In sports as in life, one year can make a huge difference. I think that nothing exemplifies that more than what Adam Dunn did in 2012.
In 2011, Dunn posted numbers for the Chicago White Sox that were near historic levels. Unfortunately, they were historic for the wrong reasons. Dunn was chasing Bill Bergen’s lowest batting average when Bergen played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1909. Bergen hit .139 and Dunn finished his year with .159.
Dunn had to improve in 2012 or he would go down as one of the worst signings of all time for the White Sox.
Right at the start of spring training Dunn looked slimmer and was hitting the ball better. He looked more like himself then he did all of 2011.
To look at how Dunn improved one must go beyond his batting average in 2012. His batting average was .204 but take a look at the numbers. He drove in 96 RBI’s, hit 41 home runs, hit 19 doubles, and had an on base percentage of .333. He even garnered an All-Star selection.
That is a huge improvement for him, and besides the batting average those numbers are consistent with his career. He still has one thing to improve on in 2013.
The one issue that I have with Dunn is his strikeouts. He had 222 that is one shy of the record that Mark Reynolds set in 2009. 222 strikeouts are extremely high even for Dunn. It is the first time in his career that he broke 200 strikeouts in a season.
He must improve on this and at least get below 200 strikeouts in 2013.
Dunn is streaky, when he is hot he is one of the hottest home run hitters. He will hit home runs that will go over 400 feet and will look majestic. When Dunn is cold he looks like a high school player facing MLB pitchers. He swings at everything and won’t take walks.
Dunn is going to be aggravating at times and at the same time be amazing. He will impress you and make your mouth drop with the home runs he hits. He will also make White Sox fans want to throw things at the TV and yell at him for swinging at bad pitches.
Dunn was recognized for his efforts. On October 21st he was named by The Sporting News the AL Comeback player of the year. He is the fifth White Sox player to get this award, the others being Jim Thome, Frank Thomas, Paul Konerko, and Bo Jackson.
Dunn can only go up from getting that award and in 2013 I expect him to do just that.