On 10/19/2012, MLB announced the comeback player of the year for the American League. The winner was Fernando Rodney for the Tampa Bay Rays. While his comeback was great, there are two players that I’m surprised didn’t win. That would be Adam Dunn and Alex Rios.
Everyone knows Dunn’s story coming from 2011. If you forgot or just don’t want to remember let me refresh your memory. He hit .159, didn’t hit a home run off of a lefty, and only hit 11 home runs. Utility player Brent Lillibridge hit more home runs then Dunn did in 2011. His on base percentage in 2011 was .292. Those are horrible numbers.
Dunn was an entirely different player in 2012. While his batting average still wasn’t anywhere close to what the Chicago White Sox wanted it was still better than 2011. Dunn had a .204 batting average. Dunn hit 41 home runs and had 96 RBI’s. He also hit 14 of those 41 home runs off of lefties. Like I said, while the average was terrible the numbers weren’t. Dunn even had two stolen bases.
How Dunn wasn’t named the AL comeback player of the year? Perhaps it was for his average? Or maybe some will argue that no matter what Dunn did, as long as he hit above .160 and more than 11 home runs he would have a good year. Valid arguments, so let’s take a look at Rios.
2011 was also a terrible year for Rios. He only hit .227, and had 13 home runs. His on base percentage was .265, that’s even worse than Dunn. 2012 was a comeback year for Rios.
Rios hit .304, had an on base percentage of .334 and he hit 25 home runs. This next statistic is for the sabermetrics junkies. Rios had a 4.2 wins above replacements. In 2011 he was -2.1.
Rios was considered the MVP for the White Sox in 2012. Without him the White Sox may not have won as many games. Rios didn’t garner an All Star appearance for reasons that still baffle me.
How Rios wasn’t named AL comeback player of the year baffles me even more. There aren’t any valid arguments to be made against Rios not being named.
I’m not taking anything away from Rodney, he had a stellar 2012. He converted 48 out of 50 saves and had an ERA of .060. Those numbers are amazing, but I still don’t see how that can beat Dunn and Rios.
I guess being the MVP of the White Sox for Rios is better than the AL comeback player of the year. I’m sure that Dunn also enjoyed having a season where he wasn’t scrutinized for everything he did and hit above .160.
Still, some hardware would have been nice to have for both of these players. Rios and Dunn are comeback players to White Sox fans and in my eyes as well.