This is my first post on the Redleg Nation, I hope you enjoy….

I saw a familiar stat in the Enquirer today. Its a stat that has been repeated over and over and over all year. So much that even I started believing it without ACTUALLY looking at the facts. I had assumed that the poeple that keep spitting out this ridiculous stat actually had some facts behind it. NOPE.

From the Enqy:
1020, Plate appearances since Dunn last hit a sacrifice fly. He hasn’t hit one since.

OK, why does this matter, and how many times in that 1020 ABS has he had a CHANCE to hit a Sacrafice fly? First let’s see the number of chances.

In 2005 he has had 259 plate appearances, and 12!!!!!! with a man on 3rd and <2 outs. In those 12 plate appearances he has 5 walks, and no hits 2 RBIs. Which gives him a .462 OBA. .000 SLG. Certainly that isn’t great, but the sample size is a bit small, don’t you think?

in 2004 in 678 plate appearances, he had a grand total of 43 with a man on 3rd and <2 outs. In those 43 plate appearances he had 9 walks, 3 singls, 4 doubles, 3 homers, 23 RBI. .386/.588/.975 Would you like him to take some off those homers so that he can get a sac fly and only score one run instead of two?

in 2003 in 455 plate appearances he had a whopping 21 plate appearances with a man on 3rd with <2 outs. IN those 21 plate appearances he had 6 walks, 2 singles, 2 homers, 15 RBI (he had two grand slams this year) .400/.667/.1067

So in 1392 plate appearances where he only has one sac fly he only has 76 plate appearances with a man on 3rd with <2 outs. In those 76 Plate appearances, Dunn makes an out 42 times. 45% of the time when Dunn comes up in this situation he extends the inning for his team, INCLUDING, 40 RBI, 5 singles, 4 doubles, 5 homers. Would you rather those homers be sac flies?

When you play for one run, you get one run, when you have Adam Dunn you get more than one run, just look at his Runs Scored and his RBI, DESPITE his .243 bating average.

BTW, this research took about 5 minutes…I found it at the secret site www.yahoo.com

mmalott@fuse.net

Join the conversation! 25 Comments

  1. Is there a more uttered nonsense phrase in the Reds community than the Sac fly comments?

    Probably not.

    Pete Rose and Vada Pinson, two bat on the ball contact guys in a hitters park were HORRIBLE at sac flies, it’s a chance roll on a roulette wheel.

    SACRIFICE FLIES YEAR SF PA OUTS
    T1 Vada Pinson 1959 0 706 460
    T1 Ryan Freel 2004 0 592 390
    T1 Frank Robinson 1958 0 623 419
    T1 Adam Dunn 2004 0 681 426
    T1 Eddie Milner 1982 0 452 319
    T1 Pete Rose 1973 0 752 472
    T7 Ron Oester 1984 1 601 443
    T7 Eddie Milner 1983 1 584 407
    T7 Pete Rose 1964 1 558 397
    T7 Leo Cardenas 1963 1 601 459
    T7 Eddie Milner 1986 1 462 330
    T7 Vada Pinson 1960 1 706 490
    T7 Vada Pinson 1967 1 684 482
    T7 Tommy Helms 1969 1 508 386
    T7 Pete Rose 1975 1 764 468
    T7 Don Hoak 1958 1 466 331
    T7 Pete Rose 1966 1 700 478
    T7 Cesar Geronimo 1975 1 557 388
    T7 Johnny Temple 1954 1 576 371
    T7 Cesar Geronimo 1977 1 538 382
    T7 Billy Hatcher 1990 1 545 381
    T7 Paul O’Neill 1991 1 607 412
    T7 Lee May 1968 1 602 427

    Welcome Matt

  2. You know, I’ve just been playing more attention to it with all of teh sac fly talk with Dunn, but I’ve personally seen 4 times in the past couple of weeks where Dunn has come up with a runner on 3rd and less than 2 outs.

    Twice he walked, scoring a run in one of those cases. Once he grounded to second, driving in the runner. Once he popped out to short left, not scoring the run.

    I’d say that’s not a bad ratio.

  3. One more thing…

    With the induction of Eric Davis into the Hall of Fame on Saturday, I’m noticing a great similarly between how this city is treating that #44 as opposed to this #44.

