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OnBaseMachine
03-07-2007, 08:58 PM
Back to the basics for Dunn
Reunited with Jacoby, slugger working to eliminate bad habits
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

TAMPA, Fla. -- With an imposing 6-foot-6 frame, 40 or more home runs in each of the past three seasons, plus an enormous strikeout rate, Adam Dunn is no doubt the quintessential slugger.

Dunn has certainly made a good living with that reputation. But now the Reds left fielder wants more.

This slugger aims to become a better hitter.

Doing that meant going back to the basics for Dunn, and going back to Brook Jacoby. The Reds hired Jacoby in the offseason to replace Chris Chambliss as hitting coach. Dunn and Jacoby have a history of working together in the Minors when Jacoby was a roving instructor.

"He knows me. I've known him a long time," said Dunn, who has 198 career homers since 2001. "He's seen me at my best. He knows what to do. He's the one that got me here."

Dunn batted .234 last season with 40 homers and 92 RBIs, while leading the Majors with 194 strikeouts. With a .365 on-base percentage, he still managed to be a selective hitter and led the National League with 112 walks.

What sent Dunn home for the winter to do some soul searching was his performance over the final two months. The 27-year-old batted .176 (33-for-188) from Aug. 1 through the end of the season.

Not long after he took the job in November, Jacoby visited Dunn at his Houston home. For a couple of days, the coach watched his left-handed swinging pupil take cuts in the batting cage.

"We talked about cause and effect with his swing," said Jacoby, who was a Major League third baseman from 1981-92, mostly with the Indians. "What causes the things that are happening?"

Apparently, there were a lot of factors. After joining the Reds, Jacoby watched video of Dunn's swing and noticed a difference from the early years. He saw mechanical issues. The front hip opened too much. Dunn couldn't get down on the ball quick enough.

"The biggest thing I noticed was he was late getting ready to hit," Jacoby said.

Eager to get a jump on the 2007 season, Dunn worked out all winter and shed some weight from his 275-pound body. He reported to camp ahead of schedule and is an early participant each morning with Jacoby in the cage.

Dunn has also listened to Jacoby and opened his mind to changing his approach.

"It's basic, I shouldn't say the word 'easy,'" Dunn said. "But it's back to square one stuff."

"He's solidifying the things we're trying to accomplish," Jacoby said. "A lot of it is different and is going to feel different. But the more we can work on it, the faster we'll get to where it feels natural and having him just react at the plate. He's asking good questions. He's telling me when he feels like he's late. All those things are pointing him in the right direction, that it's going well."

It's very early in Spring Training, but there have been some results. Dunn is 5-for-9 (.556). He did not make the trip for Wednesday's game against the Yankees.

"We have a long way to go," Dunn said. "It's just now starting to feel normal. Once we kind of get into it more, I'll see more results. I feel good now."

A few of the hits, including Dunn's one home run, have gone the opposite way to left field -- which is encouraging news from someone that has been almost strictly a pull hitter for years. Opposing defenses have long employed a right-side shift and have kept the left side of the field wide open, but Dunn rarely took advantage and hit the other way.

"I think the shift plays a big part mentally for him," Jacoby said. He's got to take that out of his mind and hit the ball where it's pitched. If they're going to pitch him away and he's going to try and pull it, of course he's going to hit into the shift. That's where backing it up, being square with his front side is going to allow him to work that ball away out the back door out to left-center field."

Will these improved results also translate to fewer strikeouts? Dunn has struck out 168 times or more in four of the past five seasons.

Jacoby hasn't solely focused on what Dunn does in the two-strike counts. He's trying to upgrade what's done during the sequence of an entire at-bat.

"We want to figure out how we're getting to two strikes all the time," Jacoby said. "Are we taking? Are we chasing? Are we not ready? What's the cause of that happening? It's not thinking in terms of the one pitch he swung and missed. What did he do on the other two? Did you take a good pitch down the middle? Were you guessing?"

Dunn has a laid-back, easy-going personality and often takes his setbacks in stride. Because of that, his high strikeout rate and lackluster defensive skills, he can be an easy target for critics. His renewed dedication this spring and Jacoby's coaching could take away some of the ammunition after the season starts.

Maybe not all the ammunition, though.

"If I took care of everything, I wouldn't be able to give you guys something to write about. I have to be bad somewhere," Dunn joked. "I'll have bad hair. Everyone can talk about my hair.

"I'm trying to eliminate the negative."

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070307&content_id=1832313&vkey=spt2007news&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

edabbs44
03-07-2007, 09:06 PM
Jacoby hasn't solely focused on what Dunn does in the two-strike counts. He's trying to upgrade what's done during the sequence of an entire at-bat.

