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View Full Version : Liking Dusty more every day...



Wheelhouse
03-18-2008, 01:06 PM
Haven't played a game yet, but I'm sensing good things...

Reason #1: He communicates with the press. In a real sense. Not just towing the GM's tight-lipped line. Says what and who he likes.

Reason #2: He called Griffey and Dunn in the first day and made clear that they need to practice like rookies, not vets--because the rookies will copy them. Smart move. No other manager has had the guts to do that.

Reason #3: He's pushing for Cueto and Volquez for the rotation. Other managers would cave to Krivsky, who wants the pitchers to have won at least 200 minor league games before they pitch in the majors. Looking back, I think keeping Homer down so long may have cooked up his brain. Thinking that the powers that be are too conservative for a long time can create an attitude.

How are you guys on Dusty?

RichRed
03-18-2008, 01:21 PM
How are you guys on Dusty?

Pretty much the same as I was when he was hired. Seems like he's good at communicating with the players but is clueless about putting together a batting order that maximizes run scoring.

How he'll handle the pitching staff remains to be seen.

RedsManRick
03-18-2008, 01:23 PM
I like the way he handles the press, communicates with players, and discusses his through processes.

I dislike that he seems to make his strategic decisions based on assumptions and biases rooted deeply in his personal experience as a player rather than meshing that experience with an objective analysis of what actually works. This leads to statements that are often at odds with each other -- such as a desire for his top of the order guys to score runs, and then focusing on speed and bat control over an ability to get on base, even the though latter is much more influential on run scoring.

RedEye
03-18-2008, 01:24 PM
Reason #1: He communicates with the press. In a real sense. Not just towing the GM's tight-lipped line. Says what and who he likes.

I'm with you on this. He's a charismatic manager in a chummy, old-school way, and I've always had a soft spot for those kind of guys--even if I sometimes disagree with their decisions.


Reason #2: He called Griffey and Dunn in the first day and made clear that they need to practice like rookies, not vets--because the rookies will copy them. Smart move. No other manager has had the guts to do that.

I didn't hear about that... doesn't sound like a bad idea, of course, but do we have evidence that other managers did not do this?


Reason #3: He's pushing for Cueto and Volquez for the rotation. Other managers would cave to Krivsky, who wants the pitchers to have won at least 200 minor league games before they pitch in the majors. Looking back, I think keeping Homer down so long may have cooked up his brain. Thinking that the powers that be are too conservative for a long time can create an attitude.

His enthusiasm for those two is refreshing, but I'm not sure that Krivsky would ever have "held down" the two best performing pitchers in Spring Training. The jury is out for me on Dusty's handling of pitchers until we see how he monitors pitch counts--especially for Cueto. Here's hoping he's learned something from all the Prior/Wood critiques rather than simply turning a deaf ear to the "new school." If he does show more restraint in this area, I'll like him more right away.

OnBaseMachine
03-18-2008, 01:25 PM
So, you think Homer Bailey's problem is he spent too much time in the minor leagues? Wow. I've gotta say, that's the first time I've heard that one. This is a guy who has pitched all of about 120 innings above Single-A before he was called up. He clearly should have spent more time in AAA last season. It's not like he dominated AAA hitters. The 49 hits allowed in 67.1 innings was nice, but the 4.28 BB/9 showed he was clearly not ready to pitch effectively in the major leagues. Krivsky was handling him just fine until he caved in to the screams from the fans (and possibly Bob C.) to call Homer up.

RedEye
03-18-2008, 01:28 PM
So, you think Homer Bailey's problem is he spent too much time in the minor leagues? Wow. I've gotta say, that's the first time I've heard that one. This is a guy who has pitched all of about 120 innings above Single-A before he was called up. He clearly should have spent more time in AAA last season. It's not like he dominated AAA hitters. The 49 hits allowed in 67.1 innings was nice, but the 4.28 BB/9 showed he was clearly not ready to pitch effectively in the major leagues. Krivsky was handling him just fine until he caved in to the screams from the fans (and possibly Bob C.) to call Homer up.

Even though I was one of those screamers, I have to agree with you on this. I think it is pretty clear that Homer's development has been rushed by his early call-up. The question now is whether he has the wherewithal to correct himself back at AAA.

Screwball
03-18-2008, 01:32 PM
This leads to statements that are often at odds with each other

I've found it kinda odd that he'll make a point to note how good it is that one of his pitchers didn't walk anybody, yet comes across in other quotes as seemingly displeased with walks from his hitters. So are walks good or bad, Dusty?

dougdirt
03-18-2008, 01:36 PM
So, you think Homer Bailey's problem is he spent too much time in the minor leagues? Wow. I've gotta say, that's the first time I've heard that one. This is a guy who has pitched all of about 120 innings above Single-A before he was called up. He clearly should have spent more time in AAA last season. It's not like he dominated AAA hitters. The 49 hits allowed in 67.1 innings was nice, but the 4.28 BB/9 showed he was clearly not ready to pitch effectively in the major leagues. Krivsky was handling him just fine until he caved in to the screams from the fans (and possibly Bob C.) to call Homer up.

Except when he was called up it was a sub 4.00 walk rate and 39 hits in 58.1 innings in AAA (1.07 WHIP). Could he have used more time in AAA, sure, but he sure was doing a decent job until injuries kicked in.

OnBaseMachine
03-18-2008, 01:43 PM
Except when he was called up it was a sub 4.00 walk rate and 39 hits in 58.1 innings in AAA (1.07 WHIP). Could he have used more time in AAA, sure, but he sure was doing a decent job until injuries kicked in.

But he wasn't dominating hitters. His K rate was down and IIRC he wasn't going very deep into games.

RichRed
03-18-2008, 02:01 PM
I've found it kinda odd that he'll make a point to note how good it is that one of his pitchers didn't walk anybody, yet comes across in other quotes as seemingly displeased with walks from his hitters. So are walks good or bad, Dusty?

I've thought the exact same thing. Managers and coaches - not just Dusty - unanimously HATE to see their pitchers walk guys, so why isn't it considered more of a positive when their own batters draw a walk?

Ravenlord
03-18-2008, 02:05 PM
i remember Dusty being asked about Shawn Estes after a bad start in Chicago and saying something like this:

"Yeah, walks kill. If most pitchers could just half their walks they'd be dominating."

Joseph
03-18-2008, 02:12 PM
I just heard conversations with Howie Kendrick on XM. His approach to hitting is about working the count to get into a situation where he gets a pitch he can hit, not to 'just get on base' or draw a walk. Theory being that a ball in play means anything can happen. Hit, error, sac fly, etc depending on the situation.

I think sometimes a pitching giving a walk is viewed as not getting an out from the hitter, where as a hitter drawing a walk is viewed as not getting a hit.

I know I'll be yelled at soundly, but I see some merit in that philosophy.

I do not mean to say I want to see our hitters swinging at balls not in the zone, or striking out more often, but SOME aggression would be nice.

That said, I still understand how special a player Dunn is, and I hope Dusty doesn't screw his approach up too much.

RedsManRick
03-18-2008, 02:14 PM
I've thought the exact same thing. Managers and coaches - not just Dusty - unanimously HATE to see their pitchers walk guys, so why isn't it considered more of a positive when their own batters draw a walk?

The really simple explanation is that outcomes are judged against expectations -- how does this thing compare to the thing I wanted to have happen?

If the goal of the pitcher is to get the guy out, then anything short of that is a failure.

If the goal of the hitter is to get a hit, then anything short of that is a failure.

Dusty views the job of the hitter as putting the ball in play (he has said as much). To Dusty, any ball in play has a chance to be a hit, or to advance base runners. If the batted ball is turned in to an out, that's a credit to the fielders, not something to be held against the batter. A walk represents a lost opportunity to do something better. This is also why strikeouts are considered so bad. They are the ultimate failure of the objective of the hitter.

He does not see the job of the hitter as not making an out (ie. reach base). Thus while a walk certainly better than an out, it is, generically speaking, a worse outcome than putting the ball play in play. And because it is a distinct failure for the pitcher and only a moderate success for the hitter, walks become things that are the fault of pitchers, not to the credit of hitters. The hitter is merely benefiting from the failure of the pitcher to do his job. Working the count just increases the chances that you won't put the ball in play at all.

To me, this philosophy errs in treating all batted balls as equals and all batted balls as better than balls not put in to play. Sure, a weakly hit ball might become a hit or advance a runner, but not with the regularity that such a philosophy assumes. It simply doesn't give enough weight to the value of getting another chance to get a good pitch to drive and the possibility of getting on base for free.

Benihana
03-18-2008, 02:49 PM
Surprisingly, I agree- so far I haven't minded Dusty at all. He has been very accomodating to the fans throught the media, and more importantly, I think SO FAR he has dispelled his reputation of favoring undeserving vets over rookies:

-He has supported Joey Votto through his strugglesand is still giving him serious consideration for the starting job despite Hatte's dominance in ST.

-He's all but penciled rookie hurlers Cueto and Volquez into the rotation ahead of veterans and one time shoo-ins Belisle, Fogg, and Affeldt.

-Finally, while many on the board are crying foul over the Corey Patterson signing, I am taking the unpopular opinion of embracing it. I really think that CP could finally put it all together, or at least be an improvement to Fropper. Arguably, Jay Bruce illustrated this spring that he isn't quite ready to be a full-time starter in the major leagues, and I am fine with him spending the first month or two of this season in AAA. I do think if Bruce would have raked in ST, Dusty wouldn't object to him starting in CF on Opening Day, but the fact of the matter is, he didn't.

This could very easily be one of those statements I end up regretting big time later, but...It's still very early in his tenure, but for right now, I'm not minding Dusty at all.

RANDY IN INDY
03-18-2008, 02:53 PM
I don't think Dusty disdains the walk and wants guys to hit at all cost. I think he simply wants his best hitters to take advantage of hittable pitches when they get them. Nobody wants players to swing at pitches that they can't hit. I call that"giving away an at bat." The thing is, just because they didn't swing at the pitch doesn't mean it isn't a pitch that they couldn't have driven. It is pretty obvious to me that plenty of hitters could kick themselves for not swinging at very hittable pitches when they get them. It's obvious from the body language after letting it pass. On average, hitters might get one (two at most) very hittable pitches in any at bat. You have to recognize them when you get them. Barry Bonds has always been a master at this.

Just because they didn't swing, doesn't mean the ball was not a pitch that they couldn't have driven. Taking hittable strikes and getting in pitchers counts causes hitters to swing at pitches that they can't hit. Pitchers pitches. I love to see a professional at bat as much as the next guy, but there are guys that can hit when behind and there are guys that look absolutely clueless. That should play into the approach as well as the way that a particular pitcher is pitching on any given day.

westofyou
03-18-2008, 03:07 PM
I just heard conversations with Howie Kendrick on XM. His approach to hitting is about working the count to get into a situation where he gets a pitch he can hit, not to 'just get on base' or draw a walk. Theory being that a ball in play means anything can happen. Hit, error, sac fly, etc depending on the situation.


18 BB in 646 PA's for Kendrick.. he makes Phillips look like Ricky Henderson.

http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/


Los Angeles Angels at Anaheim in the Garden of Good and Evil: Twenty walks this year for Howie Kendrick?
Prospectus: Outlook not so good.