    With Davis, the city’s whole talk radio population was on him constantly because he was hurt to much and lazy, chasing a great player out of town. With Dunn, it’s because he strikes out too much and doesn’t hit sac flies. I REALLY hope that this city doesn’t drive another potentially great player out of town.

  4. Congratulations on joining the Redleg Nation.

    This topic is a little bit of preaching to the choir here. I’m sure all of us are sick to death of Brenneman ENDLESSLY harping on this insignificant tidbit, and using it as one more piece of ammo in the assault on Adam Dunn’s worth as a ballplayer.

    However, given the numbers you’ve cited, this complaint against Dunn may have more merit than I thought. Allow me to play the role of Devil’s Advocate.

    The idea of this situation – runner on third with less than two out – is that it’s usually a ‘gimme’ RBI situation. Even the batter’s failures (outs) can be called a success if they drive in the runner. That’s why it’s so painful to watch the Reds miss out on even these easy run-scoring opportunities so seemingly often – they can’t even fail right.

    Dunn’s .450 OBA is great, but it isn’t relevant to what we are trying to measure. Firstly, I would wager that some of those walks were of the intentional or may-as-well-be-intentional variety, to set up the double play or face the weaker hitter coming up next. Obviously, we shouldn’t count that against him, but at the same time those walks shouldn’t really be counted in his favor.

    What we are interested in is RBI – this is one situation where Runs Batted In is actually meaningful. I see 76 PA with 40 RBI, and that seems low to me given how easy it ought to be to get an RBI in this situation. How does this compare with other Reds in the recent past?

    Sean Casey
    2005: 13 PA, 9 RBI
    2004: 33 PA, 31 RBI
    2003: 29 PA, 22 RBI
    total: 75 PA, 62 RBI
    Much better than Dunn. In two of these three years Casey was a bad hitter.

    Ken Griffey Jr.
    2005: 15 PA, 11 RBI
    2004: 20 PA, 14 RBI
    2003: 15 PA, 6 RBI
    total: 50 PA, 31 RBI
    Better than Dunn. Also in limited playing time due to injury.

    Felipe López
    2005: 6 PA, 9 RBI
    2004: 12 PA, 9 RBI
    2003: 9 PA, 6 RBI
    total: 27 PA, 24 RBI
    Much better than Dunn. Felipe was a bad hitter up until this year.

    Wily Mo Peña
    2005: 1 PA, 0 RBI
    2004: 22 PA, 13 RBI
    2003: 9 PA, 2 RBI
    total: 32 PA, 15 RBI
    Ouch. As bad as Dunn, though in very limited playing time and showing improvement with experience.

    Rich Aurilia
    2005: 5 PA, 5 RBI
    2004: 23 PA, 12 RBI (Mariners/Padres)
    2003: 30 PA, 21 RBI (Giants)
    total: 58 PA, 38 RBI
    Better than Dunn. And we know what kind of hitter Aurilia is.

    Russ Branyan
    2005: 7 PA, 3 RBI (Brewers)
    2004: 8 PA, 5 RBI (Brewers)
    2003: 9 PA, 11 RBI
    total: 24 PA, 19 RBI
    Much better than Dunn. And he’s probably the best comp for Adam in terms of the Three True Outcomes hitters that they are.

    Conclusion: Adam Dunn isn’t as well-suited to the “RBI Guy” role that his power numbers would otherwise indicate, because strikeouts cannot drive in runs. Dunn gets on base extraordinarily well, putting others in position to drive in runs. Bob Boone may have been on to something back in the day, when he batted Dunn 1st or 2nd in the order.

  5. I misspoke about Casey. He was not a good hitter in one of those years, great in another, and decent this year. (where, oh where has the power gone?)

  6. Great research, C. This is along the same lines of the conclusion I’ve been coming to over the past week or so – my problem with the way Dunn is treated is that people keep harping on what he’s not, as opposed to what he is. But at the same time, as a staunch defender, I may keep denying Dunn’s weaknesses, too. Dunn may not be one of the great “run producers” in the league, but he does have incredible power and on-base skills.

    The real message about Adam Dunn is that OBP matters. “Not making outs” is simply more correlated with “scoring runs” than “making contact” is with “scoring runs.”

  7. I would argue that your premise is wrong. The goal of ANY hitter is to NOT make an out, even in that situation. The notion of playing for one run, is a very bad idea, in about 99% of the cases. Short of the 9th inning or later in a close ball game, I don’t want my best hitter making an out period. Making one out and getting one RBI is NOT as good as not getting an RBI and getting on base.

