Adam Dunn ditches “stupid, stubborn ways” to beat shift

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Adam Dunn looked headed for another miserable season like his 2011 campaign when he was hitting .156 as of June 7. But the White Sox had no choice but to stick with Dunn thanks to his big contract and he’s been on fire since then.

In his last 62 games Dunn has hit .316 with 15 homers and a .988 OPS, bringing his overall batting average from .156 to .239 in two months. How has he done it?

Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports that Dunn made adjustments at the plate in an effort to pull the ball less and in doing so convinced some teams to stop using extreme shifts against him defensively. Or, as Dunn put it, he ditched his “stupid, stubborn ways” at the urging of third base coach Joe McEwing and the viewing of spray charts.

Hayes’ whole article about Dunn’s change in approach is definitely worth checking out.

Nick Markakis leads all NL outfielders in All-Star voting

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I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.

Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.

The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.

Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.

Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.

The rest of the voting: