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TGIF: The Case for Adam Dunn

It is no secret to my peers that I am a huge Adam Dunn fan. If it was at all possible I would have his children. I don’t know what it is about a 6’6″ outfielder that makes this young man’s heart start beating like a jackhammer. What I do know is that Adam Dunn is arguably the most undervalued player in all of fantasy baseball.

The naysayers out there are plentiful and frankly, I don’t see why they even exist. I am not trying to persuade anybody to draft him in the first round. Even I am not full of that much love. However, what I am begging you to do is to draft Adam Dunn without any hesitation in your upcoming baseball drafts. God knows I will be doing so.

Adam Dunn is a model of consistency but at the same time he is one of the biggest enigmas in all of baseball. In every season starting in 2004, Dunn has hit at least 40 HR and in four of his last five seasons, he has driven in 100+ RBI (with the lone exception being 2006 when he had 92 RBI). Not to mention he has scored 99+ runs in four of the last five years. Not even Albert Pujols has had five consecutive seasons of 40+ HR.

Dunn’s average season since 2004 goes something like this:

98 R, .249 average, 41 HR, 100 RBI, and 111 BB

Here is where the negative Nancy’s have a field day. As you can see by the five-year average above, one stat really pops out at you and that is the .249 batting average. Since his rookie year in 2001, the highest batting average that Adam Dunn has reached for a full season is .266 in 2004 with his 2nd highest coming in at .264 in 2007. Dunn’s career batting average is a dismal, pathetic .247. Even with such a factor working against him, Dunn has never had his OBP drop below .365 since 2004.

In a standard 5×5 baseball league, Dunn is shunned by many. Frankly I think everyone who strays away from Dunn is a moron. The biggest argument against Dunn is obviously that his batting average will kill your team. Fine, I agree. Last time I checked, though, your roster has more than one spot on it.

In three separate leagues last season, I drafted Dunn. Although he was slated to be drafted at a later time, I took him in Round 4 of each draft and at picks 46, 45, and 46 respectively. He was ranked to go in Round 5 or 6 last season. So, you’re going to sit there and tell me that before Round 5, you can’t draft a few players who can even out Dunn’s terrible batting average? Come on! Let’s just say for example that, you get Albert Pujols in Round 1. Then Round 5 comes and Dunn is still there. If you draft both, you now have a borderline guaranteed 80 HR. Not to mention if we take Pujols’ career batting average of .334 and combine it with Dunn’s .247, we get .291. Yeah, Dunn looks pretty tasty at this point right?  Plus, I just said you can get a 40-HR guy in Round 5. If that isn’t incentive alone, then I don’t know what is.

If I may make the whole “he kills my batting average” argument come full circle, then let me bring up one more name as an example: Willy Taveras. Yeah, the speedy center fielder. A lot of owners will put him in their lineups every single day just for the sole purpose of getting a stolen base. Taveras lead the majors in 2008 with 68 stolen bases but he hit .251 with 64 runs, 1 HR, and 26 RBI. A Taveras owner’s defense? “He gets me stolen bases”. Fair enough but, he also kills your four other standard categories. Dunn on the other hand is a lock for three out of five. So, the next time someone badmouths Dunn due to his tendency to hurt your batting average, keep in mind, it is one category.

Over at Yahoo! Fantasy, Brandon Funston released his latest Fantasy Baseball Big Board on January 12th. To no surprise, Adam Dunn didn’t break into the top 50 players. He loses out to players who are more likely to steal 30 bases than hit 30 HR but hey, so is life. Then again, those same players who can steal 30 bases sure can’t drive in 100 runs or even score 100 runs.

Some more fun with stats in the 2008 season

  • 25 players hit 30+ HR
  • 16 players had 30+ stolen bases
  • 26 players had 100+ RBI
  • Only 2 players hit 40+ HR (Adam Dunn and Ryan Howard)
  • Only 2 players who stole at least 20 bases had 100+ RBI (Bobby Abreu and Carlos Beltran)
  • Number of players with 30+ SB and 100+ RBI: Zero

So it comes down to preference I guess. What is more important to you: A home run or a stolen base? In a standard 5×5 league, it is a HR. With a HR, you get the HR category, the run, and the RBI. The stolen base just gets you the stolen base category. Personally, I participate in bigger leagues such as a 12×12 where we have categories like walks, slugging, and OBP. Dunn gets more value here due to his incredible plate patience and raw power.

With Adam Dunn, you draft him for his guaranteed power stroke. Just be prepared to sit through his notorious cold streaks and multiple strikeout games. A box score of 0-4 with 3 K isn’t unfamiliar territory for Adam Dunn. Then the time comes for Adam Dunn to step it up and he rewards your patience with a home run barrage sweeter than the tastiest chocolate you ever did eat. So yes, draft Dunn and don’t fret about the batting average. If you have concerns then just draft a bunch of players who hit at least .300 last season (there were 31 of them if you care to know).

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Discussion

2 comments for “TGIF: The Case for Adam Dunn”

  1. [...] What I Liked: I don’t care if I am biased towards my favorite players. Two words: Adam Dunn. [...]

    Posted by TGIF: 2009 Sports of Boston Friends and Family Baseball Draft | Sports of Boston | March 27, 2009, 9:33 am
  2. [...] fantasy baseball, we often attach ourselves to certain players. In my case it is Nick Markakis and Adam Dunn. Recently, Cincinnati 1B Joey Votto has begun to win my heart. Ironically, Adam Dunn leaving the [...]

    Posted by TGIF: Joey Votto = New Man Crush | Sports of Boston | April 10, 2009, 5:28 am

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