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Can Adam Dunn Learn To Hit For Average?

Almost every time Bob Boone has changed jobs during the last decade-plus, he's gained a new perspective on Adam Dunn. Boone, then in the Reds organization, scouted Dunn in high school. ("He looked as big as a tree, and his teammates were this high next to him," Boone recalled today, lowering his hand to his hip.) Boone became the Reds manager in 2001, same year that Dunn broke into the big leagues. Since then, as a Washington assistant GM, Boone has watched Dunn from afar.

So, when Boone measures his first impressions of Dunn against Dunn's present-day form, he sees two things. First, a player with a fully actualized ability to hit balls farther than almost anybody in the sport. And second, a player whose other skills -- his speed, his fielding, his ability to hit for average -- remain underdeveloped, and not for lack of ability.

Boone believes this because he saw those skills when Dunn was in high school, and later when he broke into the big leagues.

"He could really run, he was a basestealer," Boone said. "And you know, 40 [HR], 100 [RBI] -- that's what you know you are getting with him. But to me, the .240 average is unacceptable. He can hit way better than that. I know he is way better than that."

As Dunn became more established in Cincinnati, Boone guessed, perhaps he gained a comfort with his skillset -- one gargantuan tool and a few dwarfed ones.

"I think having it come so easy to him at first was a factor," Boone said. "But as you get older, you have to work harder on your body. Now from what I've heard, he has really worked hard in the offseason, harder than he has worked in years past." As a result, Boone said, "I think his best days are ahead of him."

"When he first came up for me, he started off hitting over .300," Boone said, referring to Dunn's first full big league season, where he batted an even .300 before the all-star break. "Then he tailed off a little, which has been his problem. But he should be at that level now."

By Chico Harlan  |  February 13, 2009; 1:56 PM ET
 
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Comments

What's Boone's job title? He should focus on that.

Posted by: dclifer | February 13, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

40 100 and more walks than strike outs, that's all I want.

Posted by: 6thandD | February 13, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

From Boone's lips to God's ears.

Posted by: Scott_in_Shaw | February 13, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that he doens't actually atribute what his low average comes from? Is it the K's, is he not legging out anything on the ground?

I'm wondering if there is some amount of improvement possible in his game, both with the bat and the glove. If Boone is correct and some of the deficiencies in his game are because of "having it come so easy to him at first" then having to take a pay cut your first time through FA should be a huge wake-up.

They say he's worked hard to be in the best shape of his career, that's a good start, but the effort every day to improve his skills must be there.

There are precious few cases I'm aware of where players have improved their glove/field work after about 25 or so, and I'm not aware of many cases where power guys have been able to improve their average later in their career, but maybe a more well rounded aproach, ie drive the ball to the gaps to get more extra base his instead of swinging for the fences.

I'm not that familiar with his game yet, but this is at least encouraging.

Posted by: estuartj | February 13, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

It might be nice if Eckstein can improve the average of AD, but, not at the expense of his power numbers. We can now refer to the Nats history as before and after AD. I hope the after resembles nothing like the before.

Posted by: cokedispatch | February 13, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm so thankful that Redding is gone.

----------------
From Rotoworld:

Tim Redding said Thursday that he expects to be the Mets' fifth starter.

Redding looked like a lock for the rotation after signing a one-year, $2.25 million deal last month, but the New York Post speculates that Freddy Garcia could claim the job if healthy, leaving Redding in a long relief role. "It's my assumption, and I've been told that I've been brought in here to be a starting pitcher, bottom line," Redding said. "I went through this for four years in Houston, being told that I have to compete against a bunch of guys. They brought me in here, and I've got a guaranteed contract. I didn't have to beg them for a job, so it's got to make me feel like I have the upper hand."

Posted by: dclifer | February 13, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"Interesting that he doens't actually atribute what his low average comes from? Is it the K's, is he not legging out anything on the ground?"

