Adam Dunn, Hall Of Famer?

In his post about Jason Heyward yesterday, Matthew Carruth referred to Adam Dunn as a “maybe” Hall-of-Famer. When I read that, I assumed Matthew had taken leave of his senses, or was making some kind of joke that I didn’t quite get. After all, Dunn has a career +27.7 WAR through age 30, and the established bubble for HOF players is currently about +60 WAR. It is highly unlikely that Dunn will be able to double his value in the second half of his career, especially given his skillset.

But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized Matthew was right – Adam Dunn very well may end up in Cooperstown if he can stay healthy.

Career HR totals are definitely one of the magic numbers that get voters attention. The guaranteed entry barrier used to be 500 before the offensive explosion of the 1990s. Only 25 guys in history have ever hit 500+ home runs, and almost all of them are or will be in the Hall of Fame. Now that non-superstars like Gary Sheffield and Rafael Palmeiro have joined the list, its exclusivity has been diminished, but it’s still the kind of number that will draw notice, especially for a guy who has never been linked to PEDs.

Well, Adam Dunn is only 149 home runs away from 500, and he’s averaged 35 HR per 600 PA in his career so far. Barring injury or a very early collapse of his skills, 500 homers seems like a very easy target for Dunn. That’s averaging just under 30 homers a year for the next five seasons, and the last time he hit fewer than 30 long balls in a year was 2003. His bat may begin to slow down, but he’s got enough power that he can lose some and still crank out that piece with relative ease.

Given just how bad defensively he was in the outfield, however, he’ll almost certainly be the worst player ever to reach that milestone. Even with the power, his offensive production has always been just good, not great, and he’s one of the worst defenders and baserunners of his generation. In terms of actual value, there’s almost no way Dunn will deserve to go into the Hall, but I’m not sure that will matter.

If he hits 500 homers, and is presumed to have done so while “clean”, there will be support for his candidacy, especially if he’s going up against other guys who have tested positive or been linked to steroids. If he gets anywhere near 600 and keeps away from scandal, he’s a mortal lock, and it’s not impossible to see Dunn launching 250 homers over the remainder of his career.

So, I have to conclude that Matthew is right – Adam Dunn is a “maybe” Hall of Famer. If he stays healthy for the next 5 to 10 years, he’s got a pretty decent chance at putting up the kinds of numbers that voters will take notice of. He won’t deserve to go in based on total value, but the sexy numbers just may be enough. He does the things that voters like, and the aspects where he fails, there is little emphasis. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but there’s a decent chance that my kids might walk past Dunn’s plaque in Cooperstown some day.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


101 Responses to “Adam Dunn, Hall Of Famer?”

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  1. Hejuk says:

    Ah, Dave, but what of the increasing statistical awareness among the BBWAA? By the time Dunn’s made his traditional hall of fame case, there may not be enough writers voting along traditional lines.

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  2. The Duder says:

    From the first sentence to the last was my thought process yesterday after reading the Heyward article. Right on the money on all points…

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  3. Adam S says:

    Adam Dunn, Hall of Famer, doesn’t pass the sniff test. Never the best OF in baseball or even the NL, never finished in the top 25 in MVP, ONE all-star game. And thus nowhere close or any of Bill James HoF monitor.

    He’s a good player who helped his teams win, but he’s not really a star.

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      Agreed on all counts.

      But if he ends up with 550 HR and is presumed clean, do you think voters will leave him out?

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      • Luke in MN says:

        IMHO, as one-dimensional as he is, he needs 600 to have a chance.

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      • NEPP says:

        Yes…yes they will.

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      • B N says:

        I think they’d completely leave him out. Considering he was a defensive dead weight for most of his career, I think he would be treated very much like a DH or worse than a DH for hall consideration.

        Consider the situation 10+ years out from now when Dunn would be considered:
        1. For classical stat guys, his AVG and RBI will still be subpar.
        2. For advanced stat guys (probably a growing group), he won’t make the cut.
        3. Probably no DH types will be inducted by then (unless Edgar Martinez scrapes by). Due to new attention to defense, Dunn may be considered worse than DH types with similar production.
        4. A number of 500 club guys will not have been inducted, due to steroid ties. These guys could include Palmiero, Sheffield, and McGuire. In other words, guys who probably would have been much better even without the steroids.
        5. Dunn still scores poorly on both the black ink and grey ink metrics, due to a lack of real dominance.
        6. Other non-steroid linked contemporaries with better stats and similar HR totals will be approaching retirement (i.e. Howard, Pujols, Fielder, etc)

        So we have a situation where:
        1. 500 HR is no longer a lock for HOF.
        2. Other, better players with 500 will be on the ballot or nearly on the ballot.
        3. He will never have been considered the best at his position, even for a single season. (horrible black ink, basically) His consistency actually hurts him, as having a bunch of 50+ HR seasons and some < 30 HR seasons would be more attractive to voters.
        4. His defensive issues will be more evident, causing him to be treated more like a DH than a position player.

