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

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    Playoffs Cyclone792's Avatar
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    Adam Dunn's Growing Legend: Comparing Dunn to All-Time Left Fielders Before Age 26

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

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

    Code:
    Dunn Win Shares
    
    Age 21 (2001): 10
    Age 22 (2002): 21
    Age 23 (2003): 13
    Age 24 (2004): 32
    Age 25 (2005): 28
    
    Career Win Shares per 162 games: 25.49
    Weíll start by analyzing Dunnís seasons so far using win shares, which Iíve outlined above. In Adamís shortened rookie campaign of 2001, he burst on the season and still managed to post 10 win shares. In 2002, thanks in large part to 128 walks and a .400 on-base percentage, Dunn racked up 21 win shares, which is very good for a hitter 22-years-old. Unfortunately, Bob Boone and his antics got in the way of developing Dunn in 2003, and coupled with an injury, Adamís win shares total for the season was a paltry 13.

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

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

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

    Code:
    Dunn vs. LF Greats Before Age 26
    
    Players in BOLD are Hall of Famers
    Players in ITALICS are still active
                
    Player             Games   Total WS  WS/162  Career WS
    
    Ted Williams        586      150     41.47      727*
    Stan Musial         611      152     40.30      640*
    Joe Jackson         601      138     37.20      323**
    Charlie Keller      541      112     33.54      257*