In the latest edition of The Bill James Gold Mine, James awarded his “Clutch Hitter of the Year” to Manny Ramirez (who was certainly deserving). In the discussion about the award, James identified only two other players who had outstanding years in the clutch. One was Houston’s Carlos Pena. Marty Brennaman would be surprised to hear the name of the other clutch hitter:

Another guy who had a really good year in the clutch is a player who had a similar winter (to Ramirez), Adam Dunn. Dunn had just 59 clutch at bats and hit just .288 in clutch situations — but 14 of 17 clutch hits were for extra bases, including a major-league leading 9 bombs. Think about it this way: The Atlanta Braves didn’t have anyone on their team with more than one clutch homer, and the team total was 5. Adam Dunn had 9. That’s a bunch.

I know many of you are tired of hearing about Adam Dunn, but it’s difficult not to be disgusted still at the treatment of the guy at the hands of people who wanted only to focus on his weaknesses, rather than the things he did well. And the things that Dunn did well, he did very well.

41 Responses

  1. Scott

    I completely agree with you that he was mistreated and hammered for his weaknesses. And the things he did well, he did do very well. The problem is, the things he didn’t do very well (mainly play defense) he did them very poorly. So his strengths had to be extremely strong to make up for his extremely bad defense. That’s not a commentary on whether or not he should still be on the Reds, I’m just saying he was extremely leveraged. The moment his bat stops carrying his fielding, he becomes highly overpaid very quickly.

  2. GregD

    If it’s not about sac flies and avg with RISP, Marty doesn’t care.

    He actually complained in the beginning of Sunday’s game in the first inning. After Taveras led off the game with a double, Dickerson flew out to LF, and the complaint was that he didn’t “get the job done” because he didn’t “move the runner over.”

    1st inning. RISP, a fast runner at that. No outs. You want to sac a runner to 3rd base?

    And as I joked yesterday, Dunn is not clutch. The Nationals 0-7 record are all the proof you need.

  3. Bill Lack

    Wasn’t Dunn’s defense in LF last year “average” by the measurable defensive ratings? I thought someone had mentioned that at some point.

  4. Beavertucky

    It would have been interesting to see how the self-proclaimed leader of the worst team in baseball would have turned out had he not been exposed to King Griffey’s lacksadaisical attitude as a young player.

  5. pinson343

    I’m not surprised at all by this information. If you go back to previous years, I’m sure you’ll find a steady pattern of clutch home runs.

  6. GregD

    Bill – yes, both statistically and subjectively, IMHO.

  7. Kurt Frost

    ‘I’ve watched more Nationals games this year than Reds’

    Talk about a glutton for punishment.

  8. per14

    As you’ve probably all noticed, he is off to a real good start. I wouldn’t surprised at all if this is the year he really puts it together and has a .280/.425/.600 type year.

  9. Jason1972

    The man love for Adam Dunn on this board never ends. How many postseasons did the Reds make with Donkey on the roster?

  10. David

    First off, didn’t we have a discussion awhile back about how clutch hitting is a fictional stat because from year to year it changes so dramatically that it isn’t reliable? So, to use this stat to again bring up Dunn means more that we are longing for the days of yesteryear than focusing on the team the Reds currently assembled.

    Second, why is it disrespectful to note the obvious flaws with a players’ game? While a K is an out is an out, I was more concerned about his .avg (yes yes an overvalued stat) with RISP and awful defense.

    Last, nobody knows what transpired between management and Dunn, so let’s all ONCE AND FOR ALL lay off the “they ran him out of town” mantra. It never occurs to anyone that Dunn said he wasn’t coming back so the Reds got value in return. PS I’ve got tickets to the Brewers/Reds on the 15th to watch Micah Owings.

  11. GregD

    “How many postseasons did the Reds make with Donkey on the roster?”

    The same number that they’ve made with Harang on the roster…yet no one looks at the team’s overall record the past 5 years and blames it on Harang.

  12. Mark T

    At what price? 40 bombs, a hundred walks, a hundred strikeouts, zero SF’s, poor to average defense .. at what price?

    And I do remember reading in James that clutch hitting is a made-up stat – that most players hit what they hit under pressure as not. Dunn’s numbers were probably outliers.

  13. Kurt Frost

    I hadn’t noticed his start this year because I don’t follow the Reds East Coast.

  14. Andy

    It is ALL Dunn’s fault the Reds didn’t make the playoffs while he was here. It had nothing to do with opening day starters Joey Hamilton (2002), Jimmy Haynes (2003), Corey Lidle (2004), or Paul Wilson (2005).

