Not normally a big deal to note lefty-on-lefty violence, but it is notable in Adam Dunn’s case. His first inning homer off Drew Smyly was his first homer off a lefty since August 2010. For his career he has 96 homers off lefties and an OPS of .782 compared to 281 homers and a .922 OPS against righties. That’s a decent platoon split but not SO obnoxious that it predicted a year and a half drought off of lefties.
But then again, Dunn is coming off an insanely bad year. Look no further than the fact that the homer off Smyly was his 12th of the year. He had 11 in all of 2011.
He’s at .250/.390/.613, which are better numbers than the career averages between 2001 and 2010 (.250/.381/.521) which earned him that giant contract with the Sox.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