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What will Adam Dunn’s final numbers be?

Posted by Andy on July 2, 2011

Reader Brian D. sent in the following email:

I've been thinking about my old buddy Adam Dunn, wondering if he's ever going to turn around this awful season he's having. I wondered, what if he suddenly started hitting like the Adam Dunn of old? What would his end-of-year numbers look like?

Through the ChiSox' first 82 games this year Dunn has these numbers:

.171, 7 HR, 29 RBI

Let's add to those his numbers from his best year, 2004, in the Reds' final 80 games:

.266, 22 HR, 51 RBI

Add the two half-seasons together and you get:

.224, 29 HR, 80 RBI

If Dunn started hitting as well as he's ever hit from July-September,he would finish with those numbers. Now, what if Dunn didn't turn back into his old self. Instead, what if he was possessed by the spirit of the greatest hitting machine of all time? Here's what Barry Bonds did in the Giants' final 80 games of 2001:

.353, 34 HR, 66 RBI

Add that to Dunn's 2011 first half and you get:

.263, 41 HR, 95 RBI

That's right: Adam Dunn would have to instantly turn into BARRY BONDS at his roided-up best to end up with anything resembling a typical Adam Dunn season.

36 Responses to “What will Adam Dunn’s final numbers be?”

  1. Dave Says:

    Why is "the Adam Dunn of old" actually "young"?

  2. Brian Wells Says:

    Adam Dunn is having even more difficulty than ever in just putting the ball in play.He has struck out 100 times in 234 at bats!

  3. Neil L. Says:

    Looking at his career first half/second half splits, Andy, should clarify the chances of a Bonds-like turnaround. And it doesn't look good ........

    1st half - 0.247/.379/.528 2nd half - 0.247/.375/.491

    Breaking down the second half, July has been his best month over his career with 0.286/.404/.572.

    Combining his August/Sept./Oct stats together, I calculate 0.229/.361/.462

    Adam Dunn appears to tail off badly toward the end of the season. So if he's going to get it turned around, July is the month. I don't think he can continue to be as bad as his first half.

    Andy, you KNOW putting Adam Dunn in a blog will open the whole strikeout can of worms again, don't you? 🙂

  4. John Autin Says:

    Just for laughs, imagine that your team had gone into the season with a platoon of Adam Dunn and Dan Uggla. 🙂 There's even something similar in their names....

    Just in case Uggla's first 3 months weren't bad enough, he opened July with a Golden Sombrero.

    Since May 16, his last day over .200, Uggla has batted .146; and yet, the Braves are 24-16 in those 40 games. Dunn has hit .129 since May 19, his last day on the state roads; the White Sox are 17-14 in those 31 games.

  5. Brian Says:

    He's always been great in July. I remember his worst 40-HR year, 2006, when he hit .234 for the year, he still hit something like .350 in July and was in the running for Player of the Month!

  6. Neil L. Says:

    Had to have a quick look at Adam Dunn's contract status. I didn't realize the ChiSox were on the hook for $56 million through 2014. Whew, makes the Vernon Wells contract look almost stellar. (Sorry, I have it in for Vernon.)

    To put that in perspective, Dunn is earning $4 million more than Jose Bautista this year!!

    Must be almost time for another bad-contract blog, based on the player's 2011 statistics. (Dunn, Wells, Bay, Figgins, .....)

  7. John Autin Says:

    Dunn is threatening Mark Reynolds's record for highest K%, if not the season K record. Dunn has fanned in 35.2% of his PAs (100 of 284); Reynolds whiffed at a 35.4% rate last year. (Reynolds's K% is all the way down to 26.1% this year, BTW, by far the lowest of his career.)

  8. John Autin Says:

    @5, Brian -- Dunn began his favorite month with a "perfect" game -- drew a walk as a pinch hitter, and scored on Pierre's triple.

    He must be glad to bid adieu to the worst month of his career, OPS-wise.

  9. kenh Says:

    He must have ran into Ron Kittle and got some of his hitting tips.

  10. Jason W Says:

    Is there any real evidence that players can perform better in certain months? Just curious as to whether there's ever been a study on that. It seems dubious to me that a player might be good in July while another is good in May. Smells like cherry-picking small sample sizes.

