By Ryan Korby
Reflecting back on Adam Dunn’s first -- and maybe last --two years as a National, the thing that Washington will most miss about the big fella, whenever he leaves, is his consistency at the plate. I took a look at his career statistics today and the thing that struck me was how invariable Dunn is from year to year. Most people are familiar with the fact that until last year, Dunn not only put up five straight years of 40 or more home runs, but in the four consecutive years leading up to 2009 he hit exactly 40. It’s a real possibility that with three games to go, Dunn crushes two more and hits exactly 40 home runs for the 5th time in his career. What’s even stranger is that Dunn is even more consistent from a statistical standpoint in RBI, which he has less control over and should have more variability from year to year. The last four years he has 106, 100, 105, and 103 RBI.
Things are about to get a little technical, but bear with me and we’ll bring everything together.
I decided to see how Dunn stacked up to another power hitter known for his consistency, Albert Pujols. If Pujols is the “Machine,” then Dunn should be called the “Robot.” Compared to Pujols, who is very consistent from year to year in his own right, Dunn looks like he was programmed to hit 40 home runs and knock in 100 runs by a Six Sigma Black Belt. If we look at their careers since 2004, when it appears Dunn’s wiring was replaced with a Cyborg’s, Dunn’s standard deviation (a measure of variability) of home runs is 2.7, Pujols’ is 6. Over the same time period, Dunn’s standard deviation of RBI is 4.6 compared to Pujols’ 11.8.
To show that the Majors haven’t been overrun by androids, compare those numbers to someone less consistent: Juan Uribe. Juan’s standard deviations for home runs and RBI are 5.7 and 14.4. For a player who jacks a lot fewer home runs and averages half the RBI that Pujols does, this level of variability is much higher than that of Dunn and Pujols (this is based on the Coefficient of Variation, dividing standard deviation by average, fun homework assignment for those who like stats).
OK. No more stats. I promise. The point is, I think you’d be hard pressed to find another batter in the history of baseball who has performed at such a high level with so little variability from year to year. It’s one of those unusual and quirky things that makes baseball so fun to follow. I’ll be rooting for Dunn to hit two more home runs this year to get him to the magical 40 mark again. If he does and doesn’t get any other hits, he’ll also have the same number of hits, 146, as last year. That’s the kind of trivia you know and love that you see all the time from the Elias Sports Bureau. (a quirky note: Mark Teixeira had exactly 177 hits and 33 home runs in both 2006 and 2008. His RBI totals were different, 110 and 121, respectively.)
Box Seats blogger
| September 30, 2010; 5:00 PM ET
Categories: Nationals, Ryan Korby | Tags: Adam Dunn, Nationals
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