Without looking at any numbers, my guess is because he's now taking more walks than when he was younger. Impatient swings do sometimes yield contact, and contact sometimes yields hits. Ergo, some portion of the PAs that now turn into walks for Dunn would previously have resulted in hits, raising his BA. His OBP was probably lower then, though.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 13, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

As far as an example of power guys improving their average later in their careers, I would suggest Hondo once he was under the tutelage of Ted Williams. Of course, I don't see a Ted Williams on the Nationals' staff, and Hondo had already had the benefit of advice from sluggers Jim Lemon and Gil Hodges, his previous managers.

Posted by: BrantAlyea | February 13, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

We need Dunn's power and OBP more than we need a high BA. If he can bring that up without sacrificing the other 2 that's great, but I don't want him to fall to 25 HR and .320 OBP so he can swing for contact to reach .360 BA.

If he can improve his glove work, that would be spectacular!

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | February 13, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I would leave him alone. Would it be nice if he hit 270 or better but only had 25-30 HRs? If he didn't walk as much as he does it would be a concern. However, you got him for his power and to hit long HRs. something the Nats don't have. You could look at zimm the opposite way. He could hit 35-45 HRs but his average would drop to about what Dunn's is. I think you want Zimm to hit around .300 with 25-30 HRs.

Posted by: brothbart | February 13, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Correction: That was meant to say .260 BA, not .360 BA

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | February 13, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

... it's (pre) spring training, and Bobby B can say things like: "He can hit way better than that. I know he is way better than that," and get away with it.

... but we all know the proof is in Viera, if not in DC. Now I'm not nay-saying, but after an almost intolerably short time, effusive confidence has a way of sounding stale like day-old bread (do they sell that at Panera?).

... so let's all take these few days to jump on the bandwagon, while keeping our feet firmly planted on level-headed terra firma, and in sensible shoes.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | February 13, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I see Bill (IDIOT!) Ladson has an article on mlb.com that Manny has named Milledge as the starting CF. I appreciate than Ladson actually quotes Manny so we know he's not just talking out of his @ss.

I seem to recall the club saying that Milledge and Dukes would compete for the job. It makes perfect sense that they change their collective mind now that Dunn is in the fold. The basic truth IMO is that Milledge and Dukes will start EVERY game they are healthy enough (and jail free enough) to strap on the cleats and lift a bat over their heads. The one thing Keith Law did say in his hate filled diatribe was that Dunn shouldn't be allowed to limit the playing time for Milledge and Dunn - amen!

With that I think the outfield is actually set IF Nick Johnson is healthy. Dunn in LF, Milledge in Center and Dukes in RF. Willingham can start against lefties (who give Dunn headaches) and fill in when (IF IF IF) Nick is hurt and Kearns is a good defensive replacement and backup RFer.

I know a lot of people are saying that Willingham must start (but not on this blog per se), but I just do see a starting role for him unless and until Dunn is at first base, could you imagine Milledge (or even Dukes) playing CF between Dunn and Willingham? Tell your pitchers to throw nothing but sinkers because anything hit out of the infield is an automatic double.

Posted by: estuartj | February 13, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

We just signed a guy with a career OBP of .381 and SLG of .518, and we're sweating the fact that he doesn't reach base on batted balls often enough? Who cares?

Repeat after me: a walk is as good as a hit. a walk is as good as a hit. a walk is as good as a hit...

Posted by: sbiel2 | February 13, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Last year Dusty Baker made a point of telling the media that he wanted Dunn to be more aggressive as a hitter rather than taking so many pitches. I read somewhere that he routinely is among league leaders in total pitches received.

(BTW, what was the attack above on Bob Boone for? He can't answer a queston from a reporter?)

Posted by: natbisquit | February 13, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I have not watched many Dunn games. Are his strikes swings and misses early or is he a "take 2 strikes if I can't find a pitch to drive" type of hitter. If the latter, he's a bit like Kevin Youkilis. Youk's average has always been higher than Dunn's and he never had the same power, but what the Red Sox hitting coaches convinced him to do was be more aggressive early in the count. This cut back his walk % a bit, but improved his average and his power.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 13, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"Repeat after me: a walk is as good as a hit. a walk is as good as a hit. a walk is as good as a hit..."

