The Dayton Daily News adds some fuel to the fire on the issue of Adam Dunn and his alarming number of Ks. This issue is number four on Hal McCoy’s list of questions to be answered this spring.
Can new batting instructor Brook Jacoby find a way to cut down Adam Dunn’s strikeouts and convince him to cut down his swing, especially with two strikes?
Asked if Dunn’s strikeouts are a concern, Jacoby said: “Any time somebody strikes out 195 times, 168 times and 194 times in a three-year span, it’s a concern.” Narron says: “People tend to concentrate on what a player can’t do as to what he can do, and Dunn does a lot for this team.”
But not putting the ball in play 194 times a year is way more than once a game. This is not a concern, it’s a confirmed habit.
Everyone knows it would be great if Dunn could cut his Ks down dramatically, start using the whole field, resulting in him upping his BA and RBI production. The question is, can he make this change while maintaining his BB rate, his outstanding OBP, and his great SLG? I think that if Dunn was able to successfully alter his approach that he would be able to maintain his OBP and SLG, and this would place Dunn in the same category as Albert Pujols as one of the very best hitters in the game.
But at the same time, like Jerry Narron suggests above, I’m not ready to dismiss what Adam Dunn does for this team offensively now, with his current approach. As Paul Schaffer claims in todays Dayton Daily News, players who strike out a lot can be darn good.
Baseball is filled with truisms passed down through the generations. These truisms often become gospel to casual fans, and even to hall-of-famers such as Mike Schmidt, who should really know better.
In a recent interview with our Hal McCoy, Schmidt singled out Adam Dunn and Pat Burrell for that horrible transgression: striking out too much. A strikeout is awful, you know. It offends the baseball gods, who shower glory on “good baseball guys” who “play the game the right way.”
Whatever that means.
Of course, a strikeout isn’t a desired outcome, but it is not as terrible as old-school baseball guys would have us believe.
Here’s a list of the top nine hitters in the National League in striking out in 2006: Adam Dunn (194), Ryan Howard (181), Bill Hall (162), Alfonso Soriano (160), Jason Bay (156), Mike Cameron (142), Austin Kearns (135), Jeff Francoeur (132) and Chase Utley (132).
Those nine hitters averaged 35 home runs, 101 runs, 100 RBIs, roughly a .360 on-base percentage and a .524 slugging percentage.
Yeah, that offense sure stinks.
So the lesson here, kids, is that strikeouts aren’t great, but they aren’t the end of the world — and don’t believe everything a “baseball guy” tells you, even if he is a hall-of-famer.
I’m hoping this article may help enlighten some of the casual fans who see Dunn’s strikeouts as his biggest downfall. Surely they give him room for improvement, but they don’t decrease his value near as much as some of the announcers and writers would have you believe. I believe Dunn’s defense in the OF is his biggest hole in his game right now. Hopefully we will start seeing more articles spelling out what Dunn does for the team, 100 Rs (.380 OBP) and 100 RBIs (.513 SLG) per year, and less of what people wish he’d done for the team.