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View Full Version : Adam Dunn's Growing Legend: Comparing Dunn to All-Time Left Fielders Before Age 26



Cyclone792
03-31-2006, 02:21 AM
Being a mere three days from Opening Day and the first game of Adamís season at the age of 26, I spent this past offseason wondering just how great Dunn has been to this point in a historical context. So far in his young career, Dunnís already managed to hit 158 home runs and maintain a career line of .248/.383/.518 for a 132 career OPS+. On top of those impressive statistics, some fans will also cite two straight seasons of 100+ runs, 100+ RBI and 40 home runs, all before his 26th birthday.

All of which is impressive, very impressive. But just how impressive? Letís find out.



Dunn Win Shares

Age 21 (2001): 10
Age 22 (2002): 21
Age 23 (2003): 13
Age 24 (2004): 32
Age 25 (2005): 28

Career Win Shares per 162 games: 25.49


Weíll start by analyzing Dunnís seasons so far using win shares, which Iíve outlined above. In Adamís shortened rookie campaign of 2001, he burst on the season and still managed to post 10 win shares. In 2002, thanks in large part to 128 walks and a .400 on-base percentage, Dunn racked up 21 win shares, which is very good for a hitter 22-years-old. Unfortunately, Bob Boone and his antics got in the way of developing Dunn in 2003, and coupled with an injury, Adamís win shares total for the season was a paltry 13.

But then Dunn exploded in 2004 with 32 win shares, and followed that up in 2005 with 28 more win shares. An average of 30 win shares per season for two straight seasons heading into his peak years is exactly the recipe for Dunn if heís to put up a monster peak. Tacked on to his years of growth from age 21-23, Dunn has so far tallied 104 career win shares in 661 career games, good for a 25.49 win shares per 162 game average.

All of the above is impressive, yes, but how impressive still remains the question at large. What I did was analyze approximately 30-35 of the greatest left fielders ever to play the game and added in a few currently active players that have already exceeded their 25th birthday (Manny Ramirez, Brian Giles, Jason Bay, Lance Berkman and Brian Giles).

Like Dunn above, I tallied their total win shares for each of their seasons before the age of 26, and then I sorted the chart from top-to-bottom based on win shares per 162 games. Also included in the chart is current games before age 26, total win shares before age 26, and in the column to the very right, total career win shares, which I listed to give everybody a better understanding how each playerís career eventually unfolded.



Dunn vs. LF Greats Before Age 26

Players in BOLD are Hall of Famers
Players in ITALICS are still active

Player Games Total WS WS/162 Career WS

Ted Williams 586 150 41.47 727*
Stan Musial 611 152 40.30 640*
Joe Jackson 601 138 37.20 323**
Charlie Keller 541 112 33.54 257*
Joe Medwick 788 121 33.10 312
Rickey Henderson 791 157 32.15 533
Joe Kelley 725 141 31.51 305
Sherry Magee 984 190 31.28 354
Al Simmons 558 104 30.19 375
Goose Goslin 716 127 28.73 355

Player Games Total WS WS/162 Career WS

Jimmy Sheckard 892 153 27.79 339
Ralph Kiner 452 45 26.88 242
Jesse Burkett 536 86 25.99 389
George Burns 494 79 25.91 290
Adam Dunn 661 104 25.49 104
Jim Rice 644 100 25.15 282
Jason Bay 150 23 24.84 57
Barry Bonds 566 86 24.61 662
Fred Clarke 615 93 24.50 400
Manny Ramirez 552 80 23.48 310

Player Games Total WS WS/162 Career WS

Lance Berkman 304 43 22.91 151
Carl Yastrzemski 743 103 22.46 488
Chick Hafey 436 60 22.29 186
Tim Raines 731 100 22.16 390
Greg Luzinski 742 101 22.05 247
Ed Delahanty 628 57 21.93 355
Roy White 488 64 21.25 263
Frank Howard 367 47 20.75 297
Heinie Manush 464 59 20.60 285
Billy Williams 496 63 20.58 374

Player Games Total WS WS/162 Career WS

Zack Wheat 583 73 20.28 380
Brian Giles 57 7 19.89 234
Willie Stargell 379 42 17.95 370
Albert Belle 347 37 17.27 245
Lou Brock 430 45 16.95 348
Jose Cruz 338 35 16.78 313
Bobby Veach 160 16 16.20 265
Joe Carter 232 18 12.57 240
George Foster 340 25 11.91 269

* Applied WWII credit
** Currently on the ineligible list


Some players burst onto the scene at a young age, but fizzle out early (see Charlie Keller). Other players either struggle early in their career or arrive in the majors at an older age and put up their big seasons later in their career (see Zack Wheat and Willie Stargell, among others). Most of the ultra special players arrive early with a bang, have a massive peak, play well into their 30s and leave a lasting impression upon millions of fans. It could be argued that Adam Dunn has started out on that path to being one of those ultra special players.