PECOTA has Kendrick walking 18 times in 499 plate-appearances which, believe it or not, would be a HUGE increase from last season, when he walked 9 times 354 plate appearances.

I’m fascinated by guys who walk this little, I can’t tell you why. There’s something about that persona, that, “I don’t care what this pitcher throws, I’m swatting,” attitude that entertains me. Kendrick has walked 18 times in 646 major league PAs, and in the minors he walked 77 times in more than 1,500. I remember when the Royals had Mark Quinn, and the guy simply refused to take a walk, refused, it just wasn’t in his nature. When he finally did walk, someone set off fireworks at Kauffman Stadium. Seriously. I still find that amusing.

Caveat Emperor
03-18-2008, 03:28 PM
Instead of getting rid of guys I dislike (Castro, Stanton), they're adding additional players that I dislike (Patterson).

Ask me what I think about Cueto being in the rotation in July, after his third-straight 110+ pitch outing in a row.

Benihana
03-18-2008, 03:31 PM
Instead of getting rid of guys I dislike (Castro, Stanton), they're adding additional players that I dislike (Patterson).


That's not neccessarily Dusty's fault. Talk to WK.

redsmetz
03-18-2008, 03:35 PM
Haven't played a game yet, but I'm sensing good things...

Reason #1: He communicates with the press. In a real sense. Not just towing the GM's tight-lipped line. Says what and who he likes.

Reason #2: He called Griffey and Dunn in the first day and made clear that they need to practice like rookies, not vets--because the rookies will copy them. Smart move. No other manager has had the guts to do that.

Reason #3: He's pushing for Cueto and Volquez for the rotation. Other managers would cave to Krivsky, who wants the pitchers to have won at least 200 minor league games before they pitch in the majors. Looking back, I think keeping Homer down so long may have cooked up his brain. Thinking that the powers that be are too conservative for a long time can create an attitude.

How are you guys on Dusty?

I'm liking Dusty for some of your reasons, but not exactly. I like Wayne being tight-lipped. I think the club is better served by a GM who keeps his cards close to his vest. Baker is good with the press, firm in clarifying his statements and acts as a good counter balance to Krivsky's taciturn approach.

Regarding pushing for Cueto & Volquez, I agree, but again disagree with your assessment of Krivsky. I've said this repeatedly that ultimately this club will be well served by Krivsky's approach of moving players along step by step. I'm not sure if Bailey's brain was "cooked up", as you put it, but he won't be hurt by falling back to AAA to bring his game up to the ML level.

I'm loving Baker's communication with his players - you highlight the Griffey & Dunn conversation. He has his player's trust - that can be a good thing, in the long run.

Cyclone792
03-18-2008, 03:40 PM
Ask me what I think about Cueto being in the rotation in July, after his third-straight 110+ pitch outing in a row.

Yup, this is what is likely to determine how much I enjoy having Dusty Baker in the Reds lineup. He's got some things I like (clubhouse stuff, etc.), some things that annoy me (OBP, lineups, etc.), but ultimately it's going to come down to pitcher abuse. If Dusty protects the arms, I'll come around to liking him.

But if he shreds those arms, then I'll have zero patience with him. Absolutely none.

And one thing to remember is that arm shredding isn't an issue in spring training. It's when the regular season games begin that things will get dicey.

Benihana
03-18-2008, 03:42 PM
Yup, this is what is likely to determine how much I enjoy having Dusty Baker in the Reds lineup. He's got some things I like (clubhouse stuff, etc.), some things that annoy me (OBP, lineups, etc.), but ultimately it's going to come down to pitcher abuse. If Dusty protects the arms, I'll come around to liking him.

But if he shreds those arms, then I'll have zero patience with him. Absolutely none.

And one thing to remember is that arm shredding isn't an issue in spring training. It's when the regular season games begin that things will get dicey.

Good points. I agree

BuckeyeRedleg
03-18-2008, 03:47 PM
The thing is, I worry less about young pitchers from the DR because most of them seem to have rubber arms from playing year round. The guy I would worry about under Dusty is Homer Bailey. Bailey has had a history of not being efficient with is pitches and I could see him going 110+ pitches without getting to the 6th.

I am very content that Bailey is in AAA (away from Dusty) to work on his command. It may save his career (and his arm) to get half a year to a year under his belt down there.

I will almost guarantee that Harang and Arroyo will be in the top 5 (in the NL) for pitches per start, so that's another story.

George Anderson
03-18-2008, 03:50 PM
Yup, this is what is likely to determine how much I enjoy having Dusty Baker in the Reds lineup. He's got some things I like (clubhouse stuff, etc.), some things that annoy me (OBP, lineups, etc.), but ultimately it's going to come down to pitcher abuse. If Dusty protects the arms, I'll come around to liking him.

But if he shreds those arms, then I'll have zero patience with him. Absolutely none.

And one thing to remember is that arm shredding isn't an issue in spring training. It's when the regular season games begin that things will get dicey.

If Dusty starts abusing arms he will get the axe or at least a good talking to. WK and BC are not going to sit back and watch prized prospects have their arms ruined.

I hope not anyway!!

RedlegJake
03-18-2008, 03:51 PM
I think Dusty's gotten a bad rap on pitchers...I think...but I'm hedging that - I'll wait and see and like Cyclone will have zero patience about pushing the Reds youngsters beyond reasonable limits. I'd much rather scream about him using the hook too soon than vice versa. We'll see. Overall I like Dusty and think he gets another bad rap in his hiting approach. He isn't telling hitters to never walk -just not to take a lot of third strikes or let themselves repeatedly fall behind in counts by just watching good pitches go by. That's what I think he means by being aggressive -when you've got a good pitch swing at it! And yes, I think the emphasi on OBP and walks, like all good things can be overdone. Meaning when young hitters start trying to work long counts and get walks by NOT swinging at good pitches simply because they are trying to "work" the pitcher then it's getting into their heads a bit too much. Of course, if there is any way to sledgehammer a bit of that into Corey I'd be all for it....

So far Dusty gets a B from me but the grade card starts all over once the season gets rolling.

redsrule2500
03-18-2008, 04:01 PM
I like Dusty more and more for the reasons you stated as well.

The only thing that really scares me is his pitcher use, especially with the hefty amount of young talent we have.

Chip R
03-18-2008, 04:05 PM
But if he shreds those arms, then I'll have zero patience with him. Absolutely none.

And one thing to remember is that arm shredding isn't an issue in spring training. It's when the regular season games begin that things will get dicey.


That's why it's going to be very, very, very important for the bullpen to be good - especially at the beginning of the season. Dusty's not an idiot. He's not going to let guys go out there and throw 120 pitches in 40-50 degree weather. So the better the bullpen does right away, the more confidence he's going to have with them when the weather gets warmer. Dusty's only human. If Cueto's thrown 100 pitches, it's a lot more likely he's going to take him out if he believes the bullpen is not going to blow up like it has for the last several years.

Falls City Beer
03-18-2008, 05:45 PM
I think Dusty's less conservative and more demanding than any manager here since Lou; that likely helps things.

remdog
03-18-2008, 05:56 PM
I don't think Dusty disdains the walk and wants guys to hit at all cost. I think he simply wants his best hitters to take advantage of hittable pitches when they get them. Nobody wants players to swing at pitches that they can't hit. I call that"giving away an at bat." The thing is, just because they didn't swing at the pitch doesn't mean it isn't a pitch that they couldn't have driven. It is pretty obvious to me that plenty of hitters could kick themselves for not swinging at very hittable pitches when they get them. It's obvious from the body language after letting it pass. On average, hitters might get one (two at most) very hittable pitches in any at bat. You have to recognize them when you get them. Barry Bonds has always been a master at this.

Just because they didn't swing, doesn't mean the ball was not a pitch that they couldn't have driven. Taking hittable strikes and getting in pitchers counts causes hitters to swing at pitches that they can't hit. Pitchers pitches. I love to see a professional at bat as much as the next guy, but there are guys that can hit when behind and there are guys that look absolutely clueless. That should play into the approach as well as the way that a particular pitcher is pitching on any given day.

Great point. What's that kid's name that you're coaching? He might turn out to be pretty good if he follows that advice. ;)

Rem

jojo
03-18-2008, 06:02 PM
I don't think Dusty disdains the walk and wants guys to hit at all cost. I think he simply wants his best hitters to take advantage of hittable pitches when they get them.

That implies that there is a problem with the Reds best hitters taking hittable pitches. I'm curious about which ones he thinks suffers in this regard....

harangatang
03-18-2008, 07:42 PM
That implies that there is a problem with the Reds best hitters taking hittable pitches. I'm curious about which ones he thinks suffers in this regard....I would have to assume it would be Adam taking a "hittable" called third strike.

jojo
03-18-2008, 08:06 PM
I would have to assume it would be Adam taking a "hittable" called third strike.

He doesn't do that anymore than anyone else.

mth123
03-18-2008, 08:33 PM
I don't think Dusty disdains the walk and wants guys to hit at all cost. I think he simply wants his best hitters to take advantage of hittable pitches when they get them. Nobody wants players to swing at pitches that they can't hit. I call that"giving away an at bat." The thing is, just because they didn't swing at the pitch doesn't mean it isn't a pitch that they couldn't have driven. It is pretty obvious to me that plenty of hitters could kick themselves for not swinging at very hittable pitches when they get them. It's obvious from the body language after letting it pass. On average, hitters might get one (two at most) very hittable pitches in any at bat. You have to recognize them when you get them. Barry Bonds has always been a master at this.

Just because they didn't swing, doesn't mean the ball was not a pitch that they couldn't have driven. Taking hittable strikes and getting in pitchers counts causes hitters to swing at pitches that they can't hit. Pitchers pitches. I love to see a professional at bat as much as the next guy, but there are guys that can hit when behind and there are guys that look absolutely clueless. That should play into the approach as well as the way that a particular pitcher is pitching on any given day.


:thumbup:

RFS62
03-18-2008, 08:36 PM
Great post, Randy.

RANDY IN INDY
03-18-2008, 09:01 PM
That implies that there is a problem with the Reds best hitters taking hittable pitches. I'm curious about which ones he thinks suffers in this regard....

If you are watching the games, it becomes very apparent.

remdog
03-18-2008, 09:36 PM
That implies that there is a problem with the Reds best hitters taking hittable pitches. I'm curious about which ones he thinks suffers in this regard....

I don't think it necessarily implies anything. Maybe that's simply an overlying philosophy.

Rem

Raisor
03-18-2008, 09:43 PM
If you are watching the games, it becomes very apparent.


are they doing it any more then any other team?

RANDY IN INDY
03-18-2008, 10:03 PM
I can't say because I don't watch the other teams every night like I watch the Reds. I'm sure there are players on other teams that take hittable strikes.

harangatang
03-18-2008, 10:07 PM
He doesn't do that anymore than anyone else.I have no stats to say anything for it or against it, but looking at baseball from non-statistical perspective I believe it is entirely possible that the perception could be there amongst fans and Dusty Baker.

Ravenlord
03-18-2008, 10:14 PM
that hittable third strike i hear Dunn get called out for is a breaking ball on the inside corner. early in the count he'll lay off of it, even if it's for a strike. but with two strikes, he'll swing at it nearly 100% of the time, and about 70% of the time he'll chase it out of the strikezone.

