We've all heard/posted about Dunn's apparent struggles with runners on base. I've always been of the opinion that the complaints were far more reflective of opportunities and expectations than of actual performance, but I know there are many who disagree with me (some more vehemently than others) in that regard. To that end, I decided to compare Dunn's performance with runners on base to that of the first guy that pops into your head when you think "clutch."
Yeah. MISTER Clutch. Captain Intangible. I think almost everybody here believes that if Dunn took Jeter's approach with runners on base, he'd drive in 120+ runs. Before you scream, "But Jeter's a leadoff guy," I'm going to correct for the fact that they bat in different parts of the lineup. I'm not using VORP or OPS or any funny sounding term. Keep it simple; how many baserunners did you have in front of you, and how many did you knock home? For the moment, I'm setting aside my argument about Dunn getting pitched around with runners on base. This counts baserunners in ALL plate appearances, so "soft walks" will hurt you here. Before you statheads start trying to poke holes in my study, I checked the distribution of runners on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, and it only helps my conclusion.
For his career, Jeter has come to the plate with 4,640 runners on base. Jeter has knocked in 764 runs with runners on base in his career. That comes out to 1 RBI every 6.08 baserunners.
Dunn, on the other hand, has come to the plate with 2,360 runners on base in his career. He has knocked in 383 runs with runners on base. That comes out to 1 RBI every 6.16 baserunners.
What that means is that Derek Jeter's approach with runners on base brings in one extra runner every FOUR HUNDRED SIXTY TWO BASERUNNERS on board when he comes to the plate. Carry out Dunn's average over Jeter's career number of baserunners, and Jeter is ahead by 11. Eleven whole RBI. For his career. One per season.
And for every run Jeter drives in with nobody on base (when, of course, it not only isn't "clutch," it actually kills rallies), Dunn drives in 2.2. Dunn took 320AB with nobody on base last year, and drove in runs more than twice as often as Jeter.
So, if Dunn hit like Jeter with runners on base, he'd get one extra RBI per season. If he also hit like him with nobody on, he'd LOSE 10 RBI per season.