Adam Dunn will become a free agent after the 2010 baseball season is over. Adam Dunn has always been one of my favorite players. Adam Dunn makes no qualms about the type of player he is. He’s a first base slugger. Nothing more, nothing less. He’ll strike out a lot. He’ll hit a lot of home runs. He’ll walk a lot. He’ll have a low batting average. He’s viewed by traditionalists as slow and strikeout prone. However, sabermetrics analysts love him.
Baseball purists will look at Adam Dunn’s .249 career batting average and scoff at it. They will look at his 159 strikeouts per year and call him a human whiff machine. However, the production numbers from Adam Dunn are amazing. Before this season, here were Adam Dunn’s career production numbers.
.249 BA, .383 OBP, .520 SLG, .903 OPS, 133 OPS+
While the .249 batting average is embarrassingly low, Adam Dunn walks so often that his on-base percentage is an incredible .383. He’s walked more than 100 times seven times in his career. That’s more 100 walk seasons than Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez, Ryan Howard, and Prince Fielder combined. That .903 OPS is darn good. Good enough to place him in the top ten of the National League’s OPS two times in his career, but just outside of regular elite category. His career OPS of .906 puts him 18th amongst active players, 12th amongst first basemen and DHs.
From 2001-2009 Adam Dunn has averaged 35 home runs, 86 RBIs, and 101 walks per year. If you take out some of his early non-full year play, from 2004-2009 he’s averaged 41 home runs, 101 RBIs, and 112 walks per year. I love looking at the chart of Adam Dunn’s year-by-year statistics, it’s a marvel of consistency.
2004 – 46 HRs, 102 RBIs, 108 BB, .956 OPS
2005 – 40 HRs, 101 RBIs, 114 BB, .927 OPS
2006 – 40 HRs, 92 RBIs, 112 BB, .855 OPS
2007 – 40 HRs, 106 RBIs, 101 BB, .940 OPS
2008 – 40 HRs, 100 RBIs, 122 BB, .898 OPS
2009 – 38 HRs, 105 RBIs, 116 BB, .928 OPS
I cannot think or find another player who has been this amazingly consistent. Players like Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, and Ryan Howard have certainly been better or have better seasons, but it’s amazing to find numbers with so little deviation. For example, Prince Fielder hit 50 home runs in 2007 vs 34 in 2008. Albert Pujols has had as high as 137 RBIs and as low as 103. Ryan Howard has had an OPS range from 1.084 to .881.
I think one of the major reasons Adam Dunn is so overlooked is because of the elite first basemen in the National League. With Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, and Adrian Gonzalez getting all of the buzz, it’s hard for Adam Dunn to get any attention. There were times even Derek Lee, Mark Texeira, Lance Berkman, and Todd Helton were getting more attention.
The last time Adam Dunn was a free agent, he got an amazingly low two year contract for $20 million from the Washington Nationals. I believe word is getting out about how consistently good Adam Dunn is, so I find it hard to believe that he will not get a better contract this time around.
Various, “Adam Dunn”, Wikipedia
“Baseball-Reference.com – Major League Baseball Statistics and History”, Baseball-Reference