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The Curious Case of Adam Dunn


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The modern incarnation of the American and National League MVP awards was first awarded in 1931. The modern All-star game was first played in 1933. Since 1933, an individual player has hit 40+ HR's in a single season 274 times.

220 out of those 274 times (80%), the player who hit 40 HR's in a season was also awarded as an All-Star that season. Adam Dunn has hit 40+ HR's in five straight seasons. 0 out of those 5 times (0%), he was awarded as an All-Star that season.

Here's how players have faired in MVP voting after 40+ HR seasons:

1st (MVP Winner)=47 times

2nd=36 times

3rd=28 times

4th=26 times

5th=20 times

1st-5th=157 times (57%)

6th=18 times

7th=12 times

8th=9 times

9th=11 times

10th=7 times

1st-10th=214 times (78%)

11th=8 times

12th=5 times

13th=6 times

14th=2 times

15th=4 times

16th=4 times

17th=3 times

18th=7 times

19th=3 times

20th=1 time

1st-20th=257 times (94%)

21st=1 time

22nd=1 time

26th=2 times

28h=1 time

no votes=12 times

26th or worse=15 times (5%)

Here's a closer look at the 15 times since 1933 that a player has hit 40+ HR's in a season but finished 26th or worse in the MVP voting that season:

Hank Sauer finished 26th in 1957.

Adam Dunn finished 26th in 2005.

Adam Dunn finished 28th in 2004.

Troy Glaus was an all-star but received no MVP votes in 2000.

Tony Batista was an all-star but received no MVP votes in 2000.

Ken Griffey Jr. was an all-star but received no MVP votes in 2000.

Troy Glaus was an all-star but received no MVP votes in 2001.

Greg Vaughn was not an all-star and received no MVP votes in 1996.

Vinny Castilla was not an all-star and received no MVP votes in 1996.

Jose Canseco was not an all-star and received no MVP votes in 1998.

Richie Sexson was not an all-star and received no MVP votes in 2001.

Rafael Palmeiro was not an all-star and received no MVP votes in 2002.

Adam Dunn was not an all-star and received no MVP votes in 2006.

Adam Dunn was not an all-star and received no MVP votes in 2007.

Adam Dunn was not an all-star and received no MVP votes in 2008.

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So perhaps Adam Dunn is underrated by those who don’t understand what he does for his team. Then again, perhaps he is overrated by those who are keenly aware of what he does for a team, but who may be underestimating what he doesn’t do for a team.

Maybe the stat gurus have figured out that this guy, with his .381 career obp and .518 career slg%, is a truly great offensive weapon. Then again, maybe statistical analysis just hasn’t reached the point that it can explain why he is very good but NOT great. Or maybe statistical analysis has reached the point that it can explain how great (or not great) Dunn is, but not enough of us have wrapped our brains around the explanation.

So? Have at it. How great (or not great) is Adam Dunn? You can chime in or offer an opinion, but I'm much more interested in those who can back it up. I would love to hear from those who can really analyze the numbers. I would love to hear from those who have watched Dunn regularly and may have more insight based on what they’ve seen. I would love to hear from someone who can mesh the two. How great (or not great) is Adam Dunn?

Note: This is NOT meant to be a discussion on whether the O’s should pursue him. Thank you.

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Here's a closer look at the 15 times since 1933 that a player has hit 40+ HR's in a season but finished 26th or worse in the MVP voting that season:

Hank Sauer finished 26th in 1957.

Adam Dunn finished 26th in 2005.

Adam Dunn finished 28th in 2004.

Troy Glaus was an all-star but received no MVP votes in 2000.

Tony Batista was an all-star but received no MVP votes in 2000.

Ken Griffey Jr. was an all-star but received no MVP votes in 2000.

Troy Glaus was an all-star but received no MVP votes in 2001.

Greg Vaughn was not an all-star and received no MVP votes in 1996.

Vinny Castilla was not an all-star and received no MVP votes in 1996.

Jose Canseco was not an all-star and received no MVP votes in 1998.

Richie Sexson was not an all-star and received no MVP votes in 2001.

Rafael Palmeiro was not an all-star and received no MVP votes in 2002.

Adam Dunn was not an all-star and received no MVP votes in 2006.

Adam Dunn was not an all-star and received no MVP votes in 2007.

Adam Dunn was not an all-star and received no MVP votes in 2008.

So there's Hank Sauer & a bunch of guys who played since 1996 ...a/k/a "the Golden Age of Steroids".

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