        So, in a word: No. He won't be on a HOF plaque. Unless he hits the longest HR in history, in which case he might have a little display somewhere.

        Which is not to say I dislike Dunn, I think he's been undervalued for much of his career and he's much better at 1B defensively now. But I can't imagine him getting into the hall.

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    • Mike G. says:

      Agree with you, and with Dave below. If Dunn makes it, it’s going to be as an accumulator. Whether he deserves it or not is another matter entirely…

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    • Mike G. says:

      Like some of the others who commented above me, I think the issue for Dunn is whether or not he stays healthy/productive into his 30s. I agree that Dunn doesn’t necessarily have “old man” skills, but history isn’t on his side when it comes to bashing 40+ HR for another five years running. A-Rod had seven 40+ HR in his 20s and has had one since.

      Others with 5+ 40 HR seasons in their 20s
      Ernie Banks 5/0.
      Harmon Killebrew 5/3
      Juan Gonzalez 5/0
      Ken Griffey Jr. 6/1
      Ralph Kiner 5/0

      Dunn is certainly in a pretty exclusive club. Banks, Killebrew, and Kiner are in Hall and Griffey is most certainly going to be in 5 years. Juan Gone is a great guy to see here. He seemed like a shoo-in at the end of 1999; with 342 HR it didn’t seem possible he’d fail. But, of course, he did. It’s hard to say where Dunn’s career trajectory is going to take him, but if he finishes with 450 HR, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least.

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    • JimNYC says:

      I see Dunn as being pretty similar to Jim Thome. Never really considered a star, just a complimentary piece (although Thome complimented on much, much better teams than Dunn ever has, especially in Cleveland). No defense or baserunning to speak of, but a lot of power and patience in the “wait, he already has 30 homers? Seriously?” vein. And pretty much everybody pegs Thome as a HoF’er for some reason.

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      • NEPP says:

        Go compare Thome’s stats and Dunn. Its not even close. Thome is 10 times the hitter that Dunn is. Hell, Thome is a better hitter this year than Dunn. Seriously, just go use the compare tool on this website and look at it. Its not even close.

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      • philosofool says:

        This is a joke, right? Thome will hit his 600th home run next season unless he’s injured and has a career .963 OPS, which puts him two spots ahead of A-Rod and 17th all time. Indeed, outside Pujols and A-Rod, he’s the active hitter most likely to get into the hall.

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      • Luke in MN says:

        Here, compare the careers of Jim Thome, Harmon Killebrew, Derek Jeter, and Adam Dunn:

        http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?playerid2=409&playerid3=1006905&playerid4=826&playerid5=319

        The first two are essentially clones and Jeter–while obviously an entirely different player–has basically the same career WAR progression as well. Then notice how Dunn stacks up to those 3.

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  4. Schu says:

    He’s been fine as a first baseman, why punish him excessively just because the Reds put him in the wrong position to start his career?

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    • Ben says:

      Because it’s besides the point. Whether or not he COULD have had more value at another position is irrelevant for the purposes of this discussion. The fact is that regardless of whose fault it was, he did play outfield for the last 7 years, and he hurt his teams tremendously while doing so. When evaluating whether he should be in the HOF, we have to consider only what he did, not what he could have done.

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      • Bill says:

        Ordinarily, I would agree that he should not be judged on what he could have done. However, in this case, we can know exactly what he would have done had he DH’ed. Instead of punishing him for being a team player and actually playing the position the coach put him in, we should look at his offense and punish his defense only to the extent a DH is punished. We know what Dunn would be worth if he had never worn a glove, so he can and should be judged by this.

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  5. Luke in MN says:

    Agree. I think Dunn passing 500 HRs will be a yawner to old-school and new-schoolers alike, but 600…well…

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  6. grandbranyan says:

    If he liked baseball or even had the tiniest passion for the game he’d already be in the hall.

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  7. bstar says:

    Dunn will be an interesting case if he gets 600 HR, especially if home run totals stay at a reasonable level for the rest of his career. One thing very impressive about his career has been the consistency. I’ve got his eight straight seasons of 35+ HRs as the second best streak of all-time. He really has yet to have anything resembling an off-year powerwise, so I do think he has a decent shot at 600.

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  8. Jeremy says:

    Sheffield will/should be the first ever Marlin in the HOF.

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  9. Pete says:

    Do you even read what you write?

    “Even with the power, his offensive production has always been just good, not great”

    Since ’04, Dunn has been one of the top 20 in batting WAR 5 times (per your own website). Only 3 others can make the same claim: Pujols, Holliday, Miguel Cabrera. Not ARod. Not Manny. Not Teixiera or Berkman or Ortiz or Howard. Only Dunn, Pujols, Holliday, and Cabrera.

    Also, since fangraphs doesn’t list it, I went to bbref to check his baserunning RAR. “One of the worst baserunners of his generation” is -3 runs for his career.