"We want to figure out how we're getting to two strikes all the time," Jacoby said. "Are we taking? Are we chasing? Are we not ready? What's the cause of that happening? It's not thinking in terms of the one pitch he swung and missed. What did he do on the other two? Did you take a good pitch down the middle? Were you guessing?" http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070307&content_id=1832313&vkey=spt2007news&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

BRILLIANT!

http://www.guinness1759society.com/images/landing_blooper_img.jpg

Ron Madden
03-08-2007, 04:06 AM
I'd love to see Adam Dunn hit for high BA while maintaining his OBP and OBPS. Improvement in productivity is always welcome. I hope it happens.

Adam Dunn is Adam Dunn he is very productive within his skill sets. Can he improve his skill sets? Sure he can but let's be sensible here.

There never was or never will be a hitting coach who could turn Matty Alou into Willie McCovey or vise versa.

We have seen a few hitting coaches for the Reds the last few years try to turn Adam Dunn into Sean Casey... While at the same time trying to to turn Casey into Dunn. I don't get it.

RANDY IN INDY
03-08-2007, 06:22 AM
Nothing wrong with trying to improve.

Ltlabner
03-08-2007, 07:30 AM
"We want to figure out how we're getting to two strikes all the time," Jacoby said. "Are we taking? Are we chasing? Are we not ready? What's the cause of that happening? It's not thinking in terms of the one pitch he swung and missed. What did he do on the other two? Did you take a good pitch down the middle? Were you guessing?"

Good stuff.

Seems like I've read this on a local Reds oriented internet forum sometime in the recient past or something.

Moosie52
03-08-2007, 07:45 AM
His hair isn't his best feature.

RedsManRick
03-08-2007, 09:08 AM
I was worried, based on Narron's rhetoric, that it was going to be a "swing more" approach to avoiding strikeouts. I really like what I'm hearing from Jacoby. Should be interesting to see the effect.

Team Clark
03-08-2007, 09:33 AM
I was worried, based on Narron's rhetoric, that it was going to be a "swing more" approach to avoiding strikeouts. I really like what I'm hearing from Jacoby. Should be interesting to see the effect.

Me too. I really like the quote about figuring out how he's getting to two strikes. Even if you have a bad umpire you probably have passed on a hittable pitch in the sequence. Certainly not the case in EVERY at bat but overall there a lot of hittable pitches in your zone that are flying by. It will be interesting to see what Jacoby does with Dunn. So far so good in my book. :thumbup: The biggest thing to me is that Dunn has embraced this and is putting 100% effort into it.

redsfan30
03-08-2007, 10:17 AM
Great article. Really gives me alot of hope for Adam having a breakout season.

flyer85
03-08-2007, 10:20 AM
its all about being able to put it into practice. A sure sign will be seeing him hit more balls into the CF to LC area. He certainly has enough power that he doesn't need to pull the ball to hit HRs, plus when your hips leave early you lose power on pitches middle away because the hands and body become disconnected and you end up with an all arms swing.

RANDY IN INDY
03-08-2007, 10:48 AM
Me too. I really like the quote about figuring out how he's getting to two strikes. Even if you have a bad umpire you probably have passed on a hittable pitch in the sequence. Certainly not the case in EVERY at bat but overall there a lot of hittable pitches in your zone that are flying by. It will be interesting to see what Jacoby does with Dunn. So far so good in my book. :thumbup: The biggest thing to me is that Dunn has embraced this and is putting 100% effort into it.

I've been saying that for some time, but it's usually met with comments about how I am really not seeing what I am seeing.

redsmetz
03-08-2007, 12:45 PM
I'd love to see Adam Dunn hit for high BA while maintaining his OBP and OBPS. Improvement in productivity is always welcome. I hope it happens.

Adam Dunn is Adam Dunn he is very productive within his skill sets. Can he improve his skill sets? Sure he can but let's be sensible here.

There never was or never will be a hitting coach who could turn Matty Alou into Willie McCovey or vise versa.

We have seen a few hitting coaches for the Reds the last few years try to turn Adam Dunn into Sean Casey... While at the same time trying to to turn Casey into Dunn. I don't get it.

I wanted to comment on this earlier, but couldn't quite articulate my response. But the light went on. I don't think anyone is interested in turning Adam Dunn into Matty Alou. But there's nothing wrong with turning Adam Dunn into Willie McCovey. And McCovey had a .270 career average and I'd be happy with Adam being around .260+. I think ultimately Dunn hitting to all fields again is going to help his game, eliminate the shift and make him all the more dangerous. I think that's what Dunn's hoping to accomplish in making his game more complete.

RFS62
03-08-2007, 03:16 PM
I've been saying that for some time, but it's usually met with comments about how I am really not seeing what I am seeing.



Yep, me too.

I think there's so much negative stuff written about him that is truly ignorant that ANY comment or what we consider constructive criticism tends to get lumped into the "Dunn Bashers" catagory.

I really like what I'm hearing so far. But only time will tell.

GAC
03-08-2007, 07:24 PM
Yep, me too.