    Dunn is better at that than just about everyone else.

    I am not a statistician, but I have read several studies on this, the facts just don’t back up the sac fly theory of getting an RBI. looking at OPS is still a better way of judging a hitter than RBI or RS in any situation. Their are certainly more accurate stats than OPS to look at, but RBI aren’t one of them.

  8. As sad as it is to admit, Boone was on to something when he had Dunn batting 1st and 2nd.

    His power is wasted, but can you imagine the RBI’s that MR. GIDP would have if Dunn were hitting ahead of him?

  9. Granted – getting on-base without driving in a run is more valuable than getting an RBI by making an out. But I’m talking about making an out and not getting an RBI, which is what Dunn does more often than just about anyone else. If he had a 1.000 OBP here, that would be another matter, but he doesn’t. 55% of the time (actually, maybe 50% because of occasional groundout RBI) Dunn goes back to the dugout with no positive result whatsoever.

    As a statistic, the sacrifice fly is about as meaningless as they come. Thusly I am ignoring that measurement. But as a game event, it is a more valuable result than is a strikeout in the same situation. And the fact is that Dunn strikes out more often than other hitters.

    A sacrifice bunt is “playing for one run” – the batter is intentionally trying to make an out, likely putting his team into position to score one run at the most. Hitting a sacrifice fly is not playing for one run. It is an unintentional result of trying to hit safely, and just missing.

    Adam Dunn is tremendously valuable as an on-base machine (as long as he doesn’t have Aurilia hitting right behind him). He is simply not as valuable in any situation that rewards making contact, and a runner on third with less than two outs is one of those situations.

    And you know, the other Chris is probably right…given the vast undervaluing of Dunn (at least by the media) based on this flimsy pretext, we should all be inclined to compensate. Therefore I will do my best to never speak of this again.

    Segue: is it me, or is Marty becoming increasingly ascerbic, to a ridiculous extent? I’ve noticed more and more insult-editorializing over the past few years. He really seems to actively dislike Dunn, for example. And López was continually berated until about six weeks ago. Not that it’s all unjustified – he dishes it out to Milton and Wilson too, and Graves before he was cut loose…It’s nice not to have insipid radio announcers who lionize their entire home team, but goodness.

  10. I understand your point on Dunn, my only question would be at the major league level is an infield pop up or a fly out to shallow outfield, or a ground out to the 3rd baseman any different than a strikeout? I know in Little League its a HUGE difference, just wondering if they extreme OBA and Power in so many other cases don’t make up for his large number of this certain type of out. But your point is taken.

    I was wondering the same thing about Marty. I am not sure if I am just more aware of what he is talking about now, or if he is just becomeing a grumpy old man. Frankly I can’t hardly listen to him, when he gets on his rants. I never thought I would miss joe, but that dead air is much nicer than rants against good baseball players.

  11. Which is more useless stat: Sac Fly or Win-Loss record?

  12. Win-Loss records for pitchers sure can make GMs do some pretty stupid things. See Jimmy Haynes, Eric Milton, Paul Wilson, etc.

  13. Couple things here…

    First, on Marty…he’s grumpy when the Reds are playing badly, happy when they’re playing well. He’ll have his little tirades either way, but he tends to rip everyone with a team that’s 10 games under .500.

    On Dunn, I’ll agree with the peanut gallery here. It seems to me that he’s a #1 or a #2 hitter, not a #4 or #5. Dunn’s not speedy, but he’s not slow either. Wilkerson seems to work well as a leadoff guy in Washington with some good pop…maybe that’s DUnn’s best role.

  14. I’d have a hard time putting 45-50 HR’s inthe leadoff spot, though.

  15. That’s a good point about Marty – he’s more negative than anyone on the Internets. It’s just rip, rip, rip, snide, snide, snide, with some self-promotion thrown in for good measure.

  16. Is he really worth it? Is it really worth keeping Dunn when he could easily be traded to fix the Reds pitching woes while Kearns or maybe even Kelly takes his place in the field?

    Okay, Dunn is good. But he’s not THAT good.

  17. “I never thought I would miss joe, but that dead air is much nicer than rants against good baseball players.”

