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Fun With Numbers: Dunn vs. The Aces

In our first installment of Fun With Numbers, we explored the prevailing notion that Adam Dunn goes in the tank with Runners in Scoring Position.  What we found, perhaps surprisingly, is that Dunn appears to be the exact same hitter so long as first base is occupied.  With first base open, it appears that the drop in his BA is caused by pitchers' unwillingness to throw him strikes, borne out by the fact that his walk rate doubles in those situations.

Today, we explore another oft-cited criticism of Dunn: He feasts on weak pitching.  Good pitchers eat his lunch.

Keep in mind that some drop in numbers is to be expected when comparing Dunn's splits against  good pitching.  Good pitchers aren't as easy to hit, nor do they walk as many batters as mediocre pitchers.  We'll define the "Good Pitchers" here as anybody who's finished in the top 16 in the NL (or top 14 in the AL) in ERA in the past 3 years.  16 teams in the NL, 14 teams in the AL, that should give us everybody who could stake a claim to being a "Number One."  Yeah, it's quick, it's dirty, but it's the best I've got.  Also, in order to make sure we're getting meaningful samples, and to make my calculations easier, we'll limit it to those pitchers that Dunn has 10 or more AB's against.

For reference, Dunn's career numbers are .247BA/.378OBP/.516SLG.

Here is our list of pitchers based on the criteria above, with Dunn's career numbers:

Pitcher        AB    H    2B    3B    HR    BB    AVG    OBP    SLG    OPS
Oswalt, R    57    14    6    1    3    12    .246    .377    .544    .921
Zambrano   48    11    0    0    6    11    .229    .379    .604    .983
Davis, Do    32    6    0    0    2    6    .188    .316    .375    .691
Sheets, B    28    5    0    0    0    2    .179    .258    .179    .437
Carpenter   24    4    0    0    1    3    .167    .269    .292    .561
Glavine, T   23    7    1    1    1    5    .304    .429    .565    .994
Perez, Ol    19    5    2    0    3    7    .263    .480    .842    1.322
Clemens     16    7    1    0    0    8    .438    .625    .500    1.125
Pettitte       21    6    5    0    0    3    .286    .375    .524    .899
Webb, Br    23    6    2    0    1    1    .261    .292    .478    .770
Jennings     20    6    2    0    1    3    .300    .391    .550    .941
Peavy, J      18    3    0    0    1    3    .167    .300    .333    .633
Capuano     18    6    2    0    1    3    .333    .429    .611    1.040
Suppan       14    8    3    0    1    7    .571    .714    1.000    1.714
Millwood      17    8    0    0    6    0    .471    .500    1.529    2.029
Sabathia     16    4    2    0    0    1    .250    .294    .375    .669
Myers, B      11    3    1    0    2    4    .273    .467    .909    1.376
Smoltz, J     12    2    1    0    1    3    .167    .333    .500    .833
Perez, Od    13    1    0    0    1    0    .077    .077    .308    .385
Willis, Do     10    0    0    0    0    3    .000    .231    .000    .231
Burnett, A     11    2    1    0    0    1    .182    .250    .273    .523
TOTAL        451  114    29    2    31    86    .253    .378    .532    .910

(note: HBP's and SF's were counted in the OBP analysis, but I didn't include them in the table)

Dunn's career line improves from .247/.378/.516 to .253/.378/.532 against the best pitchers he's faced.

Feel free to link here any time somebody claims that Dunn goes in the tank against good pitching.

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