I think there's so much negative stuff written about him that is truly ignorant that ANY comment or what we consider constructive criticism tends to get lumped into the "Dunn Bashers" catagory.

I really like what I'm hearing so far. But only time will tell.

Yep. When one reads that Dunn himself spent the off-season some what lamenting and concerned about the drastic falloff in his "game" during the last couple months of '06, then that tells you something. Does that qualify Adam as a "Dunn Basher"? :mooner:

I, and many others feel, as well as Jacoby too, that Adam has developed some bad plate habits that are very correctable. That's all.

Ron Madden
03-09-2007, 04:07 AM
I believe everyone agrees that there is plenty of room for improvement in Dunns approach. He sometimes seems to be quessing and takes too many fat pitches.

I'd love to see Adam turn into more of contact hitter.. but not at the cost of swinging at and making contact with any pitch just because he can make contact with it. Weak ground outs and pop ups are equal to the same value as a strike out. Nothing wrong with waiting for a pitch to drive.

Most productive hitters are patient hitters, any pitch that you can not hit hard is a pitchers best friend.

Call me crazy but I found it a bit ironic, that so many managers and hitting coaches over the past few years wanted Sean Casey to hit for more power like Adam Dunn and at the same time wanted Dunn to hit like Casey. :dunno:

Thats all I'm sayin' here. I never accused anyone of Dunn bashing.

edabbs44
03-09-2007, 05:50 AM
Call me crazy but I found it a bit ironic, that so many managers and hitting coaches over the past few years wanted Sean Casey to hit for more power like Adam Dunn and at the same time wanted Dunn to hit like Casey. :dunno:

Do't you think the goal was to try and find a happy medium for both of them?

creek14
03-09-2007, 06:40 AM
Don't get me wrong, I love reading anything about lil' Adam.

But golly gee whiz, I wonder what the reporters would have to write about if Adam hadn't come to ST with his new improved attitude?

What is this, the 100th article saying the same thing?

(Yet none of them mention me). :confused: ;)

Red Heeler
03-09-2007, 07:44 AM
I don't really think that Dunn lets more hittable pitches go by than the average hitter. However, he fouls back more fat pitches than any other very good hitter I've seen. I believe that any improvements in Dunn's hitting will be from improving his contact on those pitches that he is now fouling off, not from swinging at more pitches. I am encouraged by the approach that Jacoby seems to be taking with Adam. If he can improve Dunn's mechanics so that it improves his contact quality on pitches he is already swinging at, we could see Dunn turn into one of the elite hitters in the game.

Roy Tucker
03-09-2007, 09:06 AM
What is this, the 100th article saying the same thing?



I think it's neck-and-neck with Josh Hamilton recovery stories.

paintmered
03-09-2007, 09:14 AM
I think it's neck-and-neck with Josh Hamilton recovery stories.

In all fairness, those things write themselves.

Speaking of which, it's been more than 2 hours since I've read one. Those journalists are slacking.

:p:

rdiersin
03-09-2007, 09:34 AM
In all fairness, those things write themselves.

Speaking of which, it's been more than 2 hours since I've read one. Those journalists are slacking.

:p:

Oh, here you go then, paint.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/09/sports/baseball/09hamilton.html?_r=1&ref=sports&oref=slogin

GAC
03-09-2007, 09:51 AM
I believe everyone agrees that there is plenty of room for improvement in Dunns approach. He sometimes seems to be quessing and takes too many fat pitches.

Ding, ding, ding, ding! We have a winner! :thumbup:

IslandRed
03-09-2007, 11:15 AM
I wanted to comment on this earlier, but couldn't quite articulate my response. But the light went on. I don't think anyone is interested in turning Adam Dunn into Matty Alou. But there's nothing wrong with turning Adam Dunn into Willie McCovey. And McCovey had a .270 career average and I'd be happy with Adam being around .260+. I think ultimately Dunn hitting to all fields again is going to help his game, eliminate the shift and make him all the more dangerous. I think that's what Dunn's hoping to accomplish in making his game more complete.

I agree.

The Dunn discussions on this board can be frustrating to read; at times it seems like wanting him to become a more complete hitter, and appreciation for his current skill set, are treated as mutually exclusive opinions. I don't think they are at all. And I don't think we'd hear quite so much discontent about Dunn's current hitting profile if that's all he'd ever been. I think it's telling that they brought back Jacoby, because when Dunn broke out in the minors, he wasn't the Three True Outcomes poster boy like he is now. He had the power and the patience, and a high whiff rate, but he also posted solid averages and crushed the ball to all fields with regularity. I think we can all agree that if he can do those things -- without doing counter-productive things like turning himself into a Judy hitter to avoid striking out, or turning a bunch of walks into outs by chasing pitches because he's supposed to be a "RBI guy" -- he'll be better for it, and so will the Reds.