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    • Pete says:

      Oh, and that -3 baserunning RAR is the same as Nyjer Morgan, who you famously said was as valuable as Dunn.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        … and he comes out swinging. A viscious 1-2 puts him down on the canvas. *grin*

        I have never considered Dunn to be a HoF, and his name comes up A LOT in these discussions, because it’s often centered around new vs. old, specifically in how people values bases on balls.

        He’s a walk and homer machine. Someone mentioned Thome earlier, and that’s a good comp.

        I would not vote for Dunn as a Hof, but he certainly gets the discussion going, and really forces one to examine what they value most in regards toimportance and player value.

        He’s one of those guys, like Johnny Damon, that may never be considered great, but that might accumulate such stats and career value, that he cannot be ignored.

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    • kwk says:

      Yes, because the accepted way to get from good to great offensive production is to meet some dude named Pete’s arbitrary standard. “I’ll find a stat that makes Dunn look like a better hitter than AROD, Manny, and Berkman! Even though it isn’t even close to remotely true!”

      Also, you misquote Dave on the baserunning thing. The quote is “..and he’s one of the worst defenders and baserunners of his generation.” Worse defenders AND baserunners – I think to analyze this claim you’d have to look at the sum of his non-batting contributions. Granted, I’m giving Dave the benefit of the doubt on this because it’s a little confusing, but I think he’s earned it.

      You, however, are the worst kind of critic. Arguing using misleading, self-created standards. Misquoting. Focusing on details and ignoring context. I will never cease to be amazed at Fangraphs commenters tendency to vote up idiotic posts like yours.

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      • B N says:

        Agreed that the top 20 batting WAR is ridiculous. Who cares? Wait, I care. Because I’m Dunn’s father’s uncle’s brother’s former room mate! Now… carry the 1 and… voila! The best player of our generation!

        I think it can be readily agreed upon that people would much rather have A-Rod, Manny, Ortiz, or Berkman in their primes than Dunn in his prime years. Is this fair? Not entirely. Dunn has been remarkably consistent, and would have been a great cornerstone DH for a franchise. But he just doesn’t seem to have those dominant seasons where pitchers are afraid to throw the ball remotely close to the plate.

        It just seems odd to generate an arbitrary metric, even when it provides an obviously wrong conclusion about player evaluation.

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      • Pete says:

        Please.

        No one would argue that Dunn is the hitter than Arod or Manny in their primes were. However, a guy who’s one of the 15-20 best every year has to be considered much more than “just good”.

        And I think you’re really stretching in your defense of the ” worst fielding and baserunning” statement – why bring up baserunning if you don’t also consider it bad?

        Finally, why are you giving “Nyjer Morgan is as valuable as Adam Dunn” and Mr. 6th Best Organization any benefit of the doubt?

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      • Kevin C. says:

        Your post was nothing but insults and useless information. Being top 20 in WAR is quite significant, especially when considering the consistency of it. If Dunn keeps doing what he’s doing, he is a virtual lock for HOF. Being the “best” at your position is often times the requirement for HOF, but being very good for a long time often times makes up for that.

        Reggie Jackson is a very good comp for Dunn. While Reggie obviously had the post-season numbers and the Yankee connection to help him out, the career numbers are quite similar.

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    • Taliq says:

      Howard wasn’t even playing in 04, or 05, so I don’t think he could have been top 20 5 times…until the end of this year. But either way, being consistently good isn’t the same as being great.

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  10. joemoedee says:

    Dunn a HOFer? Doubtful. Take the 09 offseason for example, no one was willing to pony up the money for him on the long term. He’s not viewed as a premier player, amongst his peers or versus history.

    He’s been an All Star one time, not regarded as good fielder, nor has he been on a team that mattered. If he spent his whole career as a Yankee and put up similar numbers? Then it’s possible he’s in the discussion.

    600 home runs? For a guy with “old man skills”? I think it’s too early for that discussion.

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  11. frank says:

    I made a similar Dunn HOF? comment on another site (while doing estimates on the possibility of him getting to 600 HR’s). People thought I was nuts, but I think this is a question of stat accumulators vs dominance (vs a mix of the 2) for the HOF.

    If he has never been in the Top 25 in his own league for MVP voting, he falls in the stat accumulator bin in my view. I realize MVP voting is flawed but he’s been nowhere close to being a “dominant” player and I don’t see how he should be in the HOF based on an arbitrary HR plateau.

    If folks are going to use WAR both the total and the peaks need to be looked at. Dunn has passed 4WAR twice in his career (probably 3 after this year) and has exceeded 5 just once. Even if he somehow exceeds 60WAR, I think it has to be considered how he got there – was he grinding out 3WAR seasons forever or putting up soome high WAR seasons?

    Finally the presumed clean extra credit crap needs to stop… We have no clue who is/was clean and who is/was not clean. If voters want to assign some negative value to folks who took or were linked to steroids fine, but lets not be giving extra credit to people we really have no clue about. The absence of rumor does not equal clean.

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  12. BN says:

    I see Dunn as a rare case where BBWAA will overlook their traditional measures of hall of fame criteria. The guy has never gotten much respect from traditional writers because he doesn’t hit for average whatsoever, never driven as many runs as you’d expect a guy hitting for that much power, and hasn’t been on a winner.