    Frankly, that’s why Steve Stewart is an apt replacement for Joe – there’s a good deal of dead air when it’s his inning to call. I really like Steve’s sense of humor (e.g. referring to a pitcher as having a convenient ERA of seven-eleven) and his general level of knowledge is good, but he needs work on the consistency of his word-pictures.

  18. Peter Gammons just floated the possibility of Kearns to the Braves for a pitcher and a catcher, who I believe he said was Brayan Pena, a 23 year old switch hitting catcher who hit .417 in Richmond, (mostly singles.) His major league average has been low, but he only has 23 at-bats and hasn’t gotten regular playing time. In addition to his AAA average, he also has 10 BBs and only 6 Ks in 103 at-bats.

    Interesting…

  19. I wouldn’t mind seeing them bat Dunn 2nd for a while. I also wouldn’t mind Casey batting lead-off. Granted, he doesn’t have the speed for a lead-off hitter, but he does get on base. I would love to see Lopez bat third behind those guys the way he’s hitting and follow it up with Griffey and WMP. This would take Freel out of the top of the order which I’m not crazy about, but I wouldn’t mind seeing that lineup with the way Lopez and Griffey have been hitting of late.

  20. On the proposition of trading Dunn:
    First, you’d have to believe that O’Brien was actually capable of recognizing and trading for good pitching. If he wants to trade Dunn for another Eric Milton, no thanks…I’ll keep Dunn.

    Second, Kearns and Kelly wouldn’t hit 45 homers combined, let alone would one of them replace Dunn individually.

    This team needs to understand the concept of sunk costs, and when they make their July trades,actually send cash with the player so that they get QUALITY prospects in return.

  21. Greg,
    The Reds wouldn’t recognize good pitching if they tripped over it. Trading any of the position players for pitching in the Reds’ case is a crap shoot. You know your losing front line talent but you have no idea what you’re going to get in return.

  22. You know, Dan O’Brien wasn’t the only GM pursuing Milton.

    And its not about replacing Dunn’s offense. Its about trading his offense for pitching. We can get at pitchers with ERAs 2.00 runs (conservatively) better than what they have now… okay, for argument’s sake… two pitchers, 2 runs fewer, thirty starts each… 120 runs fewer given up, if the Reds trade for pitching. Is Dunn now having, or has he ever had a 120 RBI season? No. He hasn’t even had a season where he may have reached 120 RBIs if he had had 600 at bats. This season he is on pace for about 97 RBIs.

    So, even if the guy they replaced Dunn with drives in 0 runs, the team still improves.

    Of course, if you consider that the pitchers would average 6 or 7 innings per start, you can knock off about a third of the fewer runs the new starters would give up. So, its closer to 80 runs fewer. But, the new pitchers would still be pitching poorly if they had ERA 2.00 runs below the crop they would replace. So if you knock 2.5 or even 3 runs off the new starters ERA, the team is still improved. All of this with a guy driving in 0 runs taking Dunn’s place.

    This team has depth in the outfield and only two pitchers that are worth the cost of their uniforms. The solutions seems quite obvious.

  23. O’Brien wasn’t the only GM pursuing Milton, but he was the only one that offered him $8 million. The Yankees were only offering $6 million and they aren’t on a tight budget. But I won’t bury DanO for the move simply because he never could have predicted an ERA near 8.00 for Milton, but he should have known that he wasn’t an $8 million a year pitcher for a team with limited funds.

    As for your trading Dunn theory, using RBI as the sole statistic to value a player is short sighted. Dunn does much more than drive in runs and in fact had 124 runs created last season. Even if you want to go basic on the stats, he scored 105 runs and drove in 102 last season. If you take out the double counting of his home runs, that totals to 161 runs that you would have to replace. It’s hard to replace that kind of production with a hitter, let alone a pitcher that only throws every fifth day.

  24. Again – who is going to trade two major league-caliber pitchers? And who trusts O’Brien to recognize them?

    And Blue, if your goal is to get two pitchers with ERAs 2 runs lower than the three stooges – I suspect that you’ll have it by default. Even the Stooges are likely to pitch significantly better in the second half…though Milton’s certainly challenging this belief.

  25. I’m thinking Milton’s days in the starting rotation are numbered. I was hoping he’d work out his problems but I’m begining to start think along the lines Marty has; “How can the Reds in good conscience…”

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