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MLB Today: Adam Dunn’s Rebound

July 26, 2012 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Bobby Wilson has done most of the catching for the Los Angeles Angels.
Bobby Wilson’s bat is showing signs of life.

Quick: who has the most home runs in the majors this season?

That’s right, it’s downtrodden Adam Dunn, written off as just plain Done by many after last year’s debacle, but a player we identified as a serious sleeper prior to 2012.

As always, Dunn’s numbers leave you scratching your head. He has more homers (30) than singles (29). No one in the bigs currently has more homers, walks or strikeouts.

Leading the league in that trifecta is rare footage. Between 1914 and 1935, Babe Ruth had more homers, walks and strikeouts than anyone else; from the early ‘50s to late ‘60s, Mickey Mantle walked more often and also struck out more often than anyone; and between 1954 and 1975, Harmon Killebrew pulled the same trick.

Together, these three are the only 500-homer dudes to lead the majors in both strikeouts and walks during the span of their careers. Dunn has a chance to duplicate their efforts.

Dunn had arguably the worst season any big leaguer has ever endured last year, batting .159 with just 11 homers, only 42 RBI, yet a whopping 177 strikeouts. Now, he’s back to a must-own, must-start Fantasy asset.

He’s hit safely in four straight games to get a little breathing room over the Mendoza Line (lifting his BA from .202 to .211) as he’s somewhat bounced back after enduring his worst month of the season in June (.181 BA, 769 OPS).

American League Comeback Player of the Year? Hell, Dunn scored just 36 runs in 122 games last year; he already has 60 in 97 games this season. And after that paltry home run total last year, he’s already reached 30 for the eighth time in his 12-year career (just the 18th player to have that many 30-or-more homer campaigns at this stage of his career). He’s matched last year’s walk total – in 76 less plate appearances. Dunn’s even trimmed his strikeout rate – although it remains obscene by anyone’s standards.

From goat to home run king. Yup, Dunn’s got our vote for Comeback Player of the Year.

Quick Hits

  • Still with the Pale Hose, we recommended Dayan Viciedo in late May when he was batting cleanup with Paul Konerko sidelined. Well, the young Cuban was a beast in May before cooling in June. However, he’s again looking like a nice waiver wire grab. On Wednesday, Viciedo exploded for a homer, double and the go-ahead two-run single for four RBI – his second straight multi-hit effort, driving in six runs in the two games. Take another look at Viciedo in all formats.
  • Michael Morse is starting to make up for lost time after missing the first couple of months of the season. On Wednesday, he homered for the second time in three games and third in seven games. Morse is batting .291 with four homers in July and contrary to some Internet reports he is not reading 50 Shades of Grey — his girlfriend is. Glad we got that cleared up.
  • Bobby Wilson has been flashing a little something-something lately, homering in two of his last three starts for his first two jacks of the season. As we discussed last year, he didn’t really play enough to be a factor, but a serious injury to Chris Iannetta – combined with Hank Conger’s injury issues and struggles – opened the door for Wilson to become the Halos’ primary catcher for the first half of the season. So of course, Wilson is finally rounding into form (offensively) just in time for Iannetta to return. Need a short-term catching option in a deep AL-only league? Wilson looks like a nice choice for now.

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