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Circling The Bases: Sun Going Down On Dunn?

Ray Flowers

Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: M-F at 5-8 PM EDT), Ray Flowers has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. You can follow Ray on Twitter (@BaseballGuys), he never sleeps, and you can also find more of his musings at BaseballGuys.com.

Adam Dunn is back. After one of the most inexplicably deficient seasons in recent memory (.159-11-42), Dunn has killed it this year with 22 homers and 50 RBI. Is it time to slow our love of Dunn though? First should be the obvious. Though he has rebounded from last season immensely in the power categories, is he really going to keep up this pace? Sure he hit 38-46 homers each year from 2004-10, proving to be one of the most consistent power bats in the game. But still, the guy is on pace for 57 homers this year, 11 more than he's ever hit before. Is he really going to post a career high fly ball rate (50.4 percent) while at the same time blowing away his previous best in the HR/FB category (his 35.5 percent mark dwarfs the 21.9 career rate he owns and would be the first time in his career that he eclipsed 26 percent)? I find that unlikely to the point of near absurdity.

The second issue is his massive RBI total. From 2004-09 Dunn had 100 RBI six times while having a low of 92 runners plated. Obviously he's long been a dominating run producer. Still, are we buying his current pace of 130 RBIs? I'm not saying that it isn't possible. I'm merely pointing out that it would be 24 more than he's ever posted in a season. Not two, not four, but 24, and he's already been a run producer at an elite level.

Third, Dunn is on pace to just barely hit 100 runs this season. He's reached that total three times in his career (2004-05, 2007), but he's been held to under 90 runs each of the past four years (two times he failed to reach even 80). The fact that his OBP is .368, six points lower than his career rate, isn't likely going to help matters.

In his 12th season, is Adam Dunn, after one of the worst seasons in the history of the game for a guy who had 400+ at-bats, really going to set career bests in homers, RBI and runs scored? Also on the negative side is that despite all the impressive work this season, his current K-rate of 36.4 percent would be a career worst. A career worst for a guy who has always been known as one of the worst strikeout bats in the game. He's also hitting .227, which would be the second worst mark of his career (he hit .215 in 2003) aside from the 2011 debacle.

So what would I do with Dunn if I owned him? I'd be looking to parlay him into something big. Sell the other fella on those massive counting numbers and hope he overlooks the fact that his K-rate continues to rise.

SORIANO ON FIRE

I don't know if many have noticed, but did you see just how good that Alfonso Soriano has been of late? Over the last three weeks he has gone deep eight times, tied with Mark Trumbo and Carlos Gonzalez for the most among outfield eligible players. Meanwhile, his total of 18 RBI ties him with Lucas Duda, Jose Bautista and Jason Kubel for second in the outfield, trailing the 20 posted by Trumbo. In addition, that hot streak has vaulted Soriano's season numbers to 12 homers and 41 RBI. That means he has more homers than Matt Joyce and Andrew McCutchen, who have 11, and Matt Holliday and Andre Ethier, who have 10. He also has the same RBI total as Giancarlo Stanton, two more than Jay Bruce, and three more than Adam Jones. I'm just saying...

BY THE NUMBERS

.515: The obnoxious batting average of Joey Votto over the last three weeks, as he's produced 33 hits in 64 at-bats (he's also hit five bombs while driving in 16 runners and scoring 17 times). How obscene is that batting average? Jose Altuve is second in baseball the past three weeks with 30 hits, but he's batting a “mere” .353 in that time.

1.68: The WHIP of John Axford. How is that number so high when batters are hitting just .240 off him? Reference that exploding walk rate of 6.29 batters per nine innings. Often struggling with control at various points of his career, Axford cut his walk rate down to 3.05 batters per nine last year before seeing that number double this year. All those walks are killing what could be an impressive season given that his K/9 rate is out of the stratosphere at 13.32 while his GB/FB rate of 1.71 would be a career best.

3: The number of homers that Miguel Montero has hit in his last four games. As a result he has six homers in 51 games, a pace just under the one that saw him sock 18 last year in 140 games. Moreover, with 11 RBI in his last 10 games he's also pushed his RBI total up to 32, or one every 5.72 at-bats. Last year when he totaled 86 RBI, he had one every 5.73 at-bats. And you thought he was really struggling.

9.00: The ERA of Erik Bedard over his last three starts, as he has allowed 14 runs in 14 innings. That's about as ugly as it gets folks. As a result of those disastrous three outings his ERA has skyrocketed from 3.12 to 4.36. Moreover, if we include all his work this season and what he did last year with the Red Sox, we find that in his last 21 starts, Bedard has a 4.24 ERA, 1.49 WHIP and a 2.08 K/BB ratio, though his K rate has been impressive (100 Ks in 104 innings). Add into the mix a poor 5-9 record and Bedard, who has been mostly healthy, just hasn't been effective.

14.63: Now there are huge strikeout arms in bullpens across this great land, but I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that no one knows who owns that massive K/9 mark. Care to guess? No, it's not Craig Kimbrel – he's even better at 15.00 (third best in the game). No, it's not Ernesto Frieri who is second in baseball with a 15.60 mark. No, it's not Aroldis Chapman either, though he leads baseball with a 15.75 mark. Heck, it's not even Kenley Jansen who is fifth in the game with a 14.07 mark. You want to know who it is, who has the fourth best K/9 rate in the game? Look for your answer below.

43: The number of homers that Jim Thome has hit over his last 597 at-bats. He's also knocked in 122 runs while scoring 87 times thanks to a .939 OPS. I know he can't field, and that the at-bats have come since the start of 2010, but the fact of the matter is that Thome can still slug it at an elite level, even if no one notices.

45: The amount of steals that Tony Campana has over his two big league seasons. Now he's appeared in 139 games in that time but he's been able to rack up a mere 270 at-bats and 296 plate appearances as the Cubs haven't been willing to just throw him out there in the starting lineup every day. Do you know how many players in baseball history have had a season of 45 steals and less than 300 plate appearances? The answer is four – Willie Wilson (1978), Otis Nixon (1990), Miguel Dilone (1978) and Gary Redus (1985). Amazingly, Wilson stole 46 bases in '78 when he had a 223 plate appearances. Ridiculous.

80.0: The percentage of starts made this season by Jarrod Parker that have resulted in two or fewer runs crossing the plate, leading to a 2.82 ERA in 10 starts. In the two starts in which he didn't keep the runs down – June 9 against the Diamondbacks and May 18 against the Giants – he allowed six runs each time. This means he allowed more runs in those two starts than in the other eight starts (seven runs).

92.3: The percentage of Shaun Marcum's 13 starts this year that have resulted in three or fewer earned runs allowed, leading to a 3.39 ERA for the year. Per usual, he has also been tough to hit with a .227 BAA, which when combined with 26 walks in 82.1 innings had led to a 1.17 WHIP. Have you noticed how remarkably consistent he has been in his career? Since 2008, including this year, he's never had an ERA over 3.64 or a WHIP over 1.17. Pretty darn impressive.

That 14.63 K/9 mark belongs to none other than... Jason Grilli who has 39 punchouts in 24 innings of relief for the Pirates.

Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87 from 5-8 PM EDT, Monday through Friday. Ray's baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.