Is Adam Dunn Hurt?

Posted by Dave Nichols | Tuesday, April 13, 2010 | , , | 1 comments »

Over at Nats 320 today, he discusses an interesting problem--Adam Dunn's power outage.  While the numbers he puts up to illustrate the point are good, I think he misses one obvious question.  And since he usually doesn't post any comment I make on his blog, I'll ask it here:

Is Adam Dunn hurt?

SBF mentions the sudden and improbable loss of power at the end of last season.  Dunn went his final 19 games in 2009 without a homer, missing the 40-homer mark for the first time in six seasons.

He noted the 48 spring training at bats without a homer.

And he explains that so far in 2010, in 18 at bats, that he has neither homered, nor even mustered an extra base hit.  Dunn has two measly singles in the first seven games of the season.

He even mentions that Dunn is hitting .169 over his last 26-game stretch, including the end on 2009.

Dunn is still using his patience at the plate to get on base.  His 10 walks this season are among the league leaders.

But there's been no power in the clean-up spot in '10.

Dunn had some back spasms in spring training that kept him from playing a few games.  Could those back issues be more serious that he's leading everyone to believe?  Could they be bothering him just enough not to keep him out of the lineup, but to mess up his swing?

Is playing first base aggrevating his back?  Or is it distracting him from his primary job of hitting?

It's a big year for Dunn.  He's 30, an age when sluggers--throughout history--tend to start showing signs of age.  He's also in the final year of his contract and coming upon his last big payday.  In theory, anyway.

Both Dunn and the team expressed a willingness to talk about an extension before spring training, but little movement has been done on that front.

Dunn needs to figure out whatever is the source of his power outage--and quickly.  For his own sake.

As for the team?  Well, if Dunn isn't mashing bombs, he's practically useless to the team.  His defense is bad, whether he's at first or in left field.  And for all his OBP goodness, manager Jim Riggleman certainly won't be moving the slugger up in the order to be a table-setter.

And if he isn't hitting home runs, he's useless another way: as a valuable trading chip, should the team decide not to resign him.

For a team with precious few true power hitters, if Dunn's lack of power continues much longer Mike Rizzo might have to start evaluating some options, including exploring a trade for a right fielder with pop.

Bottom line:  Dunn needs to figure out where his power went for himself and the team.  Because hitting home runs is his only sale-able skill.

Hopefully by this time next week, he'll have hit four homers in six games and these discussions will look foolish.


  1. Andrew // April 13, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    Mark Z. covered it well.