Caveat Emperor
03-18-2008, 10:32 PM
If Dusty starts abusing arms he will get the axe or at least a good talking to. WK and BC are not going to sit back and watch prized prospects have their arms ruined.

The same WK who is GM'ing for a job next year, with Walt Jocketty looking over his shoulders?

I'm not going to bet the farm that WK is looking past August, at this point.

Blitz Dorsey
03-18-2008, 10:32 PM
I've liked Dusty from Day 1. He has his faults, but every manager does and I would definitely take him over most managers in MLB. And after our unmatched collection of "interim-turned-full-time managers" like Miley, Narron and Mackanin, it was time to make a splash with a real manager and that's what we did with Dusty.

Give the man a chance! I remember thinking a long time ago, "Dusty Baker's San Fran teams always overachieve and always are in the playoff hunt." Didn't always make it, but he's a good manager, something we haven't had here since McKeon.

jojo
03-19-2008, 12:24 PM
The eye is a very powerful thing when it comes to baseball. Success on the field/at the plate begins with the eye. The eye is also a window into a deeper understanding of the game for fans. That's a great thing about Redszone. There are many precise eyes that have a lot to offer especially when it comes to issues like Arroyo's mechanics last June, Bailey's development etc. But when it comes to distinguishing between a .280 or a .310 hitter, or how a player rates defensively relative to the rest of the league, the eye can be context-deficient and therefore relying on the eye alone might mislead. One of the reasons I was originally drawn to sabermetrics was that it was a way to test my assumptions/perceptions of the game by giving context to some issues that otherwise might be in the realm of antecdotal.

It's been suggested that Dunn takes too many called third strikes and this is a glaring problem that even the eyes can easily detect. Supporting this assertion, Dusty has felt the need to speak out on the subject by suggesting his best hitters need to be more aggressive. My initial perception was that such a notion wasn't accurate though others soundly disagree. Thinking about this issue last night, I found it impossible to address it in a way that might resolve these contradictory perceptions because both sides seem to be missing some kind of context. It drives me nuts to watch a run producer from my team take a third strike with RISP. That said, really, while Dunn strikes out a ton including being caught looking many times, does he really watch strike three a great deal more than other similar hitters? I've argued he doesn't in the past. That said, this certainly seems to be an issue where I need to challenge my perception with raw data if possible.

A few weeks ago, some data was posted (http://www.redszone.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1566609&postcount=90) that suggested he K's a lot because he's contact deficient rather than overly patient:


I bet if Dusty made Dunn run a lap around the field every time he took a third strike, the issue would go away pretty quickly...

Here's some data from Bill James:

In '07, Dunn took 57% of the pitches he saw. Of those 1478 he took, 28% were for a strike and 72% were called a ball. I have no idea how this compares to the league average. However, here is Bonds' '07- he took 64% and of those, 26% were taken for a strike. Arod (the most valuable bat in the world relative to his position during '07 according to VORP) looked identical to Dunn in this regard (took 57% and of those 28% were taken for strikes). By contrast, Nick Punto (metaphorical offensive flatulence) took 58% of all pitches he saw and of those 36% were in the strike zone.

Here's a difference though. When looking at the pitches each player swung at, here is the percentage each put into play: Dunn: 32%, AROD: 42%, Bonds: 46%; and Punto: 44%.

What does any of this mean? Well-keeping in mind it's superficial and anecdotal-it would suggest that Dunn's Achilles heel isn't the ones he takes, it's the ones he misses.

And there we go-Dunn strikes out too much (but maybe not because he takes too many strikes)!

I guess I see the wisdom in letting a contact-deficient hitter with plus OBP skills to, well, not be forced to swing more.

While suggestive, that really didn't directly address whether he looks at too many third strikes though. In order to do this, I've focused on 2007 strikeout data compiled at baseballreference.com (specifically the number of times hitters watch a called third strike versus the number of swinging third strikes). I've focused on all qualified hitters who saw 4 or more pitches per plate appearance (48 players). While 4 P/PA is a somewhat arbitrary cutoff, Dunn averaged 4.2 Pitches/PA in '07 and it seemed unfair to compare him to guys who see significantly fewer pitches and are therefore less likely to be caught looking (or strikeout in general). For such players, I've listed their total number of strikeouts (SO), their strikeouts caught looking (SOL) and their swinging strikeouts (SOS). Finally since strikeout rates vary tremendously across this list, the percentage of all strikeouts coming from "being caught looking" was calculated as a means of comparison. The totals for the whole group are at the bottom of the list. Below are the data:



Last PA Outs Pitch/PA SO SOL SOS SOL%
Willits 518 335 4.5 83 29 54 34.9
Cust 507 308 4.4 164 72 92 43.9
Abreu 699 460 4.4 115 30 85 26.1
Helton 682 402 4.4 74 32 42 43.2
Millar 562 366 4.3 94 33 61 35.1
Damon 605 400 4.3 79 30 49 38.0
Youkilis 625 392 4.3 105 28 77 26.7
Swisher 659 423 4.3 131 33 98 25.2
Inge 577 409 4.2 150 31 119 20.7
Burrell 598 369 4.2 120 48 72 40.0
Roberts 716 462 4.2 99 37 62 37.4
Thome 536 327 4.2 134 41 93 30.6
Howard 648 407 4.2 199 40 159 20.1
Weeks 506 323 4.2 116 27 89 23.3
Dunn 632 402 4.2 165 46 119 27.9
Blake 662 458 4.2 123 34 89 27.6
Sizemore 748 469 4.2 155 46 109 29.7
Bautista 614 426 4.1 101 31 70 30.7
Varitek 518 339 4.1 122 29 93 23.8
Johnson 608 394 4.1 83 29 54 34.9
Mora 527 374 4.1 83 15 68 18.1
Ortiz 667 387 4.1 103 20 83 19.4
Upton 548 359 4.1 154 47 107 30.5
Hafner 661 421 4.1 115 35 80 30.4
Thomas 624 403 4.1 94 23 71 24.5
Sheffield 593 384 4.1 71 16 55 22.5
Pujols 679 421 4.1 58 11 47 19.0
Cameron 651 452 4 160 57 103 35.6
Matsui 634 412 4 73 23 50 31.5
Lopez 671 486 4 109 31 78 28.4
Lee 650 410 4 114 34 80 29.8
Figgins 503 325 4 81 20 61 24.7
Pena 612 368 4 142 37 105 26.1
Griffey Jr. 623 406 4 99 22 77 22.2
Zimmerman 722 511 4 125 44 81 35.2
Dye 561 401 4 107 28 79 26.2
Granderson 676 438 4 141 22 119 15.6
Wright 711 434 4 115 38 77 33.0
Punto 536 395 4 89 33 56 37.1
Hall 503 359 4 127 28 99 22.0
Hawpe 606 387 4 137 33 104 24.1
Iwamura 559 370 4 114 27 87 23.7
Jones 659 472 4 138 26 112 18.8
Kinsler 566 384 4 83 16 67 19.3
Willingham 604 396 4 122 39 83 32.0
DeRosa 574 381 4 93 26 67 28.0
Martin 620 413 4 89 21 68 23.6
LaRoche 632 433 4 131 46 85 35.1
cohort totals: 1544 3935 28.2



Let me be the first to say, yes, Dunn strikeouts a lot. He also strikes out looking a lot (about the same number of times as guys like Sizemore/Upton/Zimmerman). However, the above table indicates that though Dunn gets caught looking 27.9% of the time he strikes out, he's normal in that regard. While that seems like a lot, the average for hitters who see similar numbers of pitches was actually 28.2%. Dunn's SOL% basically was exactly average. In other words, since he gets caught looking about the number of times you'd expect from a player who sees as many pitches as he does given his strikeout total, his caught looking strikeouts aren't really a problem.

Once again, he's a contact-deficient hitter with above average on base skills. These data do nothing to make me quit questioning the wisdom of suggesting Dunn needs to swing more.

pahster
03-19-2008, 12:48 PM
Nice post, jojo.

M2
03-19-2008, 12:53 PM
Excellent work there jojo.

harangatang
03-19-2008, 01:50 PM
It looks like Dunn has around the same percentage of strikeouts looking as some other players but what I see in that data is he had 24 more compared to Junior in nearly the same number PA's (the only other Red on your list). Now Junior and Dunn have only a 5 percent difference due to Junior not striking out as much overall. I think you did a good job showing that Dunn is no different than a lot of hitters in league while at the same time showing in your data that there is truth to the perception that Dunn does take a lot of called 3rd strikes. He definitely does compared to Junior and I would be curious to see how he compares to the rest of the Reds in 2007.

RANDY IN INDY
03-19-2008, 02:28 PM
These data do nothing to make me quit questioning the wisdom of suggesting Dunn needs to swing more.

I don't think Baker is advocating that Dunn or Votto swing more. I think it is more about when they swing and what they are swinging at. In other words, when you get a hitters pitch in your zone, drive it, regardless of the count. Don't go 0-2 by taking pitches that are in the zone and then end up swinging or being frozen by a pitchers pitch. It isn't like they are being asked to swing at pitches that are out of the zone that they cannot handle, and again, just because a pitch is taken, it doesn't mean it was a pitch that the hitter wouldn't like to see again.

RedsManRick
03-19-2008, 02:42 PM
Bravo Jojo. Yes, Dunn strikes out a lot, both looking and swinging. The issue Dunn has is that he gets in to a lot of 2 strike counts because of his approach. The question is whether Dunn is getting to two strike counts because he's watching good (pitches HE can drive, not just strikes) pitches go by.

Dusty's underlying point is that once you get to two strikes, you're in trouble. You aren't likely to get a pitch that you can drive and thus are likely to leave the runners where they are. This is particularly true if you're a person who struggles to make contact already.

The problem with working the count, as Dusty has suggested, is that by walking you might be leaving the opportunity to drive in those runs to somebody less capable of doing so. Thus, Dusty's solution is to get Dunn making contact earlier in the plate appearance when there are guys on base. Dunn, more than most Dusty would suggest, needs to be taking full advantage of the first decent opportunity he has.

An arguably smarter solution would be to bat Dunn in a spot where the team can take advantage of both of his skills sets (power and patience). Thus, if the pitcher avoids Dunn by not giving him anything he feels comfortable trying to drive (and Dunn is able to turn that in to a walk, something he excels at), there would be another capable hitter behind him with an even better run producing situation. Yet another example of Dusty getting the pieces right but putting together the puzzle wrong.

I have yet to see anybody show evidence that Dunn really does look at pitches early in the count that he otherwise likes to drive; That's he taking good pitches for the sake of maybe getting better ones later in the at bat. I would agree, as would everybody I imagine, that there's never an excuse to watch a pitch you can drive reliably. I would assert that the real issue is that Dunn just doesn't have a big set of pitches which are "good" for him -- period. He'd rather wait until he gets one those "good" pitches, and perhaps get a walk in the process; If and when he does get two strikes, sure, he expand his zone, but the results aren't pretty -- as evidence by the amount K's swinging and the relatively poor quality of the balls he does put in play with two strikes.

The latter point there is admittedly an assumption. I wonder how Dunn's AVG/SLG varies by count for balls he puts in play. And I wonder how that might change should he become more aggressive.