Not if there's a runner in scoring position. Then a hit is better.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 13, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

dunn waits and waits and waits.

i remember another power hitter named brady anderson (wink wink) who once said something along these lines...

"it's better that i walk 100 and strike out 100 than if i walk 50 and strike out 50. at the end of the year i'll make less outs."

i do like that mindset. and it crushes the other team's bullpen in a long series. trust the guy behind you and he'll trust the guy behind him. circle of trust, circle of trust.

Posted by: longterm | February 13, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm really most interested in his conditioning and getting lots of reps at 1B. If he is at, say, 260 and toned a little better it shouldn't hurt his power, and could only help his range.

Posted by: angusgoodson | February 13, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

"But to me, the .240 average is unacceptable."

Well...if it's unacceptable to Bob Boone...? There are a lot of things I find unacceptable about Bob Boone and the way he conducts business, but I wouldn't air them out to the media the day after giving him a contract.

Posted by: dclifer | February 13, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Steven - I am almost always more of an OBP than a batting average guy, too, but of course we all recognize there are some circumstances where a walk is not as good as a hit. You are a numbers guy, so you've probably seen stats that back up the intuitively obvious point that says 2 out walks with no one on are less likely to lead to a run than a 2 out hit. One of the reasons you might bat the better OBP guy 4th and a slugger who walks less 3d is because 4th leads off the 2d most frequently of any position in the order (part of the NJ behind FotF approach at the start of last year).

With Dunn, my guess is that what Boone would like to see is him have a different approach with men on. Rather than lengthy at bats, working himself into 2 strike counts looking for home runs and accepting walks, he would like to see Dunn be more aggressive early and drive what he can drive. When #4 leads off the 2d, then I'm sure he would be just fine with Dunn's current patient approach.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 13, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

and of course nunof1 and natsbisquit said the same thing in far fewer words.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 13, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I think the biggest trouble with Dunn is taking third strikes. It's part of his game, which he admitted yesterday. He won't give in, which means if guys make good pitches they'll sit him down with his bat on his shoulder. If Dunn would go the other way with 2 strikes and guys on, his walks and .OBP might go down, but his RBI's would go up (which is the job of a clean-up hitter).

I'm trying to get my head around the fact I'm gonna have to watch him strike out a hundred times, but hopefully he'll understand why he didn't sign earlier (and for more $$$) and try to improve the average and his D.

Posted by: sec307 | February 13, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm skeptical that 2 yr/$20m is worth it for this strikeout king (for 6 of the past 7 seasons, Dunn has finished in the top 5 for Ks, appearing atop that list 3 times). And for the Nats, what is the use of a power hitter if there isn't anyone on base in front of him? And a guy who either strikes out or hits it out (striking out much more often) can be a real rally killer.

There's lots of upside to this acquisition, of course, and he will make our team better. But he ain't the savior of the Nats. I wish him the best . . . but I'm skeptical.

Posted by: chrisduckworth | February 13, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

"Not if there's a runner in scoring position. Then a hit is better."

A hit is better, but the hardest base to reach is first. What Dunn nead is some guys hitting behind him that can drive in runs too. If they feel like they have to go after him, the look out mama!

Also, I think Zim said in an interview this winter that having guys on is much more helpful than having good hitters behind you. I personally think both are true, but to what degree depends on what kind of hitter you are. Can you imagine a guy walking Dunn when he has Johnson batting behind him? Two guys with a high OBP make that one man on into bases loaded if you don't attack the strike zone...

Posted by: estuartj | February 13, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I'll even take the walk with runners in scoring position so that whoever's hitting behind him has the bases loaded.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | February 13, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Adam Dunn hit 40 dingers 3 years running but not 1 team wanted him. Not 1. How come?

Posted by: dovelevine | February 13, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Some of the criticism of Dunn says that he tends to walk with 2 outs and a man in scoring position. If first base is empty it doesn't help much to walk in that situation, but as Rumsfeld always said "the enemy gets a vote too". If your a big slugger and first base is open, exactly what are they going to give you to hit? Better to take the base and put more pressure on the pitcher to deliver vs the next guy then to swing at a bad pitch in hopes of putting it in play. IMO anyway.

