Chicago White Sox' Adam Dunn Powering Up In June

By Thom Tsang
Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

If only the rubber match of the Chicago White Sox‘ three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays wasn’t postponed on Wednesday, Adam Dunn might just be that much closer to finally hitting that all-important Mendoza line.

See, while the surefire 40-home run slugger’s numbers are still sitting at a dismal .182/282/449, he’s actually been on a bit of a power run for the Southsiders. He has gone yard in three of the his last four contests, with a whopping three of them coming against the team whose ex-GM once insinuated that he doesn’t really like baseball.

Oh, and the one game that he didn’t homer in? He doubled in that one.

On Monday, it was the fog that took the knuckle out of R.A. Dickey‘s knuckleball, leaving it practically on a tee for Dunn to take it out of the ballpark twice in a season-best 4-for-4 performance. On Tuesday, he greeted MLB returnee Chien-Ming Wang with another solo shot on a sinker that didn’t sink enough.

Now, occasional streaks like this are not exactly alien to the slugger, but not only is he now on a four-game hitting streak, but it’s also the second time he’s been on one over 11 games in June (the other was actually a five-gamer that started on the last day of May), so perhaps there’s something a little more to be said about the run he’s currently on.

Not only is he carrying a nifty .293/.420/.707 line in the month, but his success has been the result of — gasp — improved plate discipline.

Sure, his 20 percent strikeout rate in June is unlikely to be sustainable, but the fact that he’s drawn walks at an 18 percent rate, closer to his career 16.1 percent than the 11.4 he currently has over the season? That seems like it could be legit, and as long as he can get on base, not even the strikeouts should keep his below replacement fWAR at -0.5 over the rest of the 2013 season.

Moreorver, there are signs that this is a batter who is making adjustments in his swing. After a failed experiment to swing at more first-pitch strikes at the beginning of the year, Dunn has successfully been getting balls up in the air at an increasing rate: 39.3 percent in April, 51 percent in May, and finally 61.3 percent thus far in June.

Considering that his HR/FB has held relatively steady around the 25.8 percent average for the season, and you can see why that would be a big deal for his power numbers.

No, the 1.127 OPS ways might not last very much longer, but at this rate, he could still perform well enough over the rest of the season to get back to the numbers he posted in his 41-homer, 1.7 fWAR bounce-back 2012 season — which is to say he can still be plenty useful.

Whether that’ll raise his stock enough for the White Sox to trade him and his $15 million contract for 2014, however …

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