RedsManRick
03-19-2008, 02:45 PM
I don't think Baker is advocating that Dunn or Votto swing more. I think it is more about when they swing and what they are swinging at. In other words, when you get a hitters pitch in your zone, drive it, regardless of the count. Don't go 0-2 by taking pitches that are in the zone and then end up swinging or being frozen by a pitchers pitch. It isn't like they are being asked to swing at pitches that are out of the zone that they cannot handle, and again, just because a pitch is taken, it doesn't mean it was a pitch that the hitter wouldn't like to see again.

I wonder if Dunn/Votto and Dusty are on the same page about what are good pitches for them? Baker himself was a pretty good contact hitter and managed a great contact hitter with power for a decade.

If they already are swinging at good pitches, and Dusty thinks that there are other pitches which should be good for them, won't that likely just result in trading at bats that now end in walks, strong balls in play, weak balls in play, and strikeouts for more weak balls in a play?

At what point in the count is getting another pitch at the cost of a strike more valuable than a weakly hit ball in play?

RANDY IN INDY
03-19-2008, 02:53 PM
Dunn has admitted, on numerous occasions, that he realizes that he lets pitches go by, early in the count, that he could and should drive. If he realizes that, it would seem to me, pretty good evidence that it happens. Whether he can ever get to the point that he recognizes and drives those pitches is really the question. It may never happen, and still, you have a very dangerous offensive threat. Should he ever be able to recognize and drive those pitches, he becomes even greater.

RedsManRick
03-19-2008, 02:58 PM
Dunn has admitted, on numerous occasions, that he realizes that he lets pitches go by, early in the count, that he could and should drive. If he realizes that, it would seem to me, pretty good evidence that it happens. Whether he can ever get to the point that he recognizes and drives those pitches is really the question. It may never happen, and still, you have a very dangerous offensive threat. Should he ever be able to recognize and drive those pitches, he becomes even greater.

But is his choosing to let them go on purpose, or merely recognizing them as good pitches too late? Asking him to be more aggressive suggests it's a choice. If it's a pitch recognition issue, being more aggressive isn't the answer. It will likely just lead to him swinging at more pitches he can't hit and either missing them entirely or hitting them weakly.

jojo
03-19-2008, 03:00 PM
I don't think Baker is advocating that Dunn or Votto swing more. I think it is more about when they swing and what they are swinging at. In other words, when you get a hitters pitch in your zone, drive it, regardless of the count. Don't go 0-2 by taking pitches that are in the zone and then end up swinging or being frozen by a pitchers pitch. It isn't like they are being asked to swing at pitches that are out of the zone that they cannot handle, and again, just because a pitch is taken, it doesn't mean it was a pitch that the hitter wouldn't like to see again.

I can find zero evidence that Dunn is excessively taking strikes. For instance, in '07, Dunn swung at 74% of the pitches he saw that were strikes. The average for the period tracked by BBR is 73%. Also given that Dunn has more PA's reach 2-0; 3-0 and 3-1 than an average hitter, it's not likely he has consistently placed himself behind in the count by taking strikes.

It's difficult to find evidence in the numbers that Dunn is consistently laying off of pitches he could drive.

RANDY IN INDY
03-19-2008, 03:04 PM
If they already are swinging at good pitches, and Dusty thinks that there are other pitches which should be good for them, won't that likely just result in trading at bats that now end in walks, strong balls in play, weak balls in play, and strikeouts for more weak balls in a play?

At what point in the count is getting another pitch at the cost of a strike more valuable than a weakly hit ball in play?

Are they only swinging at good pitches, and is it not possible that they are taking very hittable pitches at times? I guess if you are already resigned that getting a good pitch and putting a good swing on it will result in a weak ball put in play, there is no value in getting a good pitch to hit and putting a good swing on it. Again, no one is suggesting that they swing at bad pitches that they cannot handle.

I see plenty of pitches being taken that are far better than some pitches hitters are swinging at. But there again, at this point in the argument it always comes down to someone telling me that my eye must be context-deficient and that I am not really seeing what I think I am seeing.

RANDY IN INDY
03-19-2008, 03:08 PM
I can find zero evidence that Dunn is excessively taking strikes. For instance, in '07, Dunn swung at 74% of the pitches he saw that were strikes. The average for the period tracked by BBR is 73%. Also given that Dunn has more PA's reach 2-0; 3-0 and 3-1 than an average hitter, it's not likely he has consistently placed himself behind in the count by taking strikes.

It's difficult to find evidence in the numbers that Dunn is consistently laying off of pitches he could drive.

Where did you get your numbers? I would like to see them. How many at bats does he have where he gets into pitchers counts that result in strikeouts or weak balls put in play? Most of us who see the numbers that are posted, that don't have the time available to research, take them to be fact without ever validating. I'm sure your numbers are correct, but would it be possible to select only the numbers necessary to prove what you want and not show the whole picture? Just asking?

RedsManRick
03-19-2008, 03:18 PM
Are they only swinging at good pitches, and is it not possible that they are taking very hittable pitches at times? I guess if you are already resigned that getting a good pitch and putting a good swing on it will result in a weak ball put in play, there is no value in getting a good pitch to hit and putting a good swing on it. Again, no one is suggesting that they swing at bad pitches that they cannot handle.

I see plenty of pitches being taken that are far better than some pitches hitters are swinging at. But there again, at this point in the argument it always comes down to someone telling me that my eye must be context-deficient and that I am not really seeing what I think I am seeing.

The question isn't whether you are seeing what claim to see. I'm sure you've seen Adam Dunn take good pitches; Nobody is denying you that. Dunn is watching some pitches he could drive. Nobody disagrees with that either. And to the point that no player should be watching good pitches go by, we're all in agreement here.

The question comes when you start to make the assertion that Dunn watches more good pitches than do most other hitters. That it's a particular issue for him that needs to be fixed. I'm sure he could stand to improve; But so could Barry Bonds. Simply seeing a guy watch a good pitch, even many times, doesn't tell us much about how that player does relative to the league, to similar players, etc.

It's when you start taking what you've witnessed and putting it in to a rich context that can't be seen that your eye starts to become a less useful tool. If Dunn isn't actually taking good pitches any more frequently than the typical guy who strikes way out less than he does, then just maybe that's not really the cause of his strikeout problem.

RANDY IN INDY
03-19-2008, 03:20 PM
But is his choosing to let them go on purpose, or merely recognizing them as good pitches too late? Asking him to be more aggressive suggests it's a choice. If it's a pitch recognition issue, being more aggressive isn't the answer. It will likely just lead to him swinging at more pitches he can't hit and either missing them entirely or hitting them weakly.

Could be either, Rick. Hitting is not an easy task, and I don't really know the answer to that question, but I truly believe that there are pitches, early in the count that both Adam Dunn and Joey Votto can drive that won't result in weakly hit balls and could just as easily result in both of them not swinging at as many pitchers pitches, down in counts, that they are already doing what you suggest that they might do with the earlier pitches, missing or hitting weakly.

RANDY IN INDY
03-19-2008, 03:24 PM
To the extent that no player should be watching good pitches go by, we're all in agreement here. The question comes when you start to judge whether Dunn does watches good pitches more than most other hitters. It's taking what you've witnessed and putting it in to a context that your eye isn't good a creating on it's own

I really am not comparing Adam Dunn to other hitters. I am looking at his performance, his strengths and weaknesses, listening to what he himself has said about hitting more good pitches earlier in counts and how he might be able to improve on his approach to get even better and be more productive, based on what I am seeing. Not really worried about other hitters. More concerned with Adam Dunn.

RedsManRick
03-19-2008, 03:27 PM
I really am not comparing Adam Dunn to other hitters. I am looking at his performance, his strengths and weaknesses, listening to what he himself has said about hitting more good pitches earlier in counts and how he might be able to improve on his approach to get even better and be more productive. Not really worried about other hitters. More concerned with Adam Dunn.

Fine. We can all agree that Dunn should swing at any pitch he can drive. We can all agree that are some pitches earlier in the count which he has not swung at in the past. That could be said about every single hitter in professional baseball. Unless you understand WHY Dunn isn't swinging at those pitches, prescribing a solution doesn't make much sense.

If the dictum given to Dunn is "When you see a good pitch, take a hack." then I'm on board 100%. However, let's understand that even if Dunn adopts that strategy, he will continue to not swing at some good pitches because his pitch recognition isn't perfect. Just because it is a good pitch doesn't mean Dunn knows it is in time to put a swing on it.

But if the dictum is "Be aggressive early in the count", then while sometimes he's going to swing at those good pitches he doesn't already recognize as such, often he's going to swing at crap he shouldn't be swinging at. And when pitchers realize he's being aggressive based on pitch count, they'll only give him crap early in the count and let him dig his own hole.

It all comes back to why he's letting those good pitches go.

jojo
03-19-2008, 03:31 PM
Where did you get your numbers? I would like to see them. How many at bats does he have where he gets into pitchers counts that result in strikeouts or weak balls put in play? Most of us who see the numbers that are posted, that don't have the time available to research, take them to be fact without ever validating. I'm sure your numbers are correct, but would it be possible to select only the numbers necessary to prove what you want and not show the whole picture? Just asking?

http://www.baseball-reference.com/d/dunnad01.shtml

Look under "Pitch Data Summary"

Cyclone792
03-19-2008, 03:33 PM
Could be either, Rick. Hitting is not an easy task, and I don't really know the answer to that question, but I truly believe that there are pitches, early in the count that both Adam Dunn and Joey Votto can drive that won't result in weakly hit balls and could just as easily result in both of them not swinging at as many pitchers pitches, down in counts, that they are already doing what you suggest that they might do with the earlier pitches, missing or hitting weakly.

I did some research a few years back that showed Dunn was among MLB's best in getting himself into hitter's counts and preventing himself from getting into pitcher's counts. In fact, at the time he was the best on the team in that regard (Scott Hatteberg was 2nd best).

As jojo has stated, Dunn's problem with the strikeouts is his contact deficiency, and it gets him into trouble very often with two strikes. While some better contact hitters with two strikes may be more adept at fouling off a "pitcher's pitch" in order to see another pitch, Dunn's deficiency has him swinging and missing more.

I know people hate Barry Bonds for obvious reasons, but I've always deferred to him quite a bit when it comes to plate discipline, what pitches to swing at, what pitches to take, etc. He's by far the best hitter I've ever seen, he has by far the best plate discipline I've ever seen, and he knows (or knew?) exactly what he was doing at the plate.

Bonds' ability to A) recognize HIS pitch, and B) crush HIS pitch was unreal. Likewise, his ability to A) recognize what was NOT his pitch, and B) not swing at what was NOT his pitch was also unreal. More than anything, I think this is what helped him become the hitter he was over his career.

I've seen various interviews with Bonds when he discusses hitting, and he readily admits there are spots in the strike zone where you can get him out almost every time. He knows where those spots are, and he can identify pitches that are going to hit those spots better than any other hitter alive. The problem for opposing pitchers - and another part of why Bonds was so unreal - was if you missed that spot by two inches then he'd simply crush that pitch.

