Saturday, July 12, 2008

An analysis of Adam Dunn - How bad are high strikeout totals and would he help the New York Yankees?

I can't say there have been any substantiated Adam Dunn to the Yankees rumors as of late, but we all know that he is perennially on the trading block, and that the Yankee offense has been struggling this season.

The real inspiration to write this are the many people calling Adam Dunn one dimensional and saying that he can't help a team because he strikes out too much.

Adam Dunn is a "one-dimensional player" with a 2008 OPS+ of 133, a career OPS+ of 130 and a current 2008 VORP of 21.9

Before I go any further, let me remind you that I am not at ALL suggesting that the Yankees should trade for Adam Dunn. I am merely pointing out that any lineup would surely benefit from the addition of Adam Dunn.

As a matter of fact, Adam Dunn would be the fifth most valuable Yankee according to VORP if they traded for him right now.

The likelihood of the Yankees even inquiring with the Reds about the availability of Adam Dunn is slim, unless Hideki Matsui's injury is season-threatening (as of now it is not) and they completely give up on Melky Cabrera (they should).

Lets take a look at why evaluating a baseball player based on their strikeout totals is stupid:

Golden boy, Mr. intangibles, Captain Clutch Derek Jeter has accounted for 271 outs in 382 plate appearances (including his grounded into double plays [13 which account for 26 outs] and "regular outs" [382 PA - 98 hits - 27 BBs - 7 HBP - 5 sacrifice hits)

That equals out to .70 outs per plate appearance if my math is correct (I have based this on ESPN's expanded statistics page).*

Base clogging, one-dimensional strikes out too much Adam Dunn has accounted for 228 outs in 360 plate appearances (including his grounded into double plays [4 which account for 8 outs] and "regular outs" [360 PA - 64 hits - 69 BB - 4 HBP - 3 sacrifice hits)

That equals out to .63 outs per plate appearance.

Adam Dunn has 96 Ks and Derek Jeter has only 41, yet Derek Jeter has contributed more outs per plate appearance than Adam Dunn.

To go a bit further, lets look at pitches per plate appearance:

Dunn - 4.39
Jeter - 3.75

In most situations, it makes little sense to compare two COMPLETELY different players in Jeter and Dunn. Right now, however, it is pertinent because people are claiming that because Adam Dunn strikes out so much, he is not an asset to a lineup. Most of these same people would claim Derek Jeter was 100% an asset to a lineup, thus the justification of this comparison.

A few other fun facts about Adam Dunn:

- He has the fifth-highest career AB/HR ratio at 13.9.
- He's been in the top 10 in the league in walks the last 4 years running and will probably make it 5 years this season.
- He's 20th among active players in career OBP.
- He's durable. having played in over 150 games in four of the last five seasons.
- He's the model of consistency, having hit EXACTLY 40 HRs the past 3 years.

Without even looking at any defensive metrics (I have to cut this off somewhere) I am sure that Adam Dunn costs his team runs defensively. However, he MORE than makes up for it with the bat and if he did ever end up a NY Yankee, he would surely be a DH.

Annnnnnnd his strikeouts just don't matter.

*I encourage anyone to write in any correct the math on my outs per plate appearance stat or to comment on the efficiency of using it.

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