Posted by: estuartj | February 13, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Frank Howard: years 1967-1970

HR BA OBP SLG
36 .256 .338 .511
44 .274 .338 .552
48 .296 .402 .574
44 .283 .416 .586

Maybe Bob Boone has a point?

Posted by: driley | February 13, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

dove, lots of teams wanted him, but at what cost? I think the fair market value for him was probably much closer to 1 yr 5-8 mil. We paid a losers premium to lure him in. If he REALLY didn't want to be here he'd have waited for Manny to sign and gone to whoever lost out on him.

I think he saw that this was the best dollars (and number of year!) he was going to get and decided this is the place to be.

Posted by: estuartj | February 13, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

There are plusses and minuses to every hitting philosphy. Dunn strikes out too frequently, but limits his GIDP numbers, scores alot of runs, and forces pitchers out of ballgames through higher pitch counts.

I think alot of analysts and fans alike focus too much on lineup profiling: The cleanup hitter is supposed to drive in runs. And, Dunn does that consistently, but the cleanup hitter is also in the middle of the lineup. There are more batters coming up behind him. When the cleanup hitter is on base 40% of the time the batters that follow have opportunity too.

So while I agree that a hit is better than a walk, I do not agree that batting average is a leading indicator of production.

Last year Dunn drove in 65 runners in 133 At Bats with runners in scoring position (RISP).

He drove in 26 runners in 53 AB with RISP/2 outs.

He drove in 16 runners in 16 ABs with the bases loaded.

His overall batting average in all those situations was about the same (.240ish), but the more critical the situation, the higher his OPS climbed (.929 RISP, .1091 RISP/2 outs, 1.250 Bases Loaded).

Admidtedly I'm cheery picking stats a little bit to support my point, which is
succinctly, Dunn's approach works for Dunn. He's been very successful with it.

Posted by: natbisquit | February 13, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't think its that teams didn't "want" Adam Dunn, its a combination of two factors:
1. extremely bad timing for Dunn: literally between Oct 2008 and now the economic landscape has changed so dramatically it is without comparison. In baseball terms it means that players are getting forced to take ridiculously lower deals than they would have just a couple months ago.

Would you rather have Milton Bradley for 3yrs/$30M or Dunn and Abreu for 2yrs $25 total?? Its just crazy out there.

2. The continued misunderstanding (and in many cases blatant disregarding anything related to the topics of statistical analysis in baseball) on the part of most GMs in baseball of the value of OBP, pitches seen, runs created and the like. Despite the fact that Dunn hit .236 he still had an OPS+ of 130. He's 25th actively in career OPS. He's got great VORP and WARP values.

But your average old-school GM, who came up through the scouting ranks probably hasn't the slightest idea of what these things mean.

Posted by: tboss | February 13, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Grip it and Rip It, Adam.

Posted by: MrMadison | February 13, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

natbisquit,

... not sure if you were commenting on mine re Bob Boone, but let me say that - if so - I wasn't so much slagging Bob B; he has every right to say what he wants and feels, and I'm glad to give him that. But what I was saying was that we should all refrain from buying too much, too quickly, into pre-season exhuberance. Rather we should wait solemnly but expectantly, and put our faith in what our very own senses will eventually tell us.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | February 13, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Oh, nellie. Only a truly sorrowful franchise would take a guy who's 200 homers in the last 5 years and put up a .500+ SLG and say "Well, ok, but let's tinker." Just shut your mouth and let him do what he does - Swat long balls, take walks, and make the sharp right-hand turn back to the dugout. I'm 100% with Steven on this - BA is junk. I don't care if he bats .240, so long as he OPS's 900.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | February 13, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Yes, there are situations where a hit is better than a walk. But a home run is *always* better than a slappy single to left field.

You could argue that he should shorten up his swing and try to get a base hit in certain situations. But for a guy who slugs like he does, over time I think you'll probably lose more runs than you gain by changing approach in this way.