Now with Dunn, I'm not sure if he'll ever be able to solve his contact deficiency issues. Or, a better way to phrase it is I'm not sure he'll ever solve those issues without eliminating a major part of his game (and thus becoming a lesser offensive force). I think all hitters, Dunn included, can make improvements on being able to identify pitches (is it mine? or is it not mine) and then following through with crushing their pitches everytime they see their pitch.

That much being said, I believe Dunn already does the above better than the bulk of MLB hitters out there. He just doesn't do it as well as Bonds did, or as well as Frank Thomas did, etc.

Screwball
03-19-2008, 03:35 PM
Unless you understand WHY Dunn isn't swinging at those pitches, prescribing a solution doesn't make much sense.

My guess would be Dunn sometimes goes to the plate expecting a certain pitch. When you're looking for a curve and get the FB down broadway, it can be tough to react and still pull the trigger. Or if you're expecting the heat and the pitcher hangs a curve, it can be tough to adjust your timing and put a good swing on the ball. To fans it might look like "What the hell is he waiting on?", when in reality the pitcher just fooled him, throwing a pitch Dunn wasn't expecting to see.

RANDY IN INDY
03-19-2008, 03:36 PM
Fine. We can all agree that Dunn should swing at any pitch he can drive. We can all agree that are some pitches earlier in the count which he has not swung at in the past. That could be said about every single hitter in professional baseball. Unless you understand WHY Dunn isn't swinging at those pitches, prescribing a solution doesn't make much sense.

Neither does ignoring it and saying that he should not change any of his approach that just might need to be improved. I don't think you understand why Dunn is not swinging at those pitches, either, but nevertheless, you agree that he should swing at any pitch that he can drive. He has acknowledged that he knows this is the case and that he does, in fact, let a lot of very hittable pitches go by early in counts that he feels that he should be driving. It is a work in progress. Why be critical of Dusty Baker or anyone else in asking Dunn and Votto to do things that you believe that they should do? If you want to stick your head in the sand and say that Dunn or any other hitter can't improve on their approach and get better, then I don't know what to tell you, Rick.

Raisor
03-19-2008, 03:37 PM
I really am not comparing Adam Dunn to other hitters. I am looking at his performance, his strengths and weaknesses, listening to what he himself has said about hitting more good pitches earlier in counts and how he might be able to improve on his approach to get even better and be more productive, based on what I am seeing. Not really worried about other hitters. More concerned with Adam Dunn.

How can you know how Dunn is doing, except compared to other players.

A batter hitting .300 means nothing unless we can put that in context.

RANDY IN INDY
03-19-2008, 03:37 PM
http://www.baseball-reference.com/d/dunnad01.shtml

Look under "Pitch Data Summary"

Thanks, jojo.:thumbup:

RANDY IN INDY
03-19-2008, 03:40 PM
How can you know how Dunn is doing, except compared to other players.

A batter hitting .300 means nothing unless we can put that in context.

Just the coaching side of me seeing things on an individual basis. No two hitters are exactly the same. They are all individuals. Dunn may never be able to do the things that will make him drive those balls early in the count, and I have acknowledged that but I am not going to stick my head in the sand and simply say that he is just perfect as is and cannot improve upon his approach and production.

Raisor
03-19-2008, 03:44 PM
Just the coaching side of me seeing things on an individual basis. No two hitters are exactly the same. They are all individuals. Dunn may never be able to do the things that will make him drive those balls early in the count, and I have acknowledged that but I am not going to stick my head in the sand and simply say that he is just perfect as is and cannot improve upon his approach and production.

and I'm saying, even if he DOESN'T improve, what we get is just fine and dandy.

If there's a chance that changing his approach will damage what he already is, I'd rather he not change.

RedsManRick
03-19-2008, 03:47 PM
Neither does ignoring it and saying that he should not change any of his approach that just might need to be improved. I don't think you understand why Dunn is not swinging at those pitches, either, but nevertheless, you agree that he should swing at any pitch that he can drive. He has acknowledged that he knows this is the case and that he does, in fact, let a lot of very hittable pitches go by early in counts that he feels that he should be driving. It is a work in progress. Why be critical of Dusty Baker or anyone else in asking Dunn and Votto to do things that you believe that they should do? If you want to stick your head in the sand and say that Dunn or any other hitter can't improve on their approach and get better, then I don't know what to tell you, Rick.

I'm saying that we have an extremely productive hitter on our hands and unless I have a very clear reason to make a change in his approach, I'm going to let him continue to be productive.

Maybe this is semantics, but Dusty has suggested that Dunn & Votto need to be more aggressive early in the count. This suggests that Dunn is choosing to let those good pitches go. He's never admitting to choosing to watch pitches that he knows are good -- just that there are good pitches he didn't swing at. If Dunn can choose to swing when he sees those pitches, great. But if he just starts swinging more early in the account across the board in order to avoid watching that occasional good pitch, that is not a positive development.

I guess we'll see how it plays out.

It's funny to me that Dusty seems quite focused on altering the approach of our most productive hitter, and has no comment on some other guys who have major problems -- such as Brandon Phillips' habit of grounding in to double plays.

I understand that given your background, you likely have recommendations for every player on how they could become more productive. I just find it extremely curious that Dusty feels the need to particularly focus on squeezing a little bit more production out of our best hitter and so little (by comparison) on getting more production from guys not pulling their weight or with more room to grow.

RANDY IN INDY
03-19-2008, 04:01 PM
Do we know that Dusty is not trying to get more out of the other guys? Truth is, Dunn is the lightning rod, and any suggested change usually results in exactly what we have witnessed in this thread. Votto, being the young phenom will also get people riled up when change might be suggested and we haven't even begun to talk about Jay Bruce. I'm hoping that his holes are few and far between.;)

SteelSD
03-19-2008, 08:10 PM
I don't think you understand why Dunn is not swinging at those pitches, either, but nevertheless, you agree that he should swing at any pitch that he can drive.

That's a completely unrealistic expectation because it doesn't take into account that the hitter may not feel a certain way about a pitch in real-time. The decision to swing is made in fractions of a second. Nobody's perfect. No one. And frankly, even when a hitter understands that he maybe should have swung, that's simply a retrospective.

But the hitter didn't swing. Why? Because he didn't identify it as a hittable pitch when he had a chance to. No hitter is just going to sit there and intentionally choose to let easily-identified meatballs fly by him. And Dunn doesn't. Never has.

Afterwards, comments about "should have swung" are just the hitter second-guessing himself the same way you're second-guessing the hitter (and yeah, that's a pretty good example how you're one of "you guys").

The data on Dunn's behavior simply doesn't match what you think you've seen. We can't wipe that away by suggesting you're only concerned with the "individual" because we can't possibly understand what's reasonable for the individual without a comparative analysis. jojo provided that.

RANDY IN INDY
03-19-2008, 08:17 PM
We'll just have to disagree.

SteelSD
03-19-2008, 11:32 PM
We'll just have to disagree.

On what?

The fact that Dunn was aggressive enough to end 26.4% of his AB in the first two pitches last season?

That Dunn's early-count success might actually be a product of a solid approach rather than an indicator that he should swing at more pitches early?

jojo's excellent research that shows us Dunn's issue is actually pitch contact rather than recognition and that Dunn doesn't actually look at a high percentage of third strikes versus his peer group?

That not swinging at pitches is far more likely a result of either being fooled or not liking a pitch than it is a result of willfully choosing to let a crushable pitch go by?

That you're one of "you guys" because you're second-guessing a MLB hitter's judgment even though you've never played the game at that level? Considering your position that non-professionals shouldn't critique a Manager's decisions, that seems like a bit of a double-standard, doesn't it?

Sorry, Randy, but you know that my position on Dunn's approach has always been that he's aggressive enough early in the count, doesn't just let a large percentage of big fat hittable pitches go by due to choice, and that his issues have been contact related rather than pitch selection issues. jojo's research, coupled with my own, has now confirmed that position in ways you're probably not ready to understand.

That's similar to the 2007 post-All Star Break confirmation of my long-held position that Dunn's BA and OBP would improve due to a suppression of AB created by Dunn translating Outs (particularly Strikeouts) into Walks rather than an increase in Base Hits. In Dunn's games post-ASB, he actually produced a nearly identical number of Hits per Game (0.89) versus pre-ASB (0.92). Yet his BA went from .258 pre-ASB to .273 post-ASB. And that BA increase wasn't due to an increase in HR rate as his 2nd half HR rate was actually slightly lower than his 1st half rate. His OBP increased from .356 to .425. In short, Dunn's second half of 2007 is an extreme example of how a hitter of Dunn's type improves by being more patient and selective rather than less.

We've revisited this discussion over multiple seasons, but I've yet to see any objective data that supports your position on Adam Dunn's approach. Please understand that I don't feel that invalidates your opinions about the approaches of other hitters, but it's pretty clear you've been mistaken about Dunn.

Ltlabner
03-20-2008, 07:05 AM
jojo's research, coupled with my own, has now confirmed that position in ways you're probably not ready to understand.

:rolleyes:

Shame too. It was a really good post.

GAC
03-20-2008, 10:29 AM
are they doing it any more then any other team?


He doesn't do that anymore than anyone else.

Why should that matter?

Falls City Beer
03-20-2008, 10:41 AM
Why should that matter?

It matters because one has to ask himself: if it doesn't "hurt" others, is it really "hurting" the Reds?

Further, would "changing" what hitters do actually hurt worse?

jojo
03-20-2008, 10:53 AM
Why should that matter? If it's bad, or something that is correctable, then who cares how many times another team or player is also doing it?

I think the point was that since it's not unusual, maybe we should reconsider whether it's really a problem. In essence, maybe its a "value neutral" phenomenon rather than "bad" and thus "needs correcting". In the very least, it's not an aspect of his game that seems to be a disadvantage relative to the league.

In other words, it's kind of like selecting for fast growing livestock. You'll be unintentionally selecting for a whole set of genes that are unrelated to rapid growth too (i.e. maybe coat color). In this case, when looking at a group of players that see similar numbers of pitches per plate appearance as Dunn does, it seems 28% of their strike outs come from being caught looking. It might just be an artifact of having a good eye and might not not be "bad" any more than having red fur effects the cost savings associated with getting animals to market quicker. Possibly, focusing on this issue and trying to change Dunn might actually cause damage (like wigging out about red steers might actually lead to smaller steers).

The 48 players looked at above isn't the absolute final word (and isn't enough to support the analogy in this post), but for the issue with Dunn's SOL numbers, it's cause for pause concerning the notion he's got a problem with laying off pitches he could drive.

lollipopcurve
03-20-2008, 11:15 AM
In Dunn's games post-ASB, he actually produced a nearly identical number of Hits per Game (0.89) versus pre-ASB (0.92). Yet his BA went from .258 pre-ASB to .273 post-ASB. And that BA increase wasn't due to an increase in HR rate as his 2nd half HR rate was actually slightly lower than his 1st half rate. His OBP increased from .356 to .425. In short, Dunn's second half of 2007 is an extreme example of how a hitter of Dunn's type improves by being more patient and selective rather than less.