    As was pointed out he’s never gotten any love on MVP voting rightly or wrongly. So judging by these things I can’t see him ever being a serious candidate. I think he’s always gotten more respect from Sabr friendly writers than traditional writers because they at least respect someone who hits for tons of power and still walks a lot.

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    • Bad Bill says:

      Seems to be the flavor of the week; that makes at least three such sites asking about Dunn, unless your first name isn’t really Frank.

      And what “sexy numbers” is Dave talking about? Dunn has compiled exactly ONE “sexy number” in his career: that home run figure. His RBI totals aren’t special; he’s been in the top 10 in the league a few times, but never top five. There is no need to speak of his batting average. And even with his vast walk totals, he’s never been above ninth in the league on OBP.

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  13. Kyle says:

    How was Sheffield not a superstar? And Palmeiro, while tainted, was one of the best hitters(3000 hits, 500 homeruns.) Unlike Jim Rice, he was intentionally walked 172 times in his career. He had the most hits in the 90’s I believe, and had 1835 RBI. Not to mention, he’s sixth all-time in extra base hits and had awesome range at first base. He even walked more than he struck out(something that Dawson and Rice while on amphetamines and no one else knows wish they could have done.)

    Palmeiro basically ran and hid after he was busted for lying, but he easily could have played 2 more seasons and had 600 homeruns, 600 doubles, and 2000 RBI. Cheating is a part of baseball, and pointing those guys out as cats who aren’t superstars is sorta weird. But you could have mentioned Jim Thome or Frank Thomas just as easily. Did either one of those guys lead their team to the World Series???

    Dunn being only 30, could easily average 30 homeruns for the next 9 seasons(even if he sucks at fielding and doesn’t benefit from a hitter’s park or stacked lineup like Ryan Howard)and end up with 600 homeruns.

    If Dunn stays healthy and goes to the American League to DH? And especially if it’s a hitter’s park(though he doesn’t need it since most of his homeruns travel about 440 feet, he’ll get 600 just like Thome.

    Dunn is only 30, and has 351 homeruns…

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    • NEPP says:

      You’e aware of course of the studies that show that “stacked lineups” are pretty much a myth when it comes to protection. Also, Howard piles up RBIs because of his spectacular numbers with RISP. Dunn’s numbers (avg & slg particularly) take a nosedive with RISP and thus he doesnt pile up RBIs.

      Besides which, you mention “hitters parks” and ignore that Dunn played most of his career in the Great American Ballpark..hardly a pitchers park.

      Also, dont compare Thome and Dunn…its a terrible comparison that has no basis in fact.

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      • redsfandan says:

        “Also, dont compare Thome and Dunn…its a terrible comparison that has no basis in fact.”

        Except Thome might be the closest HOF worthy comparison to Dunn among his comtemporaries. A player whose value is built mainly around his power with limited value elsewhere. IF Dunn is lucky he might be thought of, at election time, like Thome will be. Dunns problem is that Thome has things that will help him more.

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      • B N says:

        It’s a great comparison. You can compare them and readily conclude that Thome is a much better player. There. That was simple.

        Seeing as Thome is like Adam Dunn if Dunn hit for better average, struck out less, and didn’t have to play in the OF losing runs they’re QUITE similar players. Though actually, Dunn is quite a bit faster as a runner.

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    • Fred says:

      Frank Thomas won back to back MVPs and was offensively better than Albert Pujols for the early portion of his career.

      1991-1997 330/452/604 182 OPS+

      I guess that’s comparable to Adam Dunn’s 246/382/514 line and 130 OPS + over the first 7 full years of his career though.

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      • JP Riccardi says:

        Seriously. How old are people here that they can’t remember the Big Hurt as the dominant force that he was. It was really between he and Griffey, Jr. for that “best of the generation” tag.

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    • Alex Poterack says:

      Also, dude…I thought we were all aware that Mark Grace had the most hits in the 90’s. Didn’t you get the memo?

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  14. Dudley says:

    how about abreu as the anti-dunn? his career WAR is over 60, but a lot of his value is tied to base running, walks, and health, which aren’t sexy cats. so, he might not get in, even though based on overall value, it seems like he should.

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    • Alex Poterack says:

      I never realized Abreu had been that valuable over his career…technically he’s only at 57 for his career per rWAR, but that’s more than Hank Greenberg, Andre Dawson, and nearly as much as Richie Ashburn, Willie Stargell, Mike Piazza…and he’s still playing. I’m impressed; learn something new every day, I guess.

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    • Aaron says:

      We don’t mention Abreu at family gatherings anymore after my brother and I got into a heated discussion about his (Abreu’s) HOF chances. I say he should be a bubble guy, my bro says he should never get more than 5% of the vote. If you look at his numbers (Abreu’s) he was a pretty impressive combination of decent power, decent speed, great eye, and incredible durability (zero DL trips and the longest string in the majors of 150+ game seasons.) He’s basically the CC Sabathia of the hitting world-no single dominant characteristic just a whole lot of really good skills and an injury history that’s totally clean.