Dunn is a slugger, and his power results from his ability to wait on his pitch to hit and then crush it. If you want to make him more of a singles hitter, then you could raise his batting average, but you'll reduce his overall run production, even if you tried to just do that as a situational skill.

Also, the situations you're describing are relatively few and far between. So even if you took all the situations where you could decide you'd want him to hit for a single (again, I never would, but let's say you do) and then raised his BA to let's say .280 in those situations, the overall improvement in run production wouldn't be that much (especially when you factor in the decline in SLG that you'd have to take to get the improvement in BA).

Posted by: sbiel2 | February 13, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

OK before someone jumps on me, there are probably a half dozen times over the course of the year where a base hit is as good as a HR. When a walk off single is enough to win the game, a HR and a slappy single are the same. Again though these situations are so rare that they would show up in his overall BA even if he was skilled at shortening up in these extreme cases.

Posted by: sbiel2 | February 13, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Man, Chico, you're on fire! Now I have to respond to a response from two posts back!

Natscan asked, "... are you saying that there are now current and firm reports that he's NOT 100% today, or that this is NJ we're talking about, and his reputation precedes him?"

I would say that there are current reports that he is not swinging a bat. I cannot speak to the firmness of these reports, however.

In a chat, Bos said he wasn't swinging. In a post devoted solely to Johnson, I think Chico said he was indeed swinging. No one has said anything concrete, but the suggestion - and not just from skeptical Nats fans - is that he's working at a speed that is less than 100%.

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 13, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Average can be improved by anyone. I remember Bob Boone himself getting better with age. Boone a career .246 hitter batted .295 and .274 in his last two season as a regular starter. At the time, he was quoted as saying he finally “got it” and became a better hitter.

I agree – lets get this guy working with Dunn.

Year Ag Tm Lg G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG *OPS+ TB SH SF IBB HBP GDP
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+----+---+---+---+---+---+
1972 24 PHI NL 16 51 4 14 1 0 1 4 1 0 5 7 .275 .333 .353 94 18 0 1 2 0 2
1973 25 PHI NL 145 521 42 136 20 2 10 61 3 4 41 36 .261 .311 .365 86 190 5 8 8 0 7 RoY-3
1974 26 PHI NL 146 488 41 118 24 3 3 52 3 1 35 29 .242 .295 .322 70 157 9 5 9 4 16
1975 27 PHI NL 97 289 28 71 14 2 2 20 1 3 32 14 .246 .322 .329 79 95 6 1 6 1 8
1976 28 PHI NL 121 361 40 98 18 2 4 54 2 5 45 44 .271 .348 .366 100 132 4 7 14 1 10 AS
1977 29 PHI NL 132 440 55 125 26 4 11 66 5 5 42 54 .284 .343 .436 104 192 3 8 5 2 8
1978 30 PHI NL 132 435 48 123 18 4 12 62 2 5 46 37 .283 .347 .425 115 185 5 8 10 1 13 MVP-23,AS
1979 31 PHI NL 119 398 38 114 21 3 9 58 1 4 49 33 .286 .367 .422 113 168 4 1 9 2 9 AS
1980 32 PHI NL 141 480 34 110 23 1 9 55 3 4 48 41 .229 .299 .338 75 162 4 2 12 1 9
1981 33 PHI NL 76 227 19 48 7 0 4 24 2 2 22 16 .211 .279 .295 61 67 2 2 2 0 6
1982 34 CAL AL 143 472 42 121 17 0 7 58 0 2 39 34 .256 .310 .337 78 159 23 5 2 0 9 MVP-16
1983 35 CAL AL 142 468 46 120 18 0 9 52 4 3 24 42 .256 .289 .353 77 165 10 7 1 0 19 AS
1984 36 CAL AL 139 450 33 91 16 1 3 32 3 3 25 45 .202 .242 .262 40 118 6 5 1 0 11
1985 37 CAL AL 150 460 37 114 17 0 5 55 1 2 37 35 .248 .306 .317 72 146 16 4 2 3 12
1986 38 CAL AL 144 442 48 98 12 2 7 49 1 0 43 30 .222 .287 .305 63 135 12 6 1 0 15
1987 39 CAL AL 128 389 42 94 18 0 3 33 0 2 35 36 .242 .304 .311 66 121 14 3 0 1 10
1988 40 CAL AL 122 352 38 104 17 0 5 39 2 2 29 26 .295 .352 .386 110 136 9 0 2 2 9
1989 41 KCR AL 131 405 33 111 13 2 1 43 3 2 49 37 .274 .351 .323 92 131 8 5 4 2 16
1990 42 KCR AL 40 117 11 28 3 0 0 9 1 1 17 12 .239 .336 .265 72 31 2 0 0 0 2
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+----+---+---+---+---+---+
19 Seasons 2264 7245 679 1838 303 26 105 826 38 50 663 608 .254 .315 .346 82 2508 142 78 90 20 191