I'm guessing it was not simply a matter of being more selective. If you look at Dunn's hit charts for 2006 and 2007 (GAB only), you'll see that he had many more hits to center and left-center in 07 than he did in 08. Watching the games, you could see that he began using a shorter swing, most notably in two-strike counts, looking to stay alive and use the whole field. The decrease in Ks may have had something to do with that -- fouling off pitcher's pitches or putting them in play with 2 strikes -- as well as with his laying off bad pitches he may have fanned on using his old approach.

I imagine the pitch data could better sort out Dunn's second-half changes, but I am quite certain we saw a change beyond simply "increased selectivity" -- it involved what he was doing when he was swinging, too.

RANDY IN INDY
03-20-2008, 11:40 AM
That you're one of "you guys" because you're second-guessing a MLB hitter's judgment even though you've never played the game at that level? Considering your position that non-professionals shouldn't critique a Manager's decisions, that seems like a bit of a double-standard, doesn't it?

Not really, considering that Dunn has stated on several occasions that he knows that he needs to recognize and hit some of the pitches that he lets go by, early in counts. I am only suggesting something that he knows to be true, and is probably making efforts to get better at. Do you know, better than him?


Sorry, Randy, but you know that my position on Dunn's approach has always been that he's aggressive enough early in the count, doesn't just let a large percentage of big fat hittable pitches go by due to choice, and that his issues have been contact related rather than pitch selection issues. jojo's research, coupled with my own, has now confirmed that position in ways you're probably not ready to understand.

And, you know my position that I believe he can benefit from hitting some of the pitches that he lets go by, early in counts. From the things I have heard him say, I think he believes that, as well. Want to compare? I know that "you guys" like to. Well, kind of like Bonds has benefited from that type of pitch recognition during his career. As I have said earlier, he may never reach that type of level of pitch recognition, but it certainly wouldn't hurt him if he ever was able to achieve it.

I have never said that Dunn wasn't a good player, as is, but I still don't think that I am wrong in thinking that he can benefit by recognizing pitches early in counts and making pitchers pay for getting in his zone, more often. There is nothing negative about that, other than the negative "what if's" that "you guys" keep spewing about how recognizing and driving pitches in his zone, early in counts, will negatively affect his production. Sorry, but none of the "what if's" that you guys can produce about him ruining his approach by driving hittable pitches early will make me think differently. They are only "what if"s." A hitter cannot go to the plate with an attitude other than wanting to get a good pitch to drive and doing it. That's why they take the bat to the plate, and should always be paramount in their thinking. If you are not looking to hit, as a hitter, you won't. Nothing wrong with taking a walk and I have never said that there is, but I have not seen many good hitters that go to the plate, looking to draw a walk.(although there are pitch counts and situations where you may want to make pitchers bear down a little more) Good pitchers feast on that attitude and exploit it. When you get a good pitch in the zone to hit, you better be ready to hit it. They don't come that often, and if you take them and get down, you will see a lot of pitchers pitches.

Is Dunn a good player. Absolutely. I've never said otherwise. Do I think he can improve by doing the thing that both he and I have suggested? You bet.

RANDY IN INDY
03-20-2008, 11:45 AM
And, I fully recognize that we will never agree on this subject, so I will not waste any more of your or my time.

Have a good one, steel. Always a pleasure.:beerme:

Raisor
03-20-2008, 11:49 AM
Why should that matter?

Because ML hitters don't live in a vacuum.

REDREAD
03-20-2008, 11:57 AM
I've found it kinda odd that he'll make a point to note how good it is that one of his pitchers didn't walk anybody, yet comes across in other quotes as seemingly displeased with walks from his hitters. So are walks good or bad, Dusty?


I guess I never took it that way. I think what Dusty was trying to say is that you don't want your big hitters coming up "looking for the walk". An example is the many times that Dunn will take a strike on a 3-1, 3-2 count that is hittable. Especially pitches that are so close on 3-2, that he should at least be protecting the plate.

We've all seen how pitchers pitch Dunn with men on base. They nibble, knowing darn well that they have a high probablity of either getting the K or just walking him (and often getting an easier hitting up next).

This is different than saying walks are useless.

Dusty also got criticized for basically saying that there's more to a good leadoff man than just OBP. That point is more controversial, but I can see his point. For example, Deion Sanders had a poor OBP, but was a great basestealer. So, there's a balance here. Is it better to have a fast guy get a single and steal 2nd once OR is it better to have a slow guy reach 1st base twice.
I'm sure there's statistical stuff that has worked out "The answer" based on assumptions, but in reality, it depends on the team and situation. It can't be overgeneralized.
Again, that's different from saying "walks are useless".

jojo
03-20-2008, 12:38 PM
Sorry, but none of the "what if's" that you guys can produce about him ruining his approach by driving hittable pitches early will make me think differently.

Isn't the issue at hand, whether he actually is consistently failing to capitalize on hittable pitches early in the count? To suggest he could improve by driving more pitches early in counts seems to be begging the question.....

RedsManRick
03-20-2008, 01:02 PM
Randy, what I don't understand is how you equate developing his pitch recognition ability with a choice to swing. Sure, Dunn could benefit from improved pitch recognition, which would in turn result in him swinging at more of the good pitches thrown his way. Name me a player who couldn't benefit from that. It's akin to saying "Dunn would be a better hitter if he were a better hitter." Wow, thanks for the insight. The question only matters when you have reason to believe it's actually something he CAN improve at through some specific change in his training or approach.

If this was just about pitch recognition, Dusty would have said as much. He would have said "Dunn needs to do better at realizing when there's a good pitch to hit" rather than "Dunn needs to be more aggressive early in the count". Dusty clearly sees Dunn as a guy who goes up there with an approach that includes willfully watching good pitches go by early in the count in hopes of getting either a better pitch or getting a walk. He wants Dunn to choose to swing at those pitches instead of choosing to not swing at them. It's not that he wants Dunn to swing at bad pitches; It's that he (mistakenly) thinks Dunn is letting good pitches go by on purpose.

Despite how often you assert it, none of us are arguing that Dunn driving more hittable pitches would be a bad thing. We take issue with the idea that he is somehow deficient in pitch recognition and/or that it's something he's going to be able to improve upon. We assert that if he could recognize those early count good pitches he current takes from time to time, he wouldn't be taking them in the first place. That he realizes after an at bat that he watched a good pitch go by doesn't mean he recognized it as such in time to swing. What makes Dunn such a great hitter is that he doesn't swing at crap. He strikes out so much because he has trouble making contact when he does choose to swing. I would argue he's already following an approach that maximizes his strengths and minimizes his weakness. For a guy who has problems making contact, he better only swing at the stuff he's sure he can hit.

Changing when Dunn chooses to swing is not the answer. He already has an approach which includes swinging when he recognizes a good pitch to hit. The trick is getting him to recognize good pitches more often. And unless you have an actual recommendation on how he does that, I don't see what else there is to say. Discussing random things which players could do to be more productive leads us down a road of Ryan Freel hitting for power, Bronson Arroyo throwing 5 mph faster, Todd Coffey not hanging anything, and Ken Griffey keepings his muscles in tact.

Again, it all goes back to whether Dunn is choosing to let pitches which he knows are good (in time to hit them) go by on purpose, or not. Without that, we're chasing our tails.

RANDY IN INDY
03-20-2008, 02:02 PM
Now, I think you're mincing words. Guys, I think we are at a standstill of opinion that is not going to change. I appreciate the discussion and respect your opinions, even when I don't agree with them. A lot of thought goes into these discussions and that is never a bad thing.

GAC
03-20-2008, 09:26 PM
Possibly, focusing on this issue and trying to change Dunn might actually cause damage

Or it might bring improvement in an area of the game that Dunn himself acknowledges. Players are, or should, be constantly looking to analyze and improve their game.

jojo
03-20-2008, 09:36 PM
Or it might bring improvement in an area of the game that Dunn himself acknowledges. Players are, or should, be constantly looking to analyze and improve their game.

I agree. But shouldn't they focus on areas that actually are weaknesses when they're deciding what to change?

SteelSD
03-20-2008, 11:58 PM
Despite how often you assert it, none of us are arguing that Dunn driving more hittable pitches would be a bad thing. We take issue with the idea that he is somehow deficient in pitch recognition and/or that it's something he's going to be able to improve upon. We assert that if he could recognize those early count good pitches he current takes from time to time, he wouldn't be taking them in the first place. That he realizes after an at bat that he watched a good pitch go by doesn't mean he recognized it as such in time to swing. What makes Dunn such a great hitter is that he doesn't swing at crap. He strikes out so much because he has trouble making contact when he does choose to swing. I would argue he's already following an approach that maximizes his strengths and minimizes his weakness. For a guy who has problems making contact, he better only swing at the stuff he's sure he can hit.

Exactly times infinity. Dunn's performance actually tells us that he's out there looking for pitches to drive early in the count and when he gets them, he's crushing them.

Count 0-0: 1.334 OPS (.919 SLG)
Count 1-0: 0.981 OPS (.639 SLG)
Count 0-1: 1.263 OPS (.800 SLG)

That's his performance over 26.4% of his 2007 AB. 37.5% of Dunn's 2007 HR were a result of his early-count pitch recognition. When a player is finishing over one quarter of his AB in the first two pitches and then is smoking 37.5% of his HR in the first two pitches, then I simply don't see how he can get much better at all via improved early-count "aggression". The opportunity really isn't there, despite protests to the contrary and especially when we understand that all hitters don't fit the same template. He's being exactly as selective as he needs to be and certainly doesn't look like he's simply choosing in real-time to let a goodly number of meatballs go by in order to work himself deeper into counts. In fact, the idea that a hitter won't swing at crushable pitches he can easily identify in real-time is beyond ludicrous.

Instead, Dunn is hitting what he likes and laying off what he doesn't like or is fooled on early in the count. That's Ted Williams' hitting theory in practice. And if lollipopcurve's observation about Dunn shortening his swing in two-strike counts is accurate, then we've got a full buy-in from Dunn for the Williams' philosophy.

Early on, wait for a pitch to drive. Make the pitcher come to you. Understand that all strikes aren't pitches you should swing at. If you're fooled, don't swing. With two strikes, abandon the Home Run and stay alive. It may be a bit prettier when a high-contact hitter implements that theory. Dunn is not a high-contact hitter, so it's ugly sometimes. But that's all about aesthetics rather than performance.

Baker's completely wrong on early-count aggression for hitters like Dunn (and Votto). We shouldn't need to see folks translating for him about what he "really" meant. Surely, we should expect a MLB Manager to be clear when he speaks.

Adam Dunn. Monster in the second half of 2007. Had nothing to do with Hits. Had everything to do with turning Outs into Walks. Why folks don't understand that is beyond my comprehension.

SteelSD
03-21-2008, 12:25 AM
Or it might bring improvement in an area of the game that Dunn himself acknowledges. Players are, or should, be constantly looking to analyze and improve their game.

We first need to realize that players don't necessarily understand their own strengths and weaknesses. Often their idea of a "weakness" is reliant on what others are telling them or some pre-conceived notion.

Ryan Howard doesn't care about Strikeouts. He just doesn't care, and rightly so. Yet Adam Dunn still cares to the point where he made the following comments on 3/12/08:

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080312&content_id=2421397&vkey=news_cin&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

I think I can improve by getting back to basics. For example, strikeouts have been an issue for the past four or five years, but I didn't have a problem with strikeouts in the Minors. It's been frustrating experience. I cut down on strikeouts last season, and there's still plenty of room to cut down some more.

