AP Photo/Duane Burleson
Adam Dunn is hitting just .236, but his power numbers have improved significantly from 2011.
In 2011, everything went wrong for Adam Dunn.
After spending his first 10 seasons in the National League, Dunn signed with the Chicago White Sox in 2011 and posted one of the worst seasons in major-league history.
Dunn hit .159 in 2011 and struck out a franchise-record 177 times. His average was the lowest in MLB since 1900 among hitters with at least 450 plate-appearances. (His average is not the lowest in history because Dunn was six plate appearances shy of qualifying.)
Dunn also hit 11 home runs and drove in 42, both career lows.
So far in 2012, he’s looked very much like the Dunn of old.
Highest 2012 HR-to-Fly Ball Rate
Overall, he is not swinging appreciably more, has not cut down on his strikeouts, increased his walks, or decreased the rate at which he’s chasing pitches outside of the zone.
Rather, it appears he’s simply doing more when he does make contact. Dunn’s Home Run-to-Fly Ball rate is 28 percent, which ranks tied for fourth in MLB. Last season that rate was 10 percent.
Entering play on Tuesday, Dunn is tied for third in all of baseball with nine home runs.
His home run rate is at 9.0 percent, more than three times what it was last season (2.7).
Dunn -- who did not hit a HR in his final 28 games of 2011 -- didn’t hit his ninth home run of the season last year until July 8.
In terms of specific pitches, Dunn’s greatest improvement has come against fastballs. He hit .182 with eight home runs against fastballs last season. In 2012, Dunn already has eight HR off fastballs and is hitting .288.
Part of the uptick can be explained by an increase in his batting average on balls in play against fastballs, cutters and sinkers. It was .245 last season (244th out of 254 players who saw at least 750 fastballs/cutters/sinkers). This season, it's .273.