Did you remember that Adam Dunn doesn’t even like baseball that much?
In fact, he dislikes baseball so much that he wanted nothing to do with the round object hurled at him on a daily basis. He used to shoo those annoying baseball away with home runs, but now he’s just taking the honey badger approach to things, swinging himself into oblivion in 2013 with a .148/.242/.375 triple-slash through 88 PA in April.
There was just one problem — the Chicago White Sox are paying him some $30 million through 2014 to … not do that.
So, the slugger started to revert back to his old approach, and well, lets just say all parties are just a little bit happier these days. The White Sox, having gotten off to a rough start to the season, now find themselves right in the mix of things at just four games out of the top of the AL Central, thanks to a season-high four-game win streak.
Dunn, on the other hand, also finds himself in a four-game hitting streak. Coincidence?
Nah. Including his solo home run against the Los Angeles Angels‘ Garrett Richards on Friday’s 3-0 White Sox win that really put the game out of reach, the 33-year-old now has four homers in the last four games, part of a. 304/.360/913 triple-slash in that 23-AB run over the last week.
No, obviously no one is really expecting that Dunn is going to be hitting anywhere close to .300 anytime soon, but obviously having that all-important power threat back has keyed the White Sox offense over the last few games, as long as he can stay somewhere above the Mendoza line to show it often enough.
Even more importantly, though, is that the slugger is rebuilding that that pillar that made him a one of the best three-outcome hitters in the game — walks. Though it’s still not quite back to his excellent career rate of 16.2 percent, Dunn has pushed his walk rate in May to 11.1 percent, up from a dismal (for his skill set) 9.1 in April.
Working more advantageous counts will obviously give him better pitches to look at, and thus more pitches that he can drive out of the yard.
He’ll still swing and miss on strike three at many of those pitches, of course; but as the White Sox are gladly finding out, an Adam Dunn that Ks on a 1-2 pitch is a whole lot different from one that Ks on a 3-2 pitch.