    Harang (2006,2007,2008,2009) (one of the most underrated pitchers in the game) was the only opening day starter during Dunn’s tenure that would be considered anything better than average.

  15. Matt WI

    @ GregD… point well taken.
    I have a hard time singling out one player as responsible in a team game. If Gonzo doesn’t start hitting, I may have change that opinion. If we’re going to be lustful for the past, why aren’t we talking about Josh Hamilton? I don’t care that we got a great deal in return, we could still use him. My fear is that the organization thought they had two “Hamiltons” in Josh and Jay Bruce. It’s not out of the realm of possibility they traded the wrong one.

  16. brublejr

    That surprised me that his numbers were that good. Most of us think he still should be on this team, BUT what it came down to was $$$$ and the Reds didn’t think he was worth 15+Mil a year. He was looking for money like that and nobody came calling. What pisses me off is that Dunn management doesn’t feel Dunn is worth 15 mil but Coco is worth 12 mil….stupid.

  17. Brian

    I haven’t seen Dunn’s numbers since the Nationals have yet to win a game.

    However, he was mistreated while he was here but lets move on. I like our team this year and the way it is built. Lets focus on Votto, Bruce, EE, Harang and all the rest and not worry about the past that is Dunn and Griffey and half the Nationals team.

  18. Y-City Jim

    The Nats are much like the mid-2000s Reds – a bunch of offense but not an ounce of pitching. I think the Louisville rotation is superior to Washington’s.

  19. Max

    As a ballplayer Dunn is a poor investment to an organization. His actual value on the field is far less than what he’s being paid. Don’t quote me the numbers….I’ve been watching him for years and trust my eyes. Thank god he’s playing elsewhere.

  20. Mark in CC

    #1 Good point Beavertucky. I’m glad Jay Bruce won’t have to experience the same thing.

    #2 This horse has been ridden so far into the ground you can only see the tops of its ears.

    #3- It was about the money. He might still be with the Reds if he had been willing to take what the Nationals are paying him.

    By the way someone can disrespect me all they want for the money he got paid.

    #4 – It hasn’t been all his fault but when you are at the top of the pay chain you get the credit and the blame. Look at Bush and Obama, same thing.

    #5 – If you would rather watch the Nationals than the Reds then that is enough said. It speaks for itself.

  21. Jason1972

    “The Nats are much like the mid-2000s Reds – a bunch of offense but not an ounce of pitching. I think the Louisville rotation is superior to Washington’s.”

    We should be going after Josh Willingham, IMO. He’s a RH bat who plays LF and has plus power, basically exactly what the team needs and he’s riding the Nat’s bench.

  22. Jose

    Honestly… i like volquez and owings
    but i would rather have an outfield of Bruce, Hamilton, Dunn
    cause we have plenty of pitching prospects and nowhere to put them
    this team is lacking the ability to bring in runs
    we have to rely on an inconsistant Edwin Encarnacion
    and Votto, Bruce and Phillips can’t do it all by themselves
    after the 3,4,5 their kinda screwed

  23. Matt WI

    If the Reds end up trading Harang or Arroyo, I’d love to get Matt Laporta out of Cleveland. Imagine an “outfield of tomorrow” of Bruce, Laporta, and Votto… assuming Alonso makes it along as hoped. Lock them up and they could rake the ball for YEARS.

  24. per14

    “#2 This horse has been ridden so far into the ground you can only see the tops of its ears.”

    You’re right and it’s a good point. But this type of discussion is about a lot more than Adam Dunn. It’s about the fact that certain broadcasters, certain sportswriters, certain talk show hosts, the team’s manager, and judging from their signings, the team’s upper management, are apparently so stubborn and pig-headed that they fail to acknowledge or even consider how the analysis of baseball over the last 10 years has turned a lot of old assumptions and theories on their head. (Okay, that was a long sentence.) But these people have a platform and they spout stuff that is frankly plain wrong. It cultivates a culture of anti-baseball intellectualism and explains why a lot of the smart fans don’t go to games and why the team hasn’t been above .500 for about 10 years.

    So, I don’t mind continued discussions of Adam Dunn because hopefully they will eventually cause people to open their eyes.

  25. RiverCity Redleg

    ^ Spell check on debacle.

  26. RiverCity Redleg

    He also says that Hannigan and Janish are in the lineup tonight.

