Thursday, August 25, 2011

Adam Dunn's Historic Season

How many players in the history of Major League Baseball have had more than 400 plate appearances and hit less than .170? That would be none. None. Ever. Adam Dunn has the chance to be the first. With 431 plate appearances, Adam Dunn is hitting an incredible .165. He's had 60 hits all season. Sixty! Derek Jeter has had 61 hits since July 1. But say that Adam Dunn gets hot in the last month of the season. How high could his batting average go?

Say Adam Dunn were to get 150 more at bats this season. That's really unlikely as he isn't playing much these days. But say he does and hits .400 the rest of the way. That would raise his season average to .233. That's a huge stretch. Say he hits .300 over those 150 more at bats. That would raise his season average to just .204. The odds are that Adam Dunn will finish the season with a batting average under .200. Even if he hits .280 the rest of the way, he would just finish at .198.

All those things are possible of course. But all are highly improbable. Dunn certainly won't play against left-handed pitchers. His average against southpaws is an astounding .037 in 98 plate appearances. Even Jorge Posada is hitting for a higher average against lefties. So Dunn will only play against pitchers who throw with the right hand. And he's only hitting .208 against them this season. The odds are really strong that Adam Dunn is going to hit below .200 for the season. But how low?

That will depend on how much he plays. The White Sox have been linked to Jim Thome recently in waiver wire dealings. If that happens, forget about Dunn playing at all. And if Dunn does not improve his batting average over the last five weeks, it will be the lowest in major league history.

Only two players have ever had more than 400 plate appearances and batted under .180. Dunn certainly has a shot at joining that list. The two seasons it's been done before are Rob Deer's .179 in 1991 for the Tigers and Dal Maxvill's .175 for the Cardinals in 1969. 

Adam Dunn's fall has been unprecedented. You have to feel for the guy and for Ozzie Guillen who has to decide what to do with him. Dunn's current OPS+ of 60 is not even half of his career 128. It will be interesting to watch (in a way a buzzard watches road kill) to see if Dunn can become the only player ever to bat less than .170 with more than 400 plate appearances. The odds are very good that he'll at least join Rob Deer and Dal Maxvill in their dubious place in history.


Jonathan C. Mitchell said...

I cannot believe he has been this bad. It's crazy how he all of a sudden starting making even less contact. Way less!

Anonymous said...

Dunn not dun yet, the fat lady has not sung DUNN