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  15. Dirk says:

    Elsewhere I’ve seen arguments that for HOF purposes, the max defensive penalty you should give a player is the DH penalty, and that makes sense to me. It’s not his fault he was put in the field when he shouldn’t have been. If in his early years he’d been playing in the AL and DHing, then his WAR would be far higher. Perhaps not HOF-level, but significantly higher than it is now.

    I realize that he’s balked at DH-ing recently, but I still think capping his defensive penalty for his career at that of a DH makes some sense. Based on a quick glance, if you cap his defensive penalty for a given year at -12.5 (that’s the net penalty for DH’s correct?), he adds 5 or 6 wins to his total. Still not really HOF levels, but that’s a significant bump.

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    • Ben says:

      I don’t buy this (made a similar post above). If we’re considering the HOF, we have to consider what a player has actually done. Whether he’d be more valuable as a DH might not be his fault (although in his case, it kind of is), but he still hurt his team by being out in the field. He cost the Nats 37 runs last year, and that can’t be undone. It hurt his team quite a bit, and we have to consider that. Put Gary Carter in centerfield, and he’s not in the Hall. Put Edgar Martinez at SS and max out the penalty as the DH penalty and he’s a first-balloter. He might have a better argument as a 1B, but he did what he did, and that’s all we can go on.

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      • frank says:

        Just to be clear, folks **estimate** he cost the Nats 37runs there is no way we actually know this, it is simply modeled. You can’t say 37 runs with such certainty as if you are measuring how many hits he had or how many HR’s he had.

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    • Luke in MN says:

      To me, the better argument is the opposite: that DHing is such a rare opportunity to minimize your defensive ineptitude that DHs should get a greater penalty when analyzing their HOF chances; they should be treated like they had actually played the field like Adam Dunn.

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  16. NEPP says:

    Dunn should definitely get into the Reds Hall of Fame…and maybe even the Nats if he resigns with them.

    The only way he should ever get into Cooperstown is if he buys a ticket like the rest of us.

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  17. Kenny says:

    Speaking of Palmeiro, I was looking at his numbers today.

    414 homers AFTER he turned 30. FOUR HUNDRED AND FOURTEEN.

    This is the exception, not the rule, but it is possible for Adam Dunn to go to an American League team and finish his career north of 600 homers, maybe even 650. And then how do you keep a player, as mediocre as his career has felt, out of the hall of fame?

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      Yeah, it’s no secret how he fought off the traditional aging curve, even for elite players. Barry Bonds had a similar explosion after the age of 30 … well, 35.

      Both were viewed as being among the greatest college baseball players in history, so the late bloomer aspect goes away.

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  18. bstar says:

    He’s not your typical ‘Old Man’s Skills’ hitter. Sure, his production might very well fade, but it also might not for another five years. What if it doesnt? What if he hits HR at the same pace for another five years? What if he hits 90% as many? Either way and he’s already over 500.

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  19. NEPP says:

    Dunn will prove that 500 HRs is no longer automatic entry into the HoF.

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    • Alex Poterack says:

      I suspect Sheffield and Raffy will beat him to it.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Palmeiro is not in the HoF because of his PED use (positive test even).

        Palmeiro is one of FOUR players in MLB history to rack up 3K hits AND 500 HRs.

        There’s not aq statistical reason for why RP ain’t in the HoF, it’s all morals. It’s still amazing that Miss St had him AND Will Clark in the sme college lineup.

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      • B N says:

        It’s true. Palmeiro was such a good player, he got a gold glove while playing DH. That right there is talent. :)

        But more seriously, minus the steroids he’d probably be a lock. Whoops. He may get better consideration by the veterans committee, but I doubt he makes it in during regular voting.

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  20. Kenny says:

    Also

    -1.9 UZR this year has to be taken as seriously as his -37 last year, right? Over 3 year average, we-re talking about a -23 UZR which isn’t good but if he posts another season or two near 0 UZR (Not expecting much more than that) Adam Dunn is a 4-5 win player. Could he finish with 50 WAR? Possibly.

    I just am not sure that a guy who is historically bad at 2 things: defense and strikeouts is any worse than a guy who is historically bad at power and speed. If a guy hits .315/.400/.450 with good defense is he better than a guy who hits .260/.380/.520 with bad defense? A career OPS over .900? The only thing he doesn’t pass is that he’s not a superstar, I just wonder if his career will really end up that much worse than a person like Andre Dawson.

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    • joe says:

      So Dunn has average speed? Or is that a third bad thing?

      The guy has 1 season over 5 WAR. He’s had 2 other seasons over 4WAR (I assuming he passes that this year as he’s at 3.9)

      How exactly is he a 4-5 WAR player? He has just under 28WAR in nine and a half seasons…. smells a lot like a 3 WAR player, but I never was very good at math.