Posted by: tcostant | February 13, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Dunn is 29 and has been gripping and ripping since he came to the majors. Viewing the body of his work, it's highly doubtful he's going to contend for a batting title in the future.Let's just accept him for what he is. He profiles to a 1960's type slugger who's going to give you 3.5 to 4 K's for every home run he hits but reaches base a lot more than the Killebrews, Hortons, and Howards of that era. He is what he is.

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 13, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

It's not very often that a .233 hitter is a starter in the major leagues. Once you get a load of how little he's actually on base, it might start to sink in. It's brutal. He's just like Mickey Mantle, looks for a pitch in a zone and tries to hit everything out of the park. Problem is, his stroke is so long that it cripples his ability to hit for an average. With Mantle, he had a sharp, quick stroke, so he made better contact. The more contact he makes, the more productive he'll be, because, if he's anything like Hondo, he'll be able to hit a check-swing out of the ballpark. All he has to do is hit it, and it'll leave the park. I was watching Cincy/Cubs (Wrigley) game last year, and he hit one that almost hit the roof of the three-story building across the street in right field. The whole place gasped, like somebody had been shot.

You don't need to try to hit the ball that hard every time. Not when you're massively strong. Baseball parks are built for guys who are a little above average strength-wise. The 370 in the right field power alley at Nats park can easily be reached. Hondo used to handle all kinds of pitches even if he was off-balance. Dunn chooses not to swing unless everything is just right.

Posted by: Brue | February 13, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

"So even if you took all the situations where you could decide you'd want him to hit for a single (again, I never would, but let's say you do) and then raised his BA to let's say .280 in those situations, the overall improvement in run production wouldn't be that much (especially when you factor in the decline in SLG that you'd have to take to get the improvement in BA)."

The one specific situation when you'd rather have a batter get a hit than walk is with RISP. Depending on how often he comes up with RISP, hitting .280 rather than .240 in such situations (even if you sacrifice some walks in the process) could get your team a lot more runs. If a batter could adjust his approach in such situations to get that kind of a rise in BA, it would be well worth doing.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 13, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

"Once you get a load of how little he's actually on base, it might start to sink in. It's brutal."

Brue, don't be stupid. An OBP of close to .400 is far from brutal. It's damn good. That's how a .233 hitter is a starter in the major leagues. The home runs don't hurt his case, either.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 13, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

you get a load of how little he's actually on base, ?

He's on base a lot. I think he's on base more than any of our lead off hitters from last year. I mean, they measure that exact statistic and he's outstanding.

Posted by: markfromark | February 13, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

We can only hope that Dunn won't be left on base more often than not.

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 13, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

... thanx JohninMpls, I hadn't seen those reports, not that they surprise me one bit. I believe that if Nick lived next door to me, I'd lend him my tools anytime he wanted; he's just a good guy. But boy oh boy and man oh man, he's brittle.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | February 13, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Well, it's brual in the respect that he leaves a ton of opportunities on the table when all he's doing is walking because he feels like he can't drive a pitch out of the park. It's a limited approach, and the only reason he's gotten away with it is because he's so talented that people overlook the approach. If he's talented enough to hit all those homers, which are the hardest things to do in the game, then he can do the things that are easier, like making contact. It's not going to rob him of anything, maybe some occasional distance. And I do mean occasional.