  11. Neil L. Says:

    Well, Jason, the evidence is only in their career "splits", the breakdown of their overall stats into components. The larger the sample size (longer their career), the more reliable the numbers are.

    When you look at Adam Dunn's player page and call up the splits, he has performed significantly better offensively in July than in the rest of the year. So the answer to your question is yes.

  12. Brian Says:


    Looking at Dunn's monthly OPS for his career, it would appear he starts out good in April, fades in May and June, gets a second wind in July, and then fades even faster in August and September.

    That's the best explanation I can think of, anyway. Roughly 1,000 PA for each month is a pretty large sample size.

  13. Jahiegel Says:

    @John (7) -- Almost incredible is that so little power has attended his high strikeout rate; of the top 100 player-seasons by strikeout percentage (min. 500 PA), but two (José Hernández's 2003 [behind dreadful offense {OPS+: 60, wRC+: 58} and subpar defense the only below-replacement season amongst the top 100] and Jack Hannahan's 2008) had ISOs below .158 (Dunn's is .141).

  14. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    I thought the Dunn sign was a great one. The sox stole a great 4-5 hitter, who takes his walks and is named Donkey, gotta love that.
    I wish the Mets had grabbed him.
    I recently sent you the class of '01 as a blog idea- and how Suzuki, Dunn and Pujols all were having some of the best 'first ten years' in the history of the game.
    How funny, that all three seemed to fall off a cliff this year (in comparison to what they did the first ten years, '01-'10)
    Their avgs prior to this year.
    Suzuki- . 224 H, .331 BA, 38 SB, 117 OPS+
    2011 projected - 184 H, .271 BA, 26 SB, 86 OPS+
    Pujols, 190 H, .331 AVG, 41 HR, 43 2B, 123 RBI, 118 R, 91 BB,172 OPS+
    2011 projected - 156 H .279 AVG, 34 HR, 22 2B, 90 RBI, 104 R, 64 BB 140 ops+
    Dunn - 35 HR, 26 2B, 88 RBI, 86 R, 99 BB, 133 OPS+
    2011 projected - 12 HR, 24 2B, 58 RBI, 42 R, 88 BB, 72 OPS+.
    So much for my predictions. Crazy all three would not just decline, but implode!
    I thought Mark Reynolds was done ( no pun) with Baseball in april/may (but his June surge is amazing, truly, but now I'm worried only about the big donkey.
    How long can they let this go on, he doesn't even seem to be an Ozzie guy (who seems to stick with dudes through slumps and all, and I can't see him going anywhere at the trade deadline.
    In the the land of the all or not boppers (Pena and Reynolds are at least over the Mendoza) and HRing.
    I wonder if Dunn is playing through an injury? He has more protection in Chi-sox, so whatya think is up?

  15. John Autin Says:

    Re: monthly splits and sample size -- While 1,000 PAs would generally be a significant sample size for many things, I'm not convinced that it is enough for something like monthly splits.

    Is there any logical reason why a player, over a 10-year span, might hit .240 in June, .286 in July, and .234 in August? What sort of causal narrative could be constructed for Dunn's monthly peaks and valleys?

  16. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    @ Neil L,

    I know you know my leanings are of the orange and blue variety (in fact I'm heading to the game in 10 minutes), but your talk of bad contracts, has to include Ollie Perez, who has yet to pitch this year. He's making Vernon Wells look like a steal.
    He has won 3 games since inking that 36 million dollar blunder.
    Bay is near the top of the list as well. At least Wells played center.
    Bay at least admits he is playing horrendous, which doesn't help, & has a good relationship with the press, which is nearly immposible in NYC when you are having a bad season.
    Oh woe are the Mets.
    But at least I get to soak in Reyes and Rays in a few hours.
    I wish this sight allowed picture up loads. I'd send you one or two of Reyes heading to third.

  17. flyingelbowsmash Says:

    As for Ichiro, he was older than the typical rookie, so his first 10 weren't a typical first ten. As for Pujols, some question the age. . .
    I think your hypothesis of an injury for Dunn makes the most sense.