  27. Jason

    @Bill: Dunn’s defense rated well below normal last year via Fangraphs.

    @David: Avg w/ RISP is almost exactly as fictional as clutch hitting.

  28. Andy

    I’ve watched a lot of Reds broadcasts and I’m pretty sure that the show is called “the Best Sports Show Period.” Someone should alert Mark Sheldon.

  29. Y-City Jim

    We should be going after Josh Willingham, IMO. He’s a RH bat who plays LF and has plus power, basically exactly what the team needs and he’s riding the Nat’s bench.

    Willingham may be off the bench now with Milledge getting sent down today.

  30. Y-City Jim

    He also says that Hannigan and Janish are in the lineup tonight.

    John Fay says the same thing. PTL!

  31. brublejr

    Yea! Hannigan and Janish, I can’t wait to see how they do…defensively they are better, and offensively they can’t possibly be worse.

  32. preach

    “I’ve watched a lot of Reds broadcasts and I’m pretty sure that the show is called “the Best Sports Show Period.” Someone should alert Mark Sheldon”

    Great line.

    I love ya’ guys. I really do, but I’m Dunned out. Can we do without updates everytime someone writes something with his name in it?

    I supported the Willingham thing early. Thought Jody Gerut would be good too. I’m still hoping Nix can pull himself back to his previous (hype) form. We still need a bat at shortstop. We are in trouble until someone can hit from that spot. Our lineup cannot support a defensive specialist.

  33. Matt Steele

    The Nationals 0-7 start this year has nothing to do with Dunn.

    My biggest problem with anti-Dunners sometimes is that they rely so heavily on anecdotal evidence even when objective analysis sometimes disagrees with it. I’m not getting into a scouts vs sabermetrics discussion but rather, how can you really judge attitude? The comments about player’s perceived attitudes or how they carry themselves as a leader on the team baffle me sometime because how can people actually know some of this stuff? Because their eyes tell them so?

    I’m not saying to rely completely on the stats, but the stats can illuminate abilities that can sometimes deceive our eyes.

    It was obvious when we traded Dunn that he probably wasn’t going to come back. However what was the harm in offering him arbitration? Maybe we could have gotten him for one more year at 10 million. I would much rather have him for another year than Micah Owings, Dallas Buck and whatever great free agents (Taveras?) we signed this past offseason….

    Could have been

    Dickerson
    Votto
    Bruce
    Dunn
    Phillips
    Encarnacion
    Hernandez
    Gonzalez

    and Homer in the 5th spot

    but alas…. time to move on to the future. I live in DC now so I can watch Dunn all of the time if I want.

    It’s harder to watch Reds games live… guess I have to invest in MLB.TV

  34. justcorbly

    Trading a player because you think his cost exceeds what you’d need to pay him, or because you’d rtaher spend the money elsewhere, is not focusing on his weaknesses.

    It’s worth remembering that everything anyone other than Reds’ management has said about this is utterly irrelevant.

  35. David

    Jose – The thing with Hamilton is that he is a great story but had a TON of question marks. You didn’t know if he could continue that success given his background. He falls into a great situation in that park. Remember, we only have pitching depth because we traded those two guys. Without Volquez and Owings it is a Harang, Arroyo, Cueto, Bailey, Thompson rotation which is not nearly as impressive.

  36. Shane

    Dunn wanted money more than he wanted to be here. Yes he’s a heckuva hitter. Yes he sucks on defense. Yes he has a lackadaisial attitude. He’s gone now. Get over it. You guys are to Dunn as tween girls are to Miley Cyrus.

  37. Dallas

    “Wasn’t Dunn’s defense in LF last year “average” by the measurable defensive ratings? I thought someone had mentioned that at some point.”

    It’s only considered an error when you mess up. When you simply can’t get to the ball it’s not a statistical strike against you.

  38. Dallas

    “At what price? 40 bombs, a hundred walks, a hundred strikeouts, zero SF’s, poor to average defense .. at what price?”

    Usually closer to 200 K’s…

  39. Tim-1

    Adam Dunn is not, and never was a good clutch hitter. I followed the Reds a lot when Dunn was here and the man just could not deliver when the game was on the line. I don’t care what the Dunn worshippers say about how each rbi is as good as another because it is just not true….PERIOD. If people believe that then it is useless to debate further because the cerebral chemistry is just absent for them in that regard. Dunn is a productive hitter when it comes to meaningless stats for HIS resume, but he is a severe liability for the team clutch.