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  21. NEPP says:

    ****A career OPS over .900? ****

    He’s at his peak right now…that number will drop off as he continues into his 30s and has a couple crappy years at the end as they always do. Right now, he’s something like 130th all time in OPS+…he’ll likely fade and be down near 200 when its all said and done. That’s just not enough (out of a 1b/dh) for the Hall.

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    • Kenny says:

      His career OPS+ of 133 is in fact tied for 126th all-time. And I know you’re saying thats going to go down a ways. But just saying, do you know who he is tied with?

      Earl Averill (HoF)
      Orlando Cepeda (HoF)
      Fred Dunlap (Basically one of the original players)
      Chick Hafey (HoF)
      Joe Kelley (HoF)
      John Kruk
      Jim O’Rourke (HoF)
      Danny Tartabull
      Billy Williams (HoF)

      You were just sort of implying (at least it sounded like you were implying) that his current OPS+ wouldn’t be hall of fame worthy and it clearly is.

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      • NEPP says:

        That’s not what I meant to imply. I meant to imply that his “final” OPS+ will be quite unworthy when combined with his terrible defense. As he’s at his peak right now, its hard to look at a stat like that and say “well, he’s as good as Player X”…

        Say he does a steady decline and ends up with an OPS+ of 125. That’d drop him down to around 230th all time…hardly good enough for a 1B/DH.

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      • Bad Bill says:

        This argument isn’t helped, however, by the observation that a couple of the guys on that list are among the candidates for “worst HoF inductee ever.”

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      • shoewizard says:

        “John Kruk”

        The injustice of it all

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  22. TribeFanV says:

    I really don’t buy the whole “All-Star” thing. Ryan Zimmerman was not an All-Star this year. Many people think that Omar Vizquel, thanks to slick defense and about 2800 hits as a SS, will be a HOFer. Somebody who’s into the whole All-Star thing needs to see how many ASG appearances Omar has made.

    I’m not a big fan of the MVP-voting argument, either. Dunn has been a consistently stellar bat, but voters favor players on winning teams. Dunn’s defense may be abysmal (and ill-placed), but he’s not a primary reason for Cincy’s and Washington’s failures.

    And Dunn is not one-dimensional offensively. His career .381 OBP sits above many more-hyped players of his generation. My favorite example is Ichiro…of course, Ichiro’s run prevention has been stellar, but I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard the guy with a lifetime .355 wOBA called “a phenomenal hitter”, “something truly special”, or some other ridiculous misattribution.

    I consider Dunn a maybe. Then again, Mark Reynolds is one of my favorite players.

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    • NEPP says:

      The biggest issue I have with Dunn is that as a 4/5 hitter (over 80% of his ABs), he’s a mediocre run producer. His job is to drive in runs and he doesn’t do it all that well. He has great OBP skills but he rarely swings with men on and with RISP and it shows in his overall numbers. Most players hit better with RISP, Dunn’s numbers drop off significantly (AVG & SLG).

      Perhaps he is miscast as a cleanup hitter but that perception will hurt him.

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      • TribeFanV says:

        I’ve soured on RBI…I looked up Dunn and Thome and I found this interesting.

        Dunn: 10 seasons (including this one): 22.02 WPA, -3.01 Clutch

        Thome: 20 seasons (including this one): 48.19 WPA, -11.38 Clutch

        And I see no reason not to compare Thome and Dunn. The biggest difference between the two is that Thome’s managers have been smart enough not to put him in the outfield.

        Dunn: .251/.381/.523, .385 wOBA, 32.6 K%, -117.8 Fld

        Thome: .278/.404/.559, .407 wOBA, 30.1 K%, -39 Fld

        To be certain, Thome has been the superior player (although the damning advanced fielding stats aren’t available for much of his career). But I don’t see it as an illogical comparison. Both are 1B/DHs with a good eye and good pop. One just had to play the outfield for years, while the other was switched across the diamond early.

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      • isavage says:

        The biggest difference is Thome hasn’t been put in the outfield? I would consider .027 BA points/ .023 OBP points a MASSIVE difference. Not to mention that you’re assuming that Dunn’s going to keep up his production into his 40s, which is a crazy assumption. In Thome’s years with Cleveland, which took him to the point where Dunn is right now in his career, he was at .287/.414/.567 … so yeah, you can certainly compare that to .251/.381/.522, and conclude that Dunn is clearly Thome-lite

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      • philosofool says:

        Sorry Tribe Fan, the Dunn/Thome comparison is terrible. Over the course of 20 seasons, the .022 difference in wOBA is worth 24 wins. That’s ten season of an above average player and fucking lot of difference.

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      • TribeFanV says:

        I realize that 22 points of wOBA is a big difference. But how is 90 more runs lost defensively (in half the time) not bigger?

        I stated that Thome has clearly been the superior player. There’s no question. I’m just saying that they’re similar…comparing two players doesn’t mean you say that they’re equally productive. Comparing involves analyzing similarities. And of all the HOF-type players of the past generation, I think Dunn’s style of play is more comparable to Thome’s than, say, Tony Gwynn’s.