  18. Dukeofflatbush Says:


    Never realized this, but while watching MLBs greatest game countdown, which ranked game 6 of the Reds/Redsox series as #1.
    During interviews, Fred Lynn said about his famous almost Sac Fly down the left field line, that if the game was in July, he would of been able to 'pull' or been quicker on the ball more, maybe putting the ball off the monster. He insinuated that his bat speed had decreased significantly the later the season went on. I was under the opposite impression. I know 162 games + post season is a long time, but bat speed, I just imagined was more of a practice or repetitious motion.
    So maybe bat speed and fatigue could factor in slumping #'s.

    Off to Citi to see the Mets stomp some Yanks.

  19. John Autin Says:

    Just amazing that a White Sox fan who watched every home game and no road games this year would have seen nearly 4 strikeouts by Dunn for every hit. He's batting .126 at home, with 14 hits and 55 Ks in 111 AB.

  20. John Autin Says:

    @18, Duke -- I'm sure there are some meaningful trends in statistics over the course of a long season, and I would tend to give weight to half-season splits. But I just can't see a rationale for Dunn's career July spike, which follows a June trough and is followed by deep valleys in August/September.

    Enjoy the game at New Shea, and I hope your prediction comes true!

  21. Neil L. Says:

    Duke, we're expecting a full report, with typical BBRef objectivity, of the Mets-Yankees' game today. Wave to the FOX cameras, will you, so I can see who you are? 🙂 Enjoy!

    "Off to Citi to see the Mets stomp some Yanks."
    "Enjoy the game at New Shea, and I hope your prediction comes true!"

    Hey, no turning this thread into a Mets' booster page. 🙂

  22. John Autin Says:

    @21 -- "Gooooooooo, Blue Jays!!!"

    (I assure you that the fact that a TBJ win would reduce the NYM deficit to 10 games played no role in the foregoing random rooting expression.)

  23. Rich Says:

    I wonder if Dunn is one of those guys who simply cannot get used to being a DH. Pat Burrell is the most recent example I can think of like that. It looked like his career was over in Tampa Bay, but he's had a 128 OPS+ since joining the Giants.

    Are either of them good fielders? No, not at all, but maybe they are players who need to be in the flow of a game.

  24. Jason W Says:

    @18: I might believe that, but then I'd have to wonder why the same thing wouldn't happen to pitchers. If batters get tired as the season go on and become less effective as the season goes on, shouldn't the pitchers too?

  25. abarnold2 Says:

    @14 — I get your point about Ichiro, Dunn and Pujols. For all three of them the bottom has really fallen out. But let's think about this: the bottom has fallen out for a guy and he's gonna have an OPS+ of 140? I wish my bottom could fall out like that.

  26. Craig Says:

    LOL! I love it! "Barry Bonds at his roided-up best"! Saweet!

  27. Timmy P Says:

    Dunn or Mark Reynolds? I take Reynolds, more upside. BTW he hit 2 homers tonight.

  28. Doug Says:


    A possible reason for Dunn's performance turnaround in July is the all-star break. Some players may really get a little jump from having some extended physical and mental relaxation.

    And, very surprisingly to me, Dunn does get his All-Star break. Here's a man who has hit 38+ home runs every year for the last 7 years and yet did NOT go to the All-Star game in ANY of those seasons. Hard to fathom that

  29. Nash Bruce Says:

    woo-hoo, do I, at 6 hours behind EDT, actually get a chance to mention an, until now, unmentioned possibility, to Adam Dunn's July dominance?? 🙂
    (And, I ask "advance forgiveness" from the BBREF crowd- I know that I have all of the tools to do the actual research....but not the time!!)
    It's the warm weather. The ball doesn't carry as well, during the early part of the season. Sammy Sosa, had the same thing (and I am so avoiding discussing, artificially inflated steroid numbers) going on, years ago, I believe??- when June/July came around, he 'got hot'- but it was actually, the ball, that 'got hot'. The ball carries much better, in the heat, and humidity.
    OK, so Dunn is lights out, historically, only in July, and not June- but, maybe, that is attributable to heat fatigue, just starting, to set in, amongst the pitchers.....feel free to add on, to this thought:)
    "Season exhaustion", I remember, as not being so uncommon, among hitters, many years ago, before steroids made baseball much easier(ok, I mentioned it!!) for them. Cal Ripken, stands out, in my mind, as one player, in particular. BAL had a couple hideous seasons, in '88, and '91, yet, the season after both of those seasons, the Orioles had remarkable turnarounds. I seem to remember, that one major reason, that BAL, did not make the playoffs, in either season, is that Ripken fell off of the map, at the end of both seasons. I even seem to remember, that, towards the end of the season, in his batting stance, he would not be holding his bat, as straight up and down, as compared to the start of the season.
    So....these are the random observations......have at it!! (If you choose this mission, Lol.)

