Can Adam Dunn Turn it Around?

May 4, 2011

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(Photo Credit: Getty Images, By: Christian Petersen)
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Adam Dunn is hitting .157 with three home runs and 12 RBI. He’s never been one to hit for average, as evidenced by his lifetime .249 average, but this is ridiculous.
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Even when he was hitting poorly though he was a consistent power threat. His OPS always seemed to be around .900. He hit 46 home runs in 2004 before hitting 40 for four straight years and 38 for two. He had a down year of 92 RBI in 2006, but has had between 100 and 106 RBI since 2004. I don’t know if there has ever been a more consistent player in baseball.
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Until this year. Dunn is on pace to hit 15.7 home runs with 62.7 RBI. Those aren’t the numbers you expected when you took Adam Dunn. So what gives?
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It doesn’t give his owners much solace, but he has missed seven games this year. Not to mention the fact that he quickly, perhaps too quickly, returned from his appendectomy. I know, I know Matt Holliday is doing just fine, but everybody is different. Remember that an appendectomy usually meant a trip to the disabled list. He may be able to play, but you’d be kidding yourself to think he was at 100 percent. Dunn was hitting .286 (four hits in 14 ABs) before his appendectomy and .130 (nine hits in 69 ABs) since.
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Dunn is also still getting accustomed to the American League. After ten years of playing in the National League, it is understandable to struggle a bit as he gets familiar with the ballparks and the pitchers.
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Of his 83 at bats, 30 have come against Jeremy Guthrie (2), Justin Verlander (3), Dan Haren (3), Jered Weaver (3), Francisco Liriano (4), C.C. Sabathia (3), Brett Anderson (2), Trevor Cahill (2), James Shields (4), Jose Valverde (2), Joakim Soria (1), and Mariano Rivera (1). He has just two hits (.067) against them.
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Adam is also dealing with a some poor luck. His .213 BABIP is the lowest of his career and 81 points off his career mark of .294. Eventually he’ll start to hit the ball out of the ballpark and not right at the defense. He’ll get more comfortable with the league and he’ll get his strength back. He may be in too big of a hole to give you 38 HRs and 100 RBI, but he’s still capable of 30 and 85. At this point, I’ll take that.
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Now is probably the best time to buy low on Adam Dunn.
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