        Given Dunn’s skill set, it’s easy to see why he might not hit extremely well into his 40s. But when Thome was having knee problems in Philly, his forecast wasn’t exactly peachy.

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    • Ben says:

      Yeah the “award standard” is kind of a funny thing. We spend so much time criticizing All-Star selections and MVP winners and Cy Young winners, but then turn around and use them when evaluating a player’s HOF credentials. And by “we,” I’m not talking just about SABR followers. Every year, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and most mainstream newspapers will run columns breaking down All Star choices, including “snubs.”

      All that said, I do think there’s still some value to considering awards simply for context. The fact that Adam Dunn has never finished top 25 in MVP voting is pretty telling/damning. So is the fact that he’s made just one All Star game. Truly great players, those who make the HOF, get MVP votes and make All Star games. How high they finish and how many they make, that’s a gray area that should be taken with a grain of salt. But clearly there is a context to be understood there. Hall of Fame players don’t finish outside of the top 25 in the MVP voting throughout the peak of their careers.

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    • poodski says:

      While ASG shouldn’t be considered for the HOF it will be. It’s the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Elite players. He simply isn’t a very famous player.

      If it was hall of elite players, players like Santo and Blyleven would easily be in the Hall.

      So yes, I think ASG’s matter a lot. If Dunn were in say 6 ASG’s thus far, he would have a much much better shot.

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  23. zoned says:

    Dunn being a poor baserunner is a misnomer. He actually has decent speed and was even recruited as a QB in high school

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    • redsfandan says:

      Dunn HAD decent speed for a guy his size when he was younger. I wouldn’t say that he has decent speed today.

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    • quint says:

      speed does not mean anyone is a good baserunner.

      Nyjer Morgan is a perfect example, he is fast but just a terrible base runner because while he probably has the speed to steal bases, he is always caught stealing, showing bad jumps or poor reads or something.

      Scott Rolen isn’t fast, but is a decent baserunner because he doesn’t make mistakes and picks his time well to run from first to third.

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    • BN says:

      Have you seen Adam Dunn run in the past decade? He’s slow as hell.

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  24. Michael says:

    I though Bill James actually had Dunn ranked as a fairly good baserunner.

    His terrible defense is pretty much inarguable, but don’t just lump all things not associated with hitting home runs or walking into the “bad” category for him.

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    • B N says:

      I’m not sure if that’s been true for a while, but I recall the word on him being that he could be relatively fast but not agile. So basically, good straightaway speed but poor ability to make adjustments. Given his frame, not surprising I guess. This probably makes him good at some baserunning things and bad at others.

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  25. I object to this article, because it failed to describe Dunn using the phrase “country strong.”

    +16 Vote -1 Vote +1

  26. Kazinski says:

    That is sick. Dave I realize you are young, recently wed, and love your wife. But how you could even think of bringing kids into a world where Adam Dunn could be in the hall of fame is beyond my comprehension.

    I have kids of my own, but when I had my kids before Pete Rose bet on Baseball or Sammy Sosa hit 20 home runs in one month, so I have an excuse.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  27. Alex B. says:

    For what it’s worth, I checked Dunn’s similarity scores on Baseball-Reference. His top ten through age 29 include three Hall of Famers (Harmon Killebrew at #4, Reggie Jackson at #5, and Ralph Kiner at #8), several players who had Hall of Fame-caliber careers that were tarnished by drugs or steroids (Darryl Strawberry #1, Jose Canseco at #2, Sammy Sosa at #6, Barry Bonds at #9), and Rocky Colavito at #3, Troy Glaus at #7, and Boog Powell at #10. These guys come in at #10, #43, #57, #66, #97, #150, #222, #322 #349, #420 on Bill James’s Hall of Fame monitor. Granted, he’s not Bonds, but if he can avoid the breakdowns that wrecked half these Hall of Fame cases, he has to have a solid chance. Doesn’t he?

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  28. sc0regasm says:

    The fact that he is leading any team he signs further away from a WS by not DHing should drop his WAR by double digits. Where is the stat for costing your team wins by acting like a selfish jackass? Losses against replacement with team mentality?

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  29. Steve says:

    So if Nyjer Morgan is roughly the same as Adam Dunn, does this mean that Nyjer Morgan is a Hall of Famer?

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  30. ECN says:

    How exactly was Gary Sheffield “not a superstar”? That only makes sense if you’re thinking of Yankees Sheffield… which is when he got his most All-Star votes, weirdly enough. But he had a decade of better play before that, including five seasons above 1.000 OPS (’95, ’96, ’00, ’01 and ’03 — note the first two came before the ’98 boom. Admittedly, ’95 was a half-season, but still.)

    Okay, so he was usually a defensive liability, but I think there’s no question he was a top-tier offensive player in his era.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  31. Kyle says:

    And to the clowns saying Thome isn’t a good comparison to Dunn are off, you guys no nothing about baseball. Thome is a sure Hall of Famer, yet he’s won nothing. Dunn also had above average speed early on, and never had a guy to protect him. Ryan Howard has played in a sandbox for years, and has “true” superstars like Utley, and Rollins for a while surrounding him.

