Dunn far from problem for White Sox
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Adam Dunn is an easy target for frustrated White Sox fans, but the first baseman/DH has been producing better than anyone on the roster.
When the White Sox signed Adam Dunn to a four-year contract before the 2011 season, almost every fan I talked to — with few exceptions — was thrilled at the forecast of a good year.
At the time the team's direction was unknown. Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski had possibly played their final games with the Sox, and the prospect of "going young" was very real.
What we didn't know then is that a true influx of young talent and a purging of veterans wouldn't happen for another couple of years.
Paulie and A.J. were re-signed and one of the game's premier home run hitters was added. That, combined with sturdy Sox pitching, had many picking the team to win the Central that year.
Instead, they'd finish four games under .500 and in third place.
That season the Sox finished with the fourth-worst offense in the American League. And while he was not the only culprit, Dunn's historically dreadful year factored heavily in the outcome.
We don't need to rehash Dunn's performance that year. It's been done. Everyone knows, and probably all too well. Since then he has been a conspicuous object for anyone looking for scapegoats in a putrid 2013 White Sox season.
Dunn is an easy target, I suppose. He does strike out quite a bit, and strikeouts sit well with very few people. The organization has admitted that he hasn't exactly lived up to the overall expectations they had for him.
However, the truth is, Adam Dunn is — believe it or not— actually having a decent season. While subpar for his career standards, Dunn still is producing better than anyone on the roster.
For context, only three other first basemen in the league have a better on-base plus slugging percentage than he does, and only one has more home runs (Baltimore's Chris Davis).
Only Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion has drawn more walks, but nobody has a better walk rate than Dunn does.
To put it another way, Dunn has a higher OPS and more home runs than Tampa Bay's James Loney, Detroit's Prince Fielder or Kansas City's Eric Hosmer. He also has walked more than all of them, and his weighted on-base average is greater.
You could make the argument that what Dunn failed to do in April and May helped the Sox get to the spot they're in today, and I guess that is true to an extent. He and the rest of the team began digging this hole from the onset.
However, it was right about the end of May the Sox got themselves back to .500 and were only 4 games out of first. And it was just about a week after that Dunn began to contribute to the level he still is today.
In other words, Dunn truly began to produce when the team needed it the most.
Certainly Dunn could be better. In fact, everyone expected him to be. But the reality is that the year he's having is far from horrible.
While Dunn is at the center of the least-productive offense in the AL, he is not the face of it.
Nor should he be treated as such.
•Chris Rongey is the host of the White Sox pregame and postgame shows on WSCR 670-AM The Score. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRongey and at chrisrongey.com. Subscriber Total Access members can email him questions each week via our online link.
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