  30. Neil L. Says:


    Nash, get it right. "If you choose to ACCEPT this mission." Peter Graves/Tom Cruise will never forgive you. 🙂

  31. Jason W Says:

    I accept! 🙂

    "Ball carries well when it gets hotter" sounds suspiciously to me like one of those things we all "know" is true because it's been said forever, and because it's backed up by a few players who do have great stats in the summer months (like Sosa and Dunn), even though there are probably plenty of guys who don't do well in those months (but we never hear about them).

    With that in mind, here are monthly OPS splits for the AL from 2006-2010:

    M/A: .776/.731/.731/.770/.736
    May: .768/.771/.719/.766/.738
    June: .785/.764/.779/.751/.749
    July: .786/.760/.766/.756/.742
    Aug: .773/.765/.777/.780/.726
    S/O: .772/.770/.764/.758/.717

    The average of each of these results (which is not the actual OPSs, but I'm too lazy to try and compute all of those individually) is:

    M/A: .749
    May: .752
    June: .766
    July: .762
    Aug: .764
    S/O: .756

    So, at least with this fairly small sample size, it does seem that hitters start off slow and then "heat up" in June/July/August, with a slight drop-off in September. Weather might be a factor, but another thing you tend to hear is that at the start of the season, pitchers are "ahead" of batters and it takes a while for hitters to get used to standing in and recognizing pitches.

    OK, I'm done. Someone else take it from here!

  32. Nash Bruce Says:

    LOL, thanks Neil(29) 🙂 But, to borrow from a recent comment, "neither Tom Cruise, nor Peter Graves, have ever been in my kitchen."
    @Jason: Thanks for accepting. Interesting numbers!
    One could also use these numbers, as evidence of the influence of September call-ups. "One of those things we all 'know' is true because it's been said forever", is that pitchers have an advantage, when facing a particular hitter, for the first time. (Which I believe to be true, having never played baseball myself, lol.)
    Aren't there more no-hitters in September, than any other month?

  33. Neil L. Says:

    Jason W., very nicely done!

    I don't think the slight increase in OPS in the summer months is statistically significant, although you based it on five years. Certainly it doesn't explain Adam Dunn's anomalous July split.

  34. Mustachioed Repetition Says:

    I think there is truth that the ball travels further when it is warmer and more humid. It's physics. Jason's #31 shows a clear, albeit minor, trend over tens of thousands of PA.

    In re Dunn specifically, people are scrounging for reasons to explain his monthly splits, when most likely it's just random variation. I'll bet there's also a lot of variation in his splits by day of the week. If you saw the splits, I'm sure you could come up with BS explanations (his OPS on Tuesdays is 100 points lower; well, it must be because the air travel is tough on his big body**). But that's just meaningless ex post facto conclusions derived from raw data and not from really knowing anything about the player/person.

    ** I have no idea what his daily splits are.

  35. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Aren't there more no-hitters in September, than any other month?

    Yes. Since 1901, there have been 33 no-hitters in April, 41 in May, 37 in June, 31 in July, 30 in August, 53 in September, and 4 in October. Saturdays are the most frequent day of the week for no-hitters, by a fairly wide margin.

  36. Mustachioed Repetition Says:

    Interesting. April's total doesn't mean much, since once upon a time the season didn't start until the middle of the month. But I wonder why there'd be so many more in September. I suppose it could be a fluke, though it seems to have some significance. I can't believe that expanded rosters would account for all that (e.g. Eric Milton's no-hitter vs the Angels(?) circa 1999).