    Look at Werth’s numbers… he’s had a better year, and they were actually trying to trade him.

    As for Sheffield, he almost won a triple crown before the explosion of homeruns in baseball, hit over .300 10 seasons, drove in over 100 runs 8 times while having a few injury plagued seasons, and could steal a base. He had sick bat speed, walked far more than he struck out, and pitchers feared him. I love hearing guys saying pitchers feared Jim Rice… compare their stats. They feared Sheff, Belle, Bagwell, and even Kenny Lofton.

    Jim Rice and Dawson have lowered the bar for the Hall of Fame, but I hope they adjust what it takes for a pitcher to get in…. cause few will even have a chance to win 300 games now. Look at guys like Halladay, Oswalt, Santana, Smoltz and Schilling. All top 3-5 pitchers in their league for long periods of time, yet none will or get 300(except maybe Doc.) Now hitters have game footage, notes, can read about how a guy is going to pitch him, lowered mounds, ballparks that create homeruns when a guy hits a flyball, etc… while pitchers get 33 starts a year usually instead of 41-45, have a five man rotation. Howard is the same age as Dunn, but has 252 homeruns and only 11 stolen bases. He’s also a defensive liability, strikeout king without walking, and has a stacked team. If Dunn and Howard were to trade places, I’m betting Dunn would hit more homeruns, have 20 more RBI at least a year, and hit for a higher average.

    Oh, out of all of the active players, Thome is number one in k’s… and to think, Dunn’s second best sport is baseball while if he played for the Yankees or Red Sox he’d have found himself in the all-star game about 4 more times. Oh, and consider Reggie Jackson for a second. Didn’t he play 500 games at DH while being the all-time leader in strikeouts and number 3 for errors in RF? Ozzie Smith shouldn’t be in the hall of fame… consider Alomar and Larkin didn’t get in. Total joke… The Wizard sucked at offense, but let’s see if guys like Edmonds and Rolen who when healthy were brilliant both offensively and defensively get in.

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    • Bob says:

      *Amid snoring sounds*
      Ryan Howard is presumably quite popular amongst the old school voters, though he’s still fairly early in his career. He had one very dominant season and the rest have been okay. In 6 years or so we’ll know if he’s comparable to Dunn or not, for the time being he is better offensively and much better defensively. Stick Adam Dunn in Coors every year and he’d have 74+ HR/season and a 600 OBP or so (to go along with a 450 BA)

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      • don says:

        The Great American Ballpark is just as homer friendly as Citizen’s Bank. It doesn’t make that much of a difference anyway – for a 40 HR guy a home park that increases hrs by 15% (CBP or GABP over the last 5 years) will presumably get him to ~23 home HRs instead of ~20.

        Howard probably won’t end up with giant career numbers because he didn’t really start full time until he was 25; the Phillies had Thome at first and nowhere to put him.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Ryan Howard is going to be that guy that sabermetric-based fans hate, that just keeps hit 40+ HRs and driving in 130+ runs annually. The stats guys will hate him all the way to the HoF.

        It’s going to be like Jeter and I … the more I root against him because I’m tired of hearing about him, more myth than reality at this point … the better he does. It’ll be the same way with Howard and sabr-guys. He’ll continue to laugh all the way to top 5 MVP votes, all-star games, and maybe even Cooperstown. 250 HRs though 5.5 seasons, 2 titles, an MVP. Only injuries can slow him way down, he won;t age that quickly. When he goes oppo instead of trying pull everything he’s very dominant (and I hate it).

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  32. Rich says:

    Gary Sheffield is a non superstar? Really? He’s got 65 WAR over his career, thats high enough. 500+ HRs.

    He had 6 seasons of 6+ WAR, including one where he put up 7.8. Hes not Pujols, but

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    • Kyle says:

      Totally agreed… Sheffield was a superstar. He’s one of those guys pitchers, no matter how good a fastball, dared to challenge him. If it weren’t 97 mph with movement, he’d turn on it. The guy had 121 walks in only 135 games on season. The year before he had 42 homeruns, 120 RBI, all while walking 142 times plus 19 intentional walks.

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  33. Keller says:

    Adam Dunn is barely worth 3 Jose Lopezes! What a scrub.

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  34. dan dunn says:

    Mr Dunn
    My father is 91 years old HE, took me to ballgames @ riverfront stadium as a child onmany occasions He was always a cincinnati fan. I don’t know if it is possible but would it be able to get a baseball signed by you. I would like tobe able to give it to him next April- 2011.If this is possiblewouldyou please let me know what it would cost. I know that you are probably a very busy man w/ lots of emails. I hope that you don not think that is another junk email. Thank you for takin time to read this email it will mean alot to an ole retired passing fan. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

    Sincerely Daniel dunn danieldunn1756@gmail.com or ph#937-450-0574.

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  35. colton baker says:

    How much is a Hank Aaron DONRUSS HALL OF FAME DIAMOND KING
    ” THE GREAT ONE” baseball card?

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