I’m not sure how it happened because I definitely didn’t intend it, but a replay of last night’s White Sox/Indians game was playing on my TV just now. I was able to catch the top of the 9th inning with the Indians up 11-2. Up steps Adam Dunn, possibly…no definitely the worst hitter in all of baseball this year. In case you’ve been living under a rock Adam Dunn is having the worst season in the history of baseball…no really, worst ever. The crazy thing about this is that this came from absolutely no where. Yes he switched from the NL to AL and he’s over 30, but those factors wouldn’t cause such a Ryan Leaf like drop in numbers.
Before this season Dunn had hit 38+ HR’s in each of his last 7 seasons, hit 100+ RBI’s in 6 of his last 7, and had an on base percentage of at least .356 in all 7 (which is good, he’s currently 25th amongst all active players in career OBP and better than Matt Kemp, Ichiro, Mark Teixeria, and Ryan Braun). Dunn was never really known as a good batting average hitter. He was more Mark Reynolds than Albert Pujols but did hit in the .260’s in 3 of his last 4 seasons. White Sox fans probably thought in the worst case scenerio when they signed him that he’d be Carlos Pena. Something like a .230, 35 HR, 80 RBI season. On the flip side his ceiling was probably .260, 42 HR, 105 RBI. His floor and ceiling aren’t that far apart and even an awful Adam Dunn would still have value. That’s why his current season is so shocking. Dunn is a model of consistency. Like a Cincinnati Bengal WR getting arrested for marijuana possession, the Pirates being below .500, and AJ Burnett getting shelled some things just always happen. He didn’t just start to slowly regress like many 30+ year old players do. Instead he went from a feared power hitter to Turd McGee overnight.
Everyone knows that the Mendoza line is the model by which all hitter futility is measured. If you hit below .200 you are pretty much the worst player ever and should quit playing baseball. When you are hitting 35 points below that number you deserve to take over that title and forever be associated with the line that talks about the worst of the worst. Somewhere in Mexico I’m guessing that Mario Mendoza is popping a bottle of champagne like the living 72′ Dolphins players. Congratulations Mario Mendoza. It may have taken almost 30 years but you are no longer the worst player to ever have played baseball during a season. That award now goes to Adam Dunn. Next year when Mark Reynolds is flirting with .200 no one will mention the Mendoza line. They’ll talk about the Dunn line and how Reynolds still has a long way to go.
Bonus Nugget: Did you know that Mario Mendoza’s career batting average is actually .215.
Bonus Nugget #2: Adam Dunn grounded out to first in that at bat.
Bonus Nugget #3: Adam Dunn is in the first year of a four year, $56 million dollar contract with the White Sox. Enjoy that one Sox fans.