Dunn's best OPS season (2004) coincides with his setting the MLB Strikeout record for a Hitter. We know that K's dont' matter. We know this. And yet, three years later you have a guy concerned about Strikeouts. That's a culture issue. Someone needs to tell Dunn that K's don't matter. Will anyone in the current Reds' organization do that? Not bloody likely. Instead, they'll tell him that he needs to more "aggressive".

Dunn's spent years getting bad coaching and his own words are evidence of that.

GAC
03-21-2008, 05:40 AM
I agree. But shouldn't they focus on areas that actually are weaknesses when they're deciding what to change?

What would those be with Dunn then, from an offensive standpoint, if any? Because from what I have heard (and read) on this forum for the last few years is that he doesn't have any. Or, those "weaknesses" he does (or may) have, aren't or may not be correctable. Or that there is this "fear" that "if it ain't broke don't mess with it" because you might make it worse.

That is possibly true.

From an offensive standpoint, every ballplayer has what we would call "weaknesses". Even the best have them. Some are not correctable, but are simply inherent due to physical abilities. Such as possessing speed or a lack in the ability to hit for power. With me, it has always been about being about to capitalize, improve on, and get the most out of those abilities that you possess, and not the ones you don't.

Regardless of what comparison statistics (with other players) may say, they can still be seen or classified as weaknesses, even when it's shown to be a "league average".

Now I havent read this entire thread. It's been a solid discussion with very valid pints on both sides.

I agree with what Randy was putting forth, from a philosophical standpoint, very much.

I've never been in the "camp" with those that say Dunn Ks too much. Nor has my "beef" with Dunn been about called 3rd strikes. As the James article you posted earlier states, if there is any problem with Dunn it's with the pitches he misses.

If the game is televised, then I'm watching it. If FoxSportsOhio televised 140 games, then I bet I didn't miss a handful per season. I can't post any studies or statistical data to back up what I am about to say because it comes simply from observation. But when it comes to the issue of the pitches Dunn misses, and I'm referring to those 3rd strikes, I believe, and I've stated this before...

I believe Adam Dunn posses excellent plate discipline, a keen "batting eye", and pitch recognition. But does anyone on here believe that a player can be too selective? I believe that is a habit that Adam Dunn has developed in waiting for that perfect pitch. He places himself behind in the count, which also places him at the mercy of that pitcher who studies batters, just like a batter studies pitchers, and whose objective, unless he makes a mistake, is not to give that batter that pitch.

Now someone may be able to come on here and show me league studies/stats where even in those situations Dunn only does that 25% of the time in those situations. It doesn't matter to me. I'm not saying it is a monumental or glaring problem. But it is still a "weakness".

And then a bigger question then comes to mind.... is it a correctable weakness (one that can be addressed)?

With a Tony Womack, a Corey Patterson, and a host of other players we might list, we could say easily "No". :lol:

But with a player as talented as Adam Dunn, I simply think it is. And I don't think it would prove to be a detriment to his overall offensive game.

jojo
03-21-2008, 07:38 AM
What would those be with Dunn then, from an offensive standpoint, if any? Because from what I have heard (and read) on this forum for the last few years is that he doesn't have any. Or, those "weaknesses" he does (or may) have, aren't or may not be correctable. Or that there is this "fear" that "if it ain't broke don't mess with it" because you might make it worse.

That is possibly true.

From an offensive standpoint, every ballplayer has what we would call "weaknesses". Even the best have them. Some are not correctable, but are simply inherent due to physical abilities. Such as possessing speed or a lack in the ability to hit for power. With me, it has always been about being about to capitalize, improve on, and get the most out of those abilities that you possess, and not the ones you don't.

Regardless of what comparison statistics (with other players) may say, they can still be seen or classified as weaknesses, even when it's shown to be a "league average".

Now I havent read this entire thread. It's been a solid discussion with very valid pints on both sides.

I agree with what Randy was putting forth, from a philosophical standpoint, very much.

I've never been in the "camp" with those that say Dunn Ks too much. Nor has my "beef" with Dunn been about called 3rd strikes. As the James article you posted earlier states, if there is any problem with Dunn it's with the pitches he misses.

If the game is televised, then I'm watching it. If FoxSportsOhio televised 140 games, then I bet I didn't miss a handful per season. I can't post any studies or statistical data to back up what I am about to say because it comes simply from observation. But when it comes to the issue of the pitches Dunn misses, and I'm referring to those 3rd strikes, I believe, and I've stated this before...

I believe Adam Dunn posses excellent plate discipline, a keen "batting eye", and pitch recognition. But does anyone on here believe that a player can be too selective? I believe that is a habit that Adam Dunn has developed in waiting for that perfect pitch. He places himself behind in the count, which also places him at the mercy of that pitcher who studies batters, just like a batter studies pitchers, and whose objective, unless he makes a mistake, is not to give that batter that pitch.

Now someone may be able to come on here and show me league studies/stats where even in those situations Dunn only does that 25% of the time in those situations. It doesn't matter to me. I'm not saying it is a monumental or glaring problem. But it is still a "weakness".

And then a bigger question then comes to mind.... is it a correctable weakness (one that can be addressed)?

With a Tony Womack, a Corey Patterson, and a host of other players we might list, we could say easily "No". :lol:

But with a player as talented as Adam Dunn, I simply think it is. And I don't think it would prove to be a detriment to his overall offensive game.

Here's what I'd do. Rather than have a hitting coach with a little over a year and a half on the job (in the majors) start experimenting with one of my best hitters (who's 28 BTW), I'd consider what his strengths and weaknesses are and utilize him in a way that maximizes what I got out of him. His defense sucks and will always be a drag on his production and at his age, it's not a prime target for improvement. His value is driven entirely by his bat.

For Dunn, I'd put the guy with the highest OBP in the lead off spot and move Dunn to the two hole. That would give him roughly 60 additional PA's versus the #5 hole, allow him to bat with men on while also leveraging his on base skills for the #3 and 4 hitters. I'd even consider batting the pitcher 8th because leveraging your best hitter is that important IMHO. When the Reds hit the 8th with a lead, I'd replace Dunn for a better defender to minimize the drag his defense represents.

Why not try to squeeze as much out of Dunn via the way you use him before asking him to start a big experiment (with uncertain returns) that would last well into the season at a time the Reds need a big season out of him more than ever? I think this is especially so when Dusty hasn't even correctly identified the "problem" Dunn needs to work on....

Raisor
03-21-2008, 08:48 AM
I think Dunn's biggest problem is that he started in the league at about the same time as Albert Pujols.

RedsManRick
03-21-2008, 09:03 AM
[QUOTE=GAC;1577036]I believe Adam Dunn posses excellent plate discipline, a keen "batting eye", and pitch recognition. But does anyone on here believe that a player can be too selective? I believe that is a habit that Adam Dunn has developed in waiting for that perfect pitch. He places himself behind in the count, which also places him at the mercy of that pitcher who studies batters, just like a batter studies pitchers, and whose objective, unless he makes a mistake, is not to give that batter that pitch./QUOTE]

And isn't it possible that every additional pitch at which Adam swings, his contact rate goes down even more? And because he's already swinging at the pitches he recognizes as good & drivable, now he has to start guessing. More swings at less recognized, often worse pitches from a guy who has trouble making contact. Now THAT is a recipe for getting behind in the count.

IF Dunn is able to increase his ability to recognize pitches and therefore sees more pitches he feels comfortable swinging at, then that would be a good thing. But absent that, merely becoming less selective will simply result in more foul balls, swinging strikes, and weak (not-hit) balls in play, with the occasional hit thrown in. That is not a recipe for a more productive hitter.

Again, it comes back not to choice (unless people honestly believe Dunn is choosing to watch pitches he knows he can crush), but to Dunn's ability to recognize pitches and the specific set of pitches Dunn is able to hit. Every player has weaknesses. Some can be fixed/improved. I don't know why some people are so worried about fixing Dunn's when he's the most productive guy already -- and at 28, isn't terribly likely to start improving on something he's supposedly been trying to "fix" his whole major league career.

If we're going to go down the "everybody can improve at something" road, there are a dozen other batters on the team with more room to grow -- we'd be wise to focus on efforts on them and let Dunn go out there and continue his HoF worthy offensive pace.

GAC
03-21-2008, 10:54 AM
And isn't it possible that every additional pitch at which Adam swings, his contact rate goes down even more? And because he's already swinging at the pitches he recognizes as good & drivable, now he has to start guessing.

Who said anything about guessing? I'm not asking him to guess. To say that would also imply that he isn't either aware, or have the ability of pitch recognition. I think we all agree that he does.

And besides - any thing we say or discuss on this forum are simply observations. It's not like they are going to become a reality. Unless somebody gets hired onto this coaching staff. ;)


More swings at less recognized, often worse pitches from a guy who has trouble making contact. Now THAT is a recipe for getting behind in the count.

Again, I'm not asking him to swing at unrecognized pitches. I'm not even overly considered about him trying to make more contact just for the sake of doing so. I simply believe that the guy is being too selective, at times, on recognized pitches in the heart of the strike zone because he has become too selective in looking for HIS "perfect" pitch. I won't even presume to know what is going on in his mind when he enters that batter's box.

Just an observation.


IF Dunn is able to increase his ability to recognize pitches and therefore sees more pitches he feels comfortable swinging at, then that would be a good thing.

That is all I am saying or suggesting.


Again, it comes back not to choice (unless people honestly believe Dunn is choosing to watch pitches he knows he can crush), but to Dunn's ability to recognize pitches and the specific set of pitches Dunn is able to hit.

Should you mindset ONLY BE looking for pitches you can crush? You're not always going to be be given those pitches. I hope that is not the limited mindset of even an Adam Dunn when he enters that batter box, but both (above) that you list.


If we're going to go down the "everybody can improve at something" road, there are a dozen other batters on the team with more room to grow

True. And I hope those players are. But that shouldn't exclude an Adam Dunn from consistently working to try and improve on his game, regardless of how solid it currently is. I don't think that what I am suggesting is a drastic change.

Raisor
03-21-2008, 10:57 AM
True. And I hope those players are. But that shouldn't exclude an Adam Dunn from consistently working to try and improve on his game, regardless of how solid it currently is. I don't think that what I am suggesting is a drastic change.



The problem is, when coaches try to "improve" Dunn, he seems to slump...badly.

It's when he goes back to being "Dunn" that his numbers go back to normal.

westofyou
03-21-2008, 11:07 AM
Speaking of adjustments:

According to the Bill James Goldmine book, Corey Patterson has drastically dropped his swing and miss rate and K's the last two seasons. (page 27)

Swings and Misses dropped 18% in 06, 11% in 07

Strikeouts declined 23% in 06 and 31% in 07

In 2004 he K'd once every 3.7 AB's and last year once every 7 AB's

Spring~Fields
03-21-2008, 02:56 PM
The problem is, when coaches try to "improve" Dunn, he seems to slump...badly.

It's when he goes back to being "Dunn" that his numbers go back to normal.

I wish the hitting gurus would leave him alone.

Put him in front of Griffey then see if the pitchers pitch around him to face Griffey or if Dunn gets better pitches to drive for a season, I would like to see those numbers from such an experiment.

