Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: AdamKilgoreWP and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

Adam Dunn is on fire, which means what?

Morning roundup

In the first inning last night, Adam Dunn belted a Justin Verlander fastball, one of the best pitches any pitcher in the game possesses, over the center field fence at Comerica Park, one of the toughest places to hit a home run in the game. The homer typified Dunn's longballs this year: It gave the Nationals the lead -- and no one was on base.

Of his team-leading 15 home runs, 11 have come with no one on base. But his homers have come at crucial times - 11 of them have also either tied the score or put the Nationals ahead. The way pitchers approach Dunn has cost him multi-run homers, he said, and his blast off Verlander provided an example.

"He's probably not going to give me a pitch like that with runners on base," Dunn said. "That's what people don't realize. I can't pick and choose when I hit a home run. If I could, I would have zero solos every year. Pitchers, they want quick outs and sometimes they mess up. You don't get usually the same pitches with runners on. And then it gets even harder when you get runners in scoring position. I don't pick and choose."

If you believe that some players are clutch and some aren't, then you probably think Dunn is not. One start that doesn't bode well for Dunn in that regard: He is 0 for 26 with three walks with runners in scoring position and two outs. (Craig Stammen is 3 for 5.)

Put that aside for a moment. Even as the Nationals have stumbled to 11 wins in their past 31 games, Dunn for some time has been the force the Nationals need in the middle of their lineup. "Adam's been pretty good for a while now," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "He's doing his part."

Since May 1, Dunn is hitting .316 with a .390 on-base percentage, a .638 slugging percentage and 11 home runs in 42 games. For the year, his batting average is .284, 33 points above his career average, and his OPS is .955, which would be the best season of his career.

In those games 42 games, the Nationals are 18-24. This leads to what makes Dunn, in my opinion, such a compelling player to analyze. His raw numbers year after year after year suggest he's one of the most powerful, productive hitters in the leagues. He loves to play - only Ichiro Suzuki and Miguel Cabrera have played more games since 2004.

The other side: You can point to Dunn's .210 career batting average with two outs and runners in scoring position* or the fact that his teams are 617-737 when he plays - a winning percentage that comes out to roughly a 74-win season.

*The Dunn's-not-clutch crowd fails to realize that Dunn has actually hit his best in what Baseball-Reference.com deems High Leverage situations and that he hits his worst when the margin in the game more than four runs. But let's leave that out for now.

So either Dunn's team have lost despite his outstanding contributions, or they have lost because one of their most potent players lets them down in the clutch. Where you land probably depends on how you view baseball.* But it's got to be one or the other. You have to pick and choose.

*It's probably clear I'm with the 'despite' crowd.

FROM THE POST

Livan Hernandez in uncharacteristically wild in an 8-3 loss to the Tigers, which continued a rough month for the Nationals, who fell to 11-20 in their past 31 games.

NATS MINOR LEAGUES

Syracuse was off.

Harrisburg 4, New Britain 1: Jason Jones allowed no runs in four innings on two hits and no walks, striking out three. Danny Espinosa, one day after hitting a grand slam, went 3 for 4 with a double and a home run.

Potomac 0, Myrtle Beach 8: Michael Lozada went 2 for 3. Evan Bronson allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings on nine hits and a walk.

Hagerstown 5, Asheville 4 (Game 1, seven innings) : Justin Bloxom went 2 for 4 with a home run that put the Suns ahead in the top of the seventh. Francisco Soriano homered.

Hagerstown 5, Asheville 2 (Game 2, seven innings): Justin Bloxom went 4 for 4 with another home run, his fourth straight game with a homer. He's batting .320, best in the entire system.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

The Nationals are stuck in a losing trend, Mark Zuckerman writes.

Writing for Sports Illustrated, Joe Sheehan explains how luck concealed the fact that Craig Stammen pitched just as well as Livan Hernandez this year. Not as crazy as it sounds.

Ben Goessling wonders who the real Nationals are.

If you're looking for new desktop wallpaper, Nationals Daily News has a pretty sweet option. do. ui'm

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 17, 2010; 6:01 AM ET
Categories:  Adam Dunn  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Game 66 discussion thread: Nationals at Tigers
Next: Today's lineups

Comments

Bears repeating that he's in his last contract year. Of course you want to keep him (power, protection in lineup, clubhouse presence), but what value will a contenting club offer Rizzo (no: I don't think at this point that the Nats will contend this year)? You know more substantive offers will be coming, so can you survive with Morse fulltime at 1B while Marrero matures?

Rizzo is obviously keeping his options open, otherwise Dunn would've been signed by now (given Dunn's desire to stay and that talks have begun). Very curious as to offers Riz will receive.

Nice to have options. Well done, Mr. Rizzo.

Posted by: joemktg1 | June 17, 2010 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Will the Nats re-sign their slugger? I hope they are not waiting for Dunn to fall to them for a below-market price. That happened once, in the worst part of the economy. At that time, Dunn became the largest-ever free agent signing for the Nats under the Lerners, for a whopping $20 million over two years (reportedly, Dunn wanted three or four years). Dunn still is the largest signing free agent ever under the Lerners, one of two free agents who have signed for the big (by Nats' standards) bucks.

What will happen if Dunn wants market value this time around? The Nats would probably want him for two more years, but players do not want to go back into free agency again in the later stages of their prime years. This could mean a four-year deal for Dunn.