Posted by: Brue | February 13, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Please, natscan, in the name of all that is holy, do NOT lend Nick Johnson any tool with any kind of cutting edge, point, ball, peen, handle, shaft, wood surface, metal surface, plastic surface, heft, weight, lightness, hard edge, soft edge, lack of discernible edges, fish-like odor, or the color orange.

You just might kill him.

Posted by: Scooter_ | February 13, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Check my post at 3:57 to see how Frank Howard absolutely did not hurt his obp and slugging by hitting for more average. If Boone can make Dunn a better hitter then all his stats will increase. His ability to knock in runners will increase and he will become a more feared hitter-which has a direct affect on his IBB count. If Boone can increase the amount of balls that Dunn puts into play then just his brute power alone will produce more extra base hits for the gentleman.

Posted by: driley | February 13, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Guy has a career .899 OPS and a career .300 EQA. He is now the best hitter on the team. But, hey, you know, let's play around with his approach and see if we can turn him into something else. This is a great idea.

[slamming head into desk]

Posted by: Section220 | February 13, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Er, apology for the tone in previous post. Wasn't directed at anyone in particular.

I suppose players should always aspire to improve. But I seem to remember David Ortiz turning into a much better player after he left the Twins who, in his words, tried to make him hit "like a little b**tch" and starting concentrating on driving the ball. I just don't want anyone messing with Dunn's approach which has been, like, really really successful.

Posted by: Section220 | February 13, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

... exactly Section220. It's an honourable thing to rehabilitate someone who needs it (Elijah comes to mind, standing right next to his big brother daMeat) but it defies explanation and credibility to assume the same approach ought to be applied to everyone, including especially - as someone said earlier - a guy who slammed 200 blasts in 5 years.

... and Scooter: thank God I was merely postulating. If the neighbourliness were to come to reality, I'd probably keep my head ducked any time I caught sight of Nickie doing anything - including standing upright.

... but (seriously) I recall the profile that Barry Svklftgrtpwcbdluga did a year or so ago about Nick's heroic efforts at rehabbing. You have to love a guy who takes a lickin' and keeps on truckin'.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | February 13, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

WOW!!! We have VORPs, WARPs, and the year by year stats for Bob Boone!!! I think he was "juiced" in 78 by the way. 15 minutes to Wapner

Posted by: SwiftIT | February 13, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

New, Panera-fueled post.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 13, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

>Check my post at 3:57 to see how Frank Howard absolutely did not hurt his obp and slugging by hitting for more average.

Exactly. Someone needs to get Dunn's attention. The only difference with Howard was that he had Ted Williams show him how to hit the ball up the middle.

Posted by: Brue | February 13, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

new post.

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 13, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

I'll take Dunn's .245 and 40+ homers over WMP's mighty comebackers to the mound.

Posted by: fischy | February 13, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

ESTUARTJ- Love this---I see Bill (IDIOT!) Ladson has an article on mlb.com that Manny has named Milledge as the starting CF. I appreciate than Ladson actually quotes Manny so we know he's not just talking out of his @ss.---

Ladson's most embarassing moment and lack of journalistic integrity was the morning of the Dunn signing. He re-wrote this article at 3:01 in the afternoon on 2/11/09 (I guess hoping nobody would notice) but this was originally posted in the morning with Ladson's opinion that the Nats had little chance of signing Dunn. (LMAO)

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090210&content_id=3815322&vkey=news_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

Then after the Dunn signing was announced he re-wrote portions of the article. It was a Back To The Future moment. How embarassing for Ladson and all that read that article in the morning. So in the dark.


Posted by: GoingGoingGone | February 14, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Chico - Good interview with Boone and glad to see he echoes the sentiments of the rest of us. His OBP while he was in Arizona was robust, but I don't think we will see much over .250 on that batting average.

"And you know, 40 [HR], 100 [RBI] -- that's what you know you are getting with him. But to me, the .240 average is unacceptable. He can hit way better than that. I know he is way better than that."

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | February 14, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

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