Chip R
03-21-2008, 04:33 PM
I wish the hitting gurus would leave him alone.

Put him in front of Griffey then see if the pitchers pitch around him to face Griffey or if Dunn gets better pitches to drive for a season, I would like to see those numbers from such an experiment.


That's just crazy talk. ;)

gm
03-21-2008, 05:44 PM
Iím fascinated by guys who walk this little, I canít tell you why. Thereís something about that persona, that, ďI donít care what this pitcher throws, Iím swatting,Ē attitude that entertains me. Kendrick has walked 18 times in 646 major league PAs...When he finally did walk, someone set off fireworks at Kauffman Stadium. Seriously. I still find that amusing.

"Swing away, Merrill"

"It just felt right to swing"

RedlegJake
03-21-2008, 09:55 PM
Speaking of adjustments:

According to the Bill James Goldmine book, Corey Patterson has drastically dropped his swing and miss rate and K's the last two seasons. (page 27)

Swings and Misses dropped 18% in 06, 11% in 07

Strikeouts declined 23% in 06 and 31% in 07

In 2004 he K'd once every 3.7 AB's and last year once every 7 AB's

I just wish that presaged Corey taking a walk once awhile - then we might see a very valuable balplayer emerge from that 'potential' label he's lived with forever.

GAC
03-21-2008, 11:46 PM
Put him in front of Griffey then see if the pitchers pitch around him to face Griffey or if Dunn gets better pitches to drive for a season, I would like to see those numbers from such an experiment.

And that is another important issue with Dunn - where to bat him? Find a home for him Dusty, and I like the #2 spot, and leave him there.

redsmetz
03-23-2008, 07:03 AM
From today's Columbus Dispatch:


Baker back on beam
Young Reds have manager upbeat after reputation took a hit with Cubs
Sunday, March 23, 2008 3:15 AM
By Scott Priestle
The Columbus Dispatch
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The day before he reported to spring training, new Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker got a different cell phone number. His previous number had a Chicago area code, a vestige of his four years spent managing the Cubs. As such, he was not sad to see it go.

"That was the last drop of Chicago," he said with a smile.

If only it were so simple.

Baker's reputation and ego were severely bruised during his final two years with the Cubs, and the wounds linger, in some ways obscuring his considerable success the previous 12 seasons with the Cubs and San Francisco Giants.

Fair or not, Baker absorbed considerable blame for the stunted development of some of the Cubs' best prospects, and he was lampooned as a dinosaur, beholden to old ideals despite mounting evidence of their inefficiency. His stated belief that walks merely "clog up the bases" made him an easy target for statistically inclined analysts who have researched and demonstrated the value of a high on-base percentage.

The Cubs slipped to 66-96 in 2006, and Baker said he felt "bombarded by negatives." He spent last season as an analyst for ESPN and said he would have been happy to spend another year away from the dugout, reading, fishing, hunting turkey and spending time with his wife and children.

"I needed that time to rebuild myself," he said. "They beat me up pretty good. I allowed it to happen. No more. Never again."

Reds owner Bob Castellini and general manager Wayne Krivsky spent months wooing him before he signed a three-year contract worth a reported $10.5 million.

The $3.5 million annual salary is about six times what the Reds paid his predecessor, Jerry Narron.

Baker's past sins -- real or imagined -- have been rehashed this spring in articles in The Sporting News, Baseball Prospectus and sportsillustrated.com. But his reputation among players remains so strong that Ken Griffey Jr. said he fielded numerous calls this winter from free agents who expressed an interest in signing with the Reds.

Corey Patterson played for Baker in Chicago and signed with the Reds in part because of the opportunity to play for him again.

"I know he's in my corner," Patterson said. "I've got a lot of respect for him, and I know he has a lot of respect for me. He's great at communicating. Ask anybody in this clubhouse. Anybody who has played for him will tell you the same thing."

Baker heads an organization full of young talent and a big-league team that is somewhere between a contender and a rebuilding project. There is room to improve or regress, and whichever way the club goes, his reputation will follow.

If the Reds are able to push for a playoff spot the next three seasons, it should validate Baker's success in San Francisco and Chicago. If the Reds' young players fail to develop, it likely will reinforce his more-recent image.

Baker said he has been energized by the experience so far.

"You ask my wife, ask anybody who knows me -- this is the kind of team I always coveted," he said. "A young team with talent that has the ability to learn and the ability to retain it, that's what makes teaching fun."

GAC
03-23-2008, 07:18 AM
Haven't played a game yet, but I'm sensing good things...

I had the same feeling. Then my Dr said it was due to a bladder infection, and put me on antibiotics Wheels. :p:

We'll see about Dusty. It's not like any of us can do anything about it other then give the guy a chance and see what he does. Which I am willing to do regardless of my initial, hard stance on the guy. I still don't care for him though, and count me a skeptic, mainly because I want to see how he handles the youth and developmental process required.

The fact that he handles the press well, and may be a good communicator doesn't impress me at this stage of the game.

The Columbus Dispatch article, posted above by redsmetz, touched the points of skepticism I have.

jojo
03-23-2008, 09:11 AM
Baker's past sins -- real or imagined -- have been rehashed this spring in articles in The Sporting News, Baseball Prospectus and sportsillustrated.com. But his reputation among players remains so strong that Ken Griffey Jr. said he fielded numerous calls this winter from free agents who expressed an interest in signing with the Reds.

So what did Jr tell them-"nah...you don't wanna come here?" :cool:

StillFunkyB
03-23-2008, 09:39 AM
I'm not really hating the Corey Patterson signing as much as I originally thought I was going to.

Jay Bruce really could use some AAA time. Patterson is only 28 years old, and I thought he was actually alot older than that. GABP might help him out, and he isn't all that bad of a CF defensively.

I think my original hatred for the Dusty signing was because he "came" from the Cubs....I hate everything Cubs.

edabbs44
03-23-2008, 10:10 AM
From today's NY Daily News:


Dusty Baker returns with upstart Reds
Sunday, March 23rd 2008, 4:00 AM

SARASOTA, Fla. - Dusty Baker is 58 years old, a self-acclaimed baseball "dinosaur" and veteran of two fairly successful managerial stints with the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs that nevertheless ended badly. After a year of reflection and rejection, he is back managing again, this time with the Cincinnati Reds, who have had seven straight losing seasons, during which time they went through five different managers.

It couldn't be a more perfect situation for a man in need of redemption.

"Life is good," Baker was saying the other day as he leaned back on the chair in the manager's office at the Reds' spring training complex, his son Darren sitting on his lap. "I got no complaints other than what I need to accomplish here."

Actually, that's not entirely true. Probe a little deeper with him and he reveals that he does have a few complaints - about the treatment he took in Chicago from the fans and media that last year with the Cubs in 2006, when an injury-depleted team finished last, 66-96, and the front office let him take the fall. Or the fact that, despite having won three division titles, one National League pennant and three Manager of the Year awards over a 14-year career, he got no offers last year.

"There were seven jobs open and all I kept hearing was that nobody could afford to pay me," Baker said. "It would have been nice if somebody actually asked me how much I needed. But that's okay. I needed that time to rebuild myself. They beat me up pretty well (in Chicago)."

What Baker discovered was the same thing fellow older and successful managers Lou Piniella and Jim Leyland discovered before him. Today's new-wave, stats-consumed general managers aren't interested in hiring established high-profile managers with proven track records, preferring instead to develop their own at mostly entry level salaries. (See: John Russell in Pittsburgh, Trey Hillman in Kansas City, Bob Geren in Oakland, Manny Acta in Washington, Bud Black in San Diego). It takes special circumstances for the Piniellas, Leylands and Bakers to get hired, mainly the owner's involvement. In Baker's case, Reds owner Bob Castellini superceded his GM, Wayne Krivsky (who was of a mind to retain Pete Mackanin, who'd gone 41-39 after taking over the Reds from Jerry Narron last July) and made it clear he wanted a "name" manager.

Castellini signed Baker to a four-year, $12 million contract, making him the fifth-highest paid manager behind Tony La Russa, Joe Torre, Piniella and Leyland. But better than that, as Baker is discovering this spring, this Reds team he is inheriting is a lot better than most people thought.

For the first time in recent memory, the Reds actually have pitching, although nobody knew that until two rookie righthanders from the Domincan Republic, Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez, wowed scouts and opposing managers this spring with both their stuff and their poise. One veteran National League scout told Baker that, in his opinion, Cueto already was an "ace" for the Reds. If that's so, then Baker has the makings of a nice young rotation with 16-game winner Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo and either late-winter pickup Josh Fogg or control artist Matt Belisle. Volquez, who was acquired from the Texas Rangers in a trade for popular outfielder Josh Hamilton, was 16-5 in three levels of minor league ball and a brief stint in the majors last year. Because Hamilton had been such an inspirational feel-good story, making it all the way back from a life ruined by drugs, the deal was roundly criticized by Cincy fans. But according to team sources, Hamilton, for all his recovered abilities, was not a popular player in the Reds' clubhouse. His teammates resented the fact that he had to have Narron's brother as a constant chaperone and they also felt he too often begged out of the lineup for minor ailments. In any case, Baker, from what he's seen of Volquez so far, is delighted with the trade.

"I learned from my days as a player with the Dodgers to look for a surprise guy you didn't count on in spring training," Baker said, "and we got a couple of 'em here with Cueto and Volquez. You've got to give credit to our scouting. In trading Josh Hamilton, we didn't know if the (return) package was right until now. Pitchers are like cars. If they don't have the gas, they can't go. These two guys have that and they've shown composure when they get in trouble. They come from a poor country and this is the first time they have a chance to make some money. There's something to be said for hunger and need."

Through most of their recent losing seasons, the Reds have at least had the ability to score a lot of runs. Last year, led by Adam Dunn's 40, they ranked fourth in the NL in homers and were seventh overall in runs. Their middle-of-the-order threesome of Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr. and Brandon Phillips combined for 100 homers and 293 RBI and, this year, they're looking for highly-touted prospect Joey Votto, who had 22 homers and 92 RBI at Triple-A, to provide another power bat at first base. Taking in all this optimism this spring is Griffey, now 38, whose place in the Hall of Fame is secure but is absent any World Series appearances. Junior chooses not to discuss the six homers he needs to become the sixth player in history to surpass 600, but the World Series shutout clearly nags at him.

"My dad never ceases to remind me that he's got two rings to my none," Griffey said. "This is the best team I've been on since I came here (in 2000), so maybe this year. If not, then I'll probably be traded and maybe get a shot with somebody else."

He shouldn't count on that. If you believe Leyland, these Reds, with Baker leading them, are a team to be reckoned with.

"Dusty's team is gonna be a big surprise," Leyland said after watching Cueto's last strong outing, against his Tigers last week. "Quietly, they've got one of the best offenses in baseball and with Dusty managing, they could be a force. Cueto has some of the best stuff I've seen."

Assuring words from a fellow dinosaur who can appreciate what it is to be an acclaimed manager whom GMs don't want to hire.

RedsManRick
03-23-2008, 10:32 AM
So what did Jr tell them-"nah...you don't wanna come here?" :cool:

It was just Neifi Perez and Jose Macias figuring they could resurrect their respective careers.