Adam Dunn should visit Baseball-Reference.com some time

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Jon Heyman has an article about Adam Dunn “embracing” the designated hitter role with the White Sox after initially wanting to remain in the National League.

Most of the piece revolves around his $56 million contract and his plans for being comfortable at DH, but there’s also this section about Dunn and his new hitter-friendly home ballpark in Chicago:

Chicago, he said, is his “favorite city.” And U.S. Cellular Field, though he’s never played there oddly enough, is built for him. Though Dunn said you never know how a hitter will do in a particular park. “See, everyone says Colorado and I can’t buy a hit there,” he said.

For some reason Heyman just leaves that comment out there as something resembling fact without following up with Dunn’s actual numbers at Coors Field, which are about as far from “can’t buy a hit there” as possible. Dunn has a .272 batting average and .977 OPS in 29 career games at Coors Field, compared to a .249 batting average and .901 OPS in 1,419 career games everywhere. And all that was available with just a few clicks on Baseball-Reference.com.

UPDATE: Heyman edited the original article to add in a note about Dunn “being too hard on himself, as his .592 slugging percentage at Coors Field would attest.” You can see the original version here. Better late than never, I suppose.

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

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To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.