroyo has had 10 starts where he’s given up 5 or more runs (often in 5 or fewer innings.)

    Belisle, Fogg, and Bailey have made 27 starts. With Harang and Arroyo, that’s 60% of this team’s starts going to guys with ERA’s in excess of 5.00.

    Yeah, but let’s blame Dunn.

  21. Bill

    The second coming of Ozzie Smith at SS and Willie Mays in CF wouldn’t make up for the loss of Dunn’s way.

  22. GregD

    Fogg & Belisle’s career ERA is 5.
    Harang’s 4.29
    Arroyo’s 4.33

    Replace the 27 horrid starts of Fogg, Belisle, Bailey with an ERA of 5.
    Replace Arroyo/Harang #’s with their career ERA’s (which is higher than what they eached accomplished the past few years) and this team cuts it’s runs allowed from 3rd worst at 664 to 7th best at 591. That’s better than St Louis, but still behind Milwaukee and Chicago.

  23. NickP

    Bill: It definitely would, but we’d still be an awful team. Dunn’s bat is worth like 3-3.5 wins per year, and his glove takes away .5-1 win. So he’s about a 2.5-3 win player, which is good. Our shortstops this year have been terrible defensively, probably costing us (conservatively) 1 win. If we can find a +1 or +2 win glove, that would make up part of the difference. Getting a better CF than Hairston/Bruce (glove only) would probably get us another win. Letting Bruce play RF all year would probably be worth another 1-2 wins defensively, considering he’d be such a massive upgrade over Griffey’s awful glove.

    The math is there for you. This team should concentrate on the low hanging fruit first. For this team, the low hanging fruit is the defense. It’s easy to go from worst defense in the league to just average, which we should hope to do. It would improve our record considerably.

    It’s harder and more expensive to fix the pitching. Improve the D.

  24. Shane

    Dunn’s bat is worth like 3-3.5 wins per year, and his glove takes away .5-1 win.
    Oops, you forgot to subtract the strikeouts with runners in scoring position.

  25. Matt Steele

    I don’t think our defense is so bad that an elite gloveman at SS and CF could make up for what is lost by Adam Dunn’s bat.

    His Runs Created Average is about 100 per season
    His Offensive Winning Percentage (how a team of Adam Dunn’s would do over a season): .671

    As for what the direction of the team needs to be, obviously production needs to be picked up. I actually feel decent about our pitching staff for next year.

    Harang hopefully will bounce back with an off season of rest.

    (Daryl Thompson? Homer? Carl Pavano? lol most likely Owings though)

    Our offense will benefit from where it is now by Jay Bruce and Votto already having experience and continuing to mature. Phillips will keep playing like he is and hopefully E.E. will finally make a bigger step.

    It is unlikely that we will be able to bring in any big free agents. We will get outbid for the two best this year (CC and Texiera) and there is a large drop off after that.

    We have very very few tradeable assets. We couldn’t swing a trade for anyone that is very productive without giving up someone like Votto or Phillips (I’m assuming that Bruce is still untouchable).

    That leaves our farm system which is decent but lacks a lot of upper tier impact players. Alonso probably has the most potential but he’s just starting out. Stubbs might have a shot at being decent next year but there’s really not much.

    So we could be looking at some sort of lineup like this

    CF – Dickerson
    1B – Votto
    2B – Phillips
    RF – Bruce
    3B – Encarnacion
    SS – Gonzalez
    LF – Hopper? Hairston? Freel?
    C – Hannigan

    The top of the lineup isn’t terrible, but we’re not contending with it either. I’m really just not sure where we’re going to get productive impact players.

  26. Matt Steele

    NickP are you basing that on perception or actuality?

  27. NickP

    Runs created is not a great statistic, since the baseline is 0. You need to look at “above/below average” metrics.

    For instance, while Dunn is ~100 RC per year, Brandon Phillips is averaging right around ~75 over the last 3 years.

    We know Brandon Phillips is at best an average hitter. (Look at his OPS+). So Dunn is 25-30 runs better than an average hitter. 10 runs = 1 win, ergo Dunn has a 2.5-3 win bat. Those kinds of bats are not easy to find, generally speaking, unless you pay up for Teixeira (which would be an awful decision).

    We are dead last in Defensive Efficiency Rating. This is not perception – our defense is TERRIBLE. So yes, a great SS and great CF would make up for Dunn’s loss, but again, that just gets us back to even. We’d still need to improve beyond that to contend in 09 and beyond.

  28. Shane

    Bruce could very well replace Dunn in a year or two, he’s already learning how to strike out really well.

  29. Chris

    Ever since I saw Tampa’s defensive improvement (and standings improvement), I’ve been thinking along the same lines as NickP.

    But I also share Matt Steele’s concern: That there’s not a tremendous amount of room for upgrades – at least not the type of upgrades that can also hit somewhat.

    An OF of XXX/YYY/Bruce will almost certainly be better defensively than Dunn/Bruce/Griffey – but the same can be said for Dickerson/Patterson/Bruce, and we’re seeing what that looks like.

  30. Matt Steele

    Haha NickP, I was only wondering where you had gotten those numbers, hope I didn’t sound accusatory or patronizing. (I feel that I can come off that way on message boards/blogs sometimes)

    Anyway we are getting a slick fielding SS back next year with Gonzalez so maybe that will help. I know the defense in general will probably be improved over this year (at least it better be) and our pitchers will have improved. Stubbs is reputed to be a very good defensive CF so perhaps he’ll play and move dickerson to left which would definitely improve our defense.

    I think in 09 we’ll be better than the Pirates for sure and an off chance at being better than the Astro’s but in the near future, if we hope to contend, I agree with NickP in that we need to greatly improve our team’s OBP and offensive capability in order to get past breaking even.

    Does anyone have any ideas where that production will come from?

  31. GregD

    Not from Gonzalez. His OBP is pretty bad. And I don’t know that we should expect “slick fielding” from him either. He hasn’t played in two years, and by some accounts was beginning to show signs of being past his prime (which was still good) the one year he did play here.