Posted by: EdDC | June 17, 2010 6:57 AM | Report abuse

BTW: Federal Baseball did a nice review of the Dunn options available to the club, including potential trade partners.

Posted by: joemktg1 | June 17, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

If it's more than a 2 year deal, which is what Dunn is going to want then the die is cast. His value to the Nats is as a trading chip as we get closer to the deadline the AL clubs are going to come calling and I believe there will be at least one really good deal for Rizzo to pull the trigger on. The Nats need to keep getting younger and add much-needed depth - their time will come, it's just not now.

Posted by: bendersx6 | June 17, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

The only reason I see Rizzo not signing Dunn is if he sees another player (Gonzalez, Fielder) coming on board to take that spot. I am quite sure Rizzo sees no one in our farm system to replace him just like we do. That being said, I hope we resign him, and to do it before the end of the season sends a great message to the team.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | June 17, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Does anybody think it's possible Rizzo can trade Dunn and then resign him in the off-season?

The only reason I think this scenario has a chance is because I think Rizzo will offer Dunn more money to be the Nats 1B than AL teams would offer for him to DH. Plus, Dunn has repeatedly said that he does not want to be a DH and wants to stay in the NL.

Do you think Dunn would be willing to go to a contender this year, then come back to the Nats in 2011?

Posted by: SpashCity | June 17, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Dunn is a damn good player, kilgore made all my points for me. We better resign him unless you're positive you can land Adrian Gonzalez. Because, wake up people, Marrero is a bust. We have zero ML- ready bats in the minors. The only reason to make a trade is if it makes you better, I don't see any team making us better with the likely trade offers. Give him 4 yrs - $60mil and plug in a great OBP guy and a great run producer with adequate defense who never misses games in the 4 hole and focus elsewhere

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | June 17, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Dunn doesn't produce with men on base. PERIOD! Ryan Zimmerman is worse. He's number one in baseball for stranded runners.

Posted by: lp_lodestar | June 17, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Dunn doesn't produce with men on base. PERIOD! Ryan Zimmerman is worse. He's number one in baseball for stranded runners.
Posted by: lp_lodestar | June 17, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Please don't think you see a pattern based on small sample sizes. These guys are pro hitters and will not choke. Take a five year average and then make your case.

Posted by: EdDC | June 17, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

lp_lodestar: Good point's about both Zimm and Dunn which is one of the reasons i talked about Gonzalez(Padres)as a alternative to resigning AD listen i like AD but he doesn't hit in the clutch and for all the platitudes heaped on Zimm he doesn't produce either i don't know what it is but with RISP on they both seem to.............. pardon the expression, choke up.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 17, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

WE'RE CONTENDERS!!!!!!
WE SUCK!!!!!!
WE'RE GOING TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS!!!!!!!!
WE'RE GONNA GET THE #1 PICK AGAIN BECAUSE WE SUCK!!!!!!
BUY!!!!BUY!!!!!!BUY!!!!!!!!!
SELL!!!!!!!SELL!!!!!!!!SELL!!!!!!!!

Welcome to the roller coaster called the National Express.....

Posted by: TimDz | June 17, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

wheee!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 17, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Adam,

Thanks for the insight on Dunn. I am wondering if moving Dunn in the order would have an impact on what pitches her is receiving?

Maybe move Dunm up to 3rd and Zim to the cleanup spot OR move Dunn down to 5th and moving Willingham up to 4th would have a positive impact on hitting with men on base?

Just a thought

Posted by: markfd | June 17, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

"One start that doesn't bode well for Dunn in that regard: He is 0 for 26 with three walks with runners in scoring position and two outs. (Craig Stammen is 3 for 5.)"

I guess this sort of supports Adam Dunn's point about pitchers pitching to him differently than they would a pitcher when runners are in scoring position.

It should also be noted for everyone hating on Dunn with RISP, when the bases are loaded he's hitting .333/.429/.500 this year (7 plate appearances) and .282/.378/.660 career (135 plate appearances), and that's pretty good.

Posted by: Section506 | June 17, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Adam,

Thanks for the insight on Dunn. I am wondering if moving Dunn in the order would have an impact on what pitches her is receiving?

Maybe move Dunm up to 3rd and Zim to the cleanup spot OR move Dunn down to 5th and moving Willingham up to 4th would have a positive impact on hitting with men on base?

Just a thought

Posted by: markfd | June 17, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

It makes sense. Half the time when Dunn is up and there's RISP we already have 2 outs. There just aren't many options for a big guy like Dunn in that situation. He's going to see crappy pitches and there's not a lot he can do with those. If maybe Nyjer can ever get on base or if Dunn is moved in the order then maybe he'll see better pitches. If we are always going to have 2 outs by the time the #4 spot comes up then maybe we need to think about putting a guy in there that has better bat speed and can stick one through the gap like maybe Desmond or even Guzman.

Posted by: PAskinsfan17 | June 17, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Wait. Espinosa hit a Grand Slam two days ago and went 3 for 4 yesterday? I thought he was a bust. Could he be coming out of a slump?

Posted by: LurkerNowPoster | June 17, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Lurker: One would hope that Espinosa is coming out of a "June swoon" - His batting average dropped from the .265-.270 range down to a low of .219.

Posted by: BinM | June 17, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

It means little as we have seen this before....Dunn will get red hot then get ice cold for awhile

It always evens out to a middle .200 average with a good amount of walks/HR's

Posted by: Bious | June 17, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company