Adam Dunn strikes out a lot. Everyone knows that.
The Chicago White Sox designated hitter has whiffed more than 1,600 times in 10 seasons, including 199 times in 2010. And he’s continuing to strike out quite a bit this spring – 22 times in just 53 at-bats.
So is there reason for White Sox fans to be concerned?
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen certainly isn’t worried, telling Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune that he’s more focused on keeping players healthy than how they perform at this stage of spring training.
That makes perfect sense. Strikeouts are just part of the Adam Dunn package. It’s a package that also includes a ton of home runs (282 since 2004), a ton of walks (750 in the same period) and a career OPS of .902. In the case of Dunn, the positives far outweigh the negatives.
For his part, Dunn is fully aware of his critics.
“There’s nobody that hates it more than me I promise you,” he told me during a recent interview at the White Sox’s spring training facility in Glendale, Ariz. “It’s not something you get used to. It’s so hard to explain because I do like to take pitches, which gets me walks but also gets me in bad counts. It’s hard to hit with two strikes in this league. If I didn’t take as many pitches I probably wouldn’t strike out as much, but then I probably wouldn’t get on base as much. I can’t find a happy medium, it seems like.”
Dunn, who will be a primary DH this season for the first time in his career, pointed out that not all strikeouts should be viewed the same way, and that sometimes, depending on the situation, he will go for broke at the plate.
“What’s the difference with two outs, nobody on, if you fly out to the wall or strike out? It’s still an out, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “Now, if you have a man in scoring position, especially a man on third with less than two outs, and you strike out, that’s terrible. That’s a bad strikeout.”
Dunn, who reminds one a bit of Will Ferrell, both for his size and hair, plus his wise-cracking demeanor, then promised to take our little talk to heart in the upcoming season.
“I’ve gone through every scenario,” he deadpanned. “This year I’m going to focus on swinging the bat more, and it all falls back to this interview. Whatever.”
With Dunn, what you see is what you get. White Sox fans should enjoy it.