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Entries in Adam Dunn (13)


Dunn not Done for vs. Fastballs

Adam Dunn drove a Paul Maholm fastball 20 rows deep into the Wrigley Field bleachers yesterday afternoon, helping the White Sox top to the Cubs, even their record and pull within 2.5 games of the Indians for first place in the AL Central. Dunn, who seemed done for following a 2011 season in which he hit just 11 home runs and had a ghastly 56 OPS+ (his career average entering the year was 133), has kept the Sox competitive by re-emerging as one of the game's great power threats.

Dunn's 14 homers trail just Josh Hamilton (18) among MLB hitters, and his career-best 165 OPS+ ranks in the top 15.  The key to Dunn's turnaround? He's back to killing fastballs.

The 6-foot-6, 285 pound lefty batter mauled fastballs prior to signing with the Sox, slugging .655 against heaters from 2008 (the first year we have Pitch F/X data) to 2010. As Dunn's slugging percentage by pitch location shows, pitchers threw him a fastball over the plate at their own peril:

Dunn's slugging percentage by pitch location vs. fastballs, 2008-10

Dunn's fastball slugging percentage placed second to Albert Pujols (.725) in the majors from '08 to '10. But during his disastrous first year in the South Side, Dunn lost his power stroke against the pitch:

Dunn's slugging percentage by pitch location vs. fastballs, 2011

He slugged just .332 against fastballs in 2011, a far cry from his past mashing and way below the .430 big league average. To put Dunn's fastball woes in context, he got outslugged by water bugs like Ichiro, Juan Pierre and Elvis Andrus. When the entirety of your contribution comes with the lumber, that's a problem.

In 2012, however, Dunn is back to lashing fastballs:

Dunn's slugging percentage by pitch location vs. fastballs, 2012

In fact, Dunn has been the most prolific fastball slugger this side of a pair of Matts:

Highest slugging percentage vs. fastballs, 2012

BatterSlug Pct.
Matt Kemp 1.102
Matt Joyce .943
Adam Dunn .923
Bryan LaHair .886
Pablo Sandoval .853
David Wright .836
Jesus Montero .800
Paul Konerko .794
Curtis Granderson .766
Carlos Beltran .746
MLB Avg. .437

Best Mistake Hitters since 2010

Highest HR% on Mistake Pitches since 2010
Jose Bautista474183.396.9566.6%16.5%
David Ortiz383176.405.9714.5%15.0%
Matt Joyce25097.389.95811.3%14.7%
Shelley Duncan20475.387.89321.3%14.7%
Jim Thome21483.402.92716.9%14.6%
Russell Branyan17262.306.80619.4%14.5%
Matt Kemp508185.379.8799.7%13.7%
Pedro Alvarez21482.415.91512.2%13.4%
Mike Stanton293116.421.95610.3%13.2%
Pat Burrell24679.408.92111.4%13.2%
Josh Hamilton252124.369.8208.9%13.1%
Brennan Boesch276129.414.8757.0%12.5%
Ryan Braun458178.434.9146.7%12.0%
Brian McCann301109.367.78911.9%11.9%
Carlos Pena361139.296.74112.2%11.9%
Jorge Posada237101.257.64416.8%11.9%
Adam LaRoche24293.376.8179.7%11.8%
Joey Votto420165.466.9759.7%11.7%
Mark Reynolds459170.293.73117.6%11.4%
Carlos Quentin303109.286.7057.3%11.4%
Prince Fielder368159.365.7556.3%11.3%
Albert Pujols407162.379.8144.3%11.2%
Curtis Granderson411110.336.7763.6%11.2%
Kelly Johnson412153.329.7639.2%11.2%

Make a mistake to any of these hitters, and you're bound to pay for it. The above list includes only pitches that crossed the center of the strike zone since 2010. It's no surprise that Jose Bautista has a high HR% on mistake pitches; same for David Ortiz, Matt Kemp and a bunch of others.

I'm somewhat surprised to see Matt Joyce as #3 on the list. Of the 36 home runs he's hit since the start of 2010, 14 have come on pitches right in the center of the strike zone. Eight of those HRs came in 2011 when he hit 19 total long balls.

Nick Swisher has the most hits on mistake pitches with 80, while teammate Derek Jeter's 79 hits has him tied for second with Michael Young.

Mark Reynolds, #20 on the list, also has 30 strike outs on pitches over the middle of the plate since 2010. That's second only to Adam Dunn with 33.


2011's Big Bombers

While run-scoring was down for a sixth straight season in 2011 (from 4.86 runs per team during the go-go days of 2006 to 4.28), hitters still went deep a combined 4,552 times. On average, those homers traveled 395 feet from home plate to the cheap seats. But some batters blew past that average, routinely hitting tape-measure shots. Here's a look at the hitters with the highest average home run distance in 2011 (minimum 10 HR):


A few observations:

- Brent Morel (76 OPS+), Adam Dunn (56 OPS+) and Gordon Beckham (72 OPS+) had miserable offensive years for the White Sox, but apparently they tried to make up for all those outs by knocking the balls they did connect on clear out of Chicago. Alas, those bombs still only count once on the score board.

- Mike Stanton's moon shots at the Miami Marlins' new stadium will activate this beaming fishy Ferris Wheel. In spite of this, Marlins fans will still root for Stanton to go yard.

- All together, Matt Kemp's homers traveled just short of 3.1 miles. He could cover those 3.1 miles with a straight line of $100 bills and still have about $156.8 million left on his new eight-year, $160 million contract extension. This is a random, nerdy way of saying it pays to have Herculean power.