Out of 39 total left fielders listed, Dunn ranks 15th in win shares per 162 games. His rate of win shares is ahead of every other current active player listed, and incredibly it is also higher than nine Hall of Fame players, those being Fred Clark, Carl Yastrzemski, Chick Hafey, Ed Delahanty, Heinie Manush, Billy Williams, Zack Wheat, Willie Stargell and Lou Brock. Of the non-Hall of Fame players ahead of Dunn, Charlie Keller was finished by the age of 30, Joe Jackson is on the ineligible list, Rickey Henderson should be a virtual lock once he's eligible, and both Sherry Magee and Jimmy Sheckard have strong arguments to belong in Cooperstown. Only George Burns had a somewhat lengthy career and doesn't belong in the Hall based purely on his playing record. Jim Rice, who ranks underneath Dunn at 25.12 win shares per 162 before the age of 26, currently has an array of Hall supporters.

In total win shares before age 26, Dunnís 104 win shares is tied for 11th all-time with Hall of Famer Al Simmons, not a bad guy to rank alongside. That total also ranks higher than 11 Hall of Fame players, those being all nine listed in the paragraph above as well as Ralph Kiner and Jesse Burkett.

All in all, to put it bluntly and state the obvious, Adam Dunn hasnít had a bad start to his blossoming career. Hopefully for Reds fans, the best of Adam Dunn is still very much in the future, with each season from 2006-2009 falling within the peak years of the average player. Nobody yet knows just how great Dunn will be, but heís already allowed us to glance at an early indicator.

Watch this kid. Already his accomplishments are mighty impressive on a historical level. Most fans already realize this, but heís got enormous potential to be a very special player, perhaps even greater than most fans realize.

buckeyenut
03-31-2006, 07:34 AM
The thing about Dunn is, rarely has a player THIS good been so roundly criticized and misunderstood. His 3 year contract may look like the biggest bargain in baseball by the time he is done. It would not surprise me one bit to see him put up an MVP season where he bats >.300 with 50 HR and OPS in the neighborhood of 1.100 before his contract runs out.

OnBaseMachine
03-31-2006, 08:20 AM
Great, great post Cyclone.

I agree with everything you said. Adam Dunn is a very special player, and like you said, a lot of folks don't understand just how great he really is. If Dunn can stay healthy for the majority of his career, then I could see his career stats reaching truly elite status; I'm talking 1500+ career walks, possibly 700 homeruns, 1300+ career runs, career OPS in the .950 area.

I just hope that we, as Reds fans, can watch Dunn accomplish all these great feats in a Cincinnati Reds uniform for his whole career. During the down years, Dunn still gives us something to root for.

By the way, as scary as Dunn's numbers are, I can't help but think how much better they would be had Bob Boone and Jim Lefevre not messed with him during that 2003 season. Or if the Reds had a manager that actually appreciated Dunn's skills and batted him in the number two, three, or four spots in the lineup.

Red in Chicago
03-31-2006, 08:59 AM
If Dunn can stay healthy for the majority of his career, then I could see his career stats reaching truly elite status;

that's always the key question...see eric davis;)

KearnsyEars
03-31-2006, 09:32 AM
I think a Hall of Fame career is in order as well. Hope this is the year he amasses 50 Homeruns.

TeamBoone
03-31-2006, 01:21 PM
Great, great post Cyclone.

By the way, as scary as Dunn's numbers are, I can't help but think how much better they would be had Bob Boone and Jim Lefevre not messed with him during that 2003 season. Or if the Reds had a manager that actually appreciated Dunn's skills and batted him in the number two, three, or four spots in the lineup.

This really has to make one stop and think, doesn't it? Wow!

That's a whole lot of great work, Cyclone. I do have a question though. Are these kinds of stats as meaningful when compiled by position or would they be more meaningful if presented in an overall comparison of all players, regardless of position? Please enlighten me.

KearnsyEars
03-31-2006, 01:51 PM
This really has to make one stop and think, doesn't it? Wow!

That's a whole lot of great work, Cyclone. I do have a question though. Are these kinds of stats as meaningful when compiled by position or would they be more meaningful if presented in an overall comparison of all players, regardless of position? Please enlighten me.

