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).