I agree, the stats aren't really position relevant

Cyclone792
03-31-2006, 02:34 PM
This really has to make one stop and think, doesn't it? Wow!

That's a whole lot of great work, Cyclone. I do have a question though. Are these kinds of stats as meaningful when compiled by position or would they be more meaningful if presented in an overall comparison of all players, regardless of position? Please enlighten me.

There's value in both comparing players to other players at the same position and comparing players across other positions, but when comparing players at separate positions it is important to apply positional adjustments, which can be a bit more difficult. If Adam Dunn follows a typical career path, he will likely be a greater offensive force than Barry Larkin. However, since Larkin was a shortstop and offense at his position is much more difficult to find, Larkin gets an extreme bump up due to positional adjustments. As a left fielder, Dunn could be easily compared to right fielders and first basemen as the positional adjustments are only minor, but the positional adjustments have a greater impact when comparing him to the rest of the positions on the diamond. Here's the 2004 league average data for offense at each position in the majors:



Position G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF XI ROE GDP SB CS AVG OBP SLG
AT P 18272 5215 281 745 133 4 25 285 198 1 1990 15 608 19 0 64 79 7 1 .143 .176 .184
AT C 5558 17502 1983 4563 960 46 481 2271 1471 161 3149 247 155 153 0 213 551 74 74 .261 .324 .403
AT 1B 5589 18399 2695 5033 1116 52 791 2887 2223 234 3403 235 31 163 2 212 460 117 56 .274 .356 .469
AT 2B 5552 18947 2611 5124 1000 137 466 2145 1619 85 3140 205 202 157 4 268 381 364 156 .270 .332 .411
AT 3B 5566 18669 2678 5116 1016 87 728 2788 1810 129 3307 205 80 178 0 219 460 218 107 .274 .342 .455
AT SS 5399 19166 2663 5196 1069 157 405 2167 1410 98 3047 146 280 153 6 288 403 406 148 .271 .323 .407
AT LF 5880 18474 2864 5146 1047 108 754 2708 2141 256 3664 235 88 146 2 202 373 322 129 .279 .358 .469
AT CF 5404 19184 2850 5231 964 138 638 2382 1747 110 3448 179 151 119 2 219 362 598 223 .273 .337 .437
AT RF 5746 18495 2713 5031 970 121 687 2584 2073 167 3603 207 65 150 1 216 420 332 139 .272 .349 .449
AT DH 2570 8460 1229 2228 449 32 343 1318 984 90 1754 122 19 76 3 77 191 57 28 .263 .346 .446


Check out the OBP, SLG and OPS figures for each position. Offense is pretty prevalent at the 1B, RF and LF positions, as well as 3B to some extent. The other positions - C, SS, 2B and CF - have a significant drop in offense. A great hitting center field, for example, is more valuable than a great hitting left fielder (provided their offensive value is similar). There is also a so-called "defensive spectrum" which gives us a rough outline on the importance of each defensive position.

DH - 1B - LF - RF - 3B - CF - 2B - SS - C

As a general guide, the positions on the left side of the spectrum are the easiest positions while the positions on the right side are the most difficult. As players age and their defensive skills dimish, they tend to move right to left (although it is extremely rare for a catcher to move to SS, 2B, CF and 3B as they leap over to the left half of the spectrum).

TeamBoone
03-31-2006, 03:18 PM
Thanks, Cyclone. I now feel very educated!

KronoRed
03-31-2006, 03:19 PM
Great write up as always Cyclone :clap:

Dunn..Leave him alone and watch him blossom

OnBaseMachine
04-02-2006, 09:22 AM
Dunn on pace for huge numbers

SARASOTA, Fla. - Because Adam Dunn is Texas-born and Texas-sized, the 6-foot-6, 270-pound Reds outfielder is expected to hit Texas-length home runs.

And he does. None of his home runs come back with paint stains from scraping the back of the outfield wall.

In his first four full seasons with Cincinnati, the 26-year-old Dunn hit 139 home runs, an average of nearly 35 a season. How can this be done at such a young age?

"Dunn has a great knowledge of the strike zone," Reds Manager Jerry Narron said. "He won't swing at pitches outside the strike zone. Most young players don't have that discipline. Sammy Sosa didn't have it when he was young and didn't become a home run hitter until later in his career when he did."

So where does Dunn stand in the pantheon of power after four years? Very high. Among some hall-of-famers, Dunn is near the top.

After Babe Ruth gave up pitching, he hit 189 home runs in his first four seasons as an outfielder. Dunn, though, has blazed a better four-year pace than Reggie Jackson (131), Ted Williams (127), Eddie Murray (111), Mickey Mantle (108) and, uh, Barry Bonds (84).

And, yes, Dunn leads teammate and certain future hall-of-famer Ken Griffey Jr. (87).

Amazingly, though, Dunn is not even the best after four years of current players. He trails Albert Pujols (180) and Alex Rodriguez (143).

http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/sports/baseball/mlb/cincinnati_reds/14244508.htm

BoydsOfSummer
04-04-2006, 02:14 AM
CAREER
LF
AGE BETWEEN 20 AND 26

ISOLATED POWER ISO
1 Babe Ruth .372
2 Ralph Kiner .314
3 Ted Williams .287
4 Albert Pujols .278
5 Chick Hafey .269
6 Juan Gonzalez .267
7 Adam Dunn .264
8 Albert Belle .261
9 Ryan Klesko .259
10 Willie McCovey .258
11 Jason Bay .256
12 Charlie Keller .251
13 Ron Kittle .244
14 Jim Rice .238
15 Bobby Higginson .237
16 Geoff Jenkins .236
17 Frank Robinson .235
18 Willie Stargell .231
19 Phil Plantier .229
20 Bo Jackson .229
21 Boog Powell .226
22 Miguel Cabrera .225
23 Pat Burrell .225
24 Joe Medwick .222
25 Jeff Heath .220

OPS OPS
1 Babe Ruth 1.181
2 Ted Williams 1.150
3 Albert Pujols 1.031
4 Ralph Kiner 1.023
5 Joe Kelley 1.014
6 Chick Hafey .986
7 Ed Delahanty .973
8 Charlie Keller .949
9 Jason Bay .939
10 Bobby Higginson .936
11 Joe Medwick .934
12 Kal Daniels .916
13 Juan Gonzalez .913
14 Heinie Manush .906
15 Jesse Burkett .905
16 Jim Rice .901
17 Goose Goslin .900
18 Frank Robinson .899
19 Ryan Klesko .899
20 Albert Belle .897
21 Elmer Smith .897
22 Adam Dunn .896
23 Miguel Cabrera .895
24 Rico Carty .888
25 Mike Greenwell .875

RUNS CREATED/GAME RC/G
1 Ted Williams 14.25
2 Babe Ruth 13.74
3 Joe Kelley 13.19
4 Ed Delahanty 12.12
5 Billy Hamilton 11.40
6 Jesse Burkett 10.71
7 Elmer Smith 10.15
8 Ralph Kiner 9.88
9 Albert Pujols 9.71
10 Mike Donlin 9.05
11 George Van Haltren 9.02
12 Charlie Keller 8.98
13 Fred Clarke 8.65
14 Kip Selbach 8.58
15 Chick Hafey 8.57
16 Darby O'Brien 8.18
17 Joe Medwick 8.13
18 Bobby Higginson 7.97
19 Jason Bay 7.94
20 Kal Daniels 7.92
21 Abner Dalrymple 7.91
22 Jimmy Sheckard 7.66
23 Heinie Manush 7.61
24 Goose Goslin 7.49
25 Hub Collins 7.36

SECONDARY AVERAGE SEC
1 Babe Ruth .631
2 Ted Williams .545
3 Ralph Kiner .515
4 Adam Dunn .492
5 Charlie Keller .475
6 Rickey Henderson .464
7 Joe Kelley .455
8 Barry Bonds .440
9 Kal Daniels .431
10 Jason Bay .423
11 Billy Hamilton .419
12 Albert Pujols .412
13 Tim Raines .406
14 Bobby Higginson .392
15 Ryan Klesko .389
16 Mitchell Page .386
17 Willie McCovey .385
18 Albert Belle .381
19 Chick Hafey .372
20 Sandy Amoros .372
21 Pat Burrell .367
22 Kip Selbach .362
23 Elmer Smith .358
24 Phil Plantier .358
25 Boog Powell .351



Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia
New editions are available every October
http://www.baseball-encyclopedia.com

WebScorpion
04-05-2006, 01:29 PM
I think you jinxed him by not mentioning his acceptable defense. ;)


I can remember having games like that where everything just goes wrong, but I can't imagine doing it in front of 50,000 people. :eek: At least there's 161 days to make up for it ... Hope he shakes it off today. :D

Red Leader
04-14-2006, 04:54 PM
nm

KronoRed
04-14-2006, 04:59 PM
What does New Mexico have to do with Adam?

BCubb2003
04-14-2006, 08:11 PM
What does New Mexico have to do with Adam?

They both wear a glove for no apparent reason? No, wait, that's something different ...

vaticanplum
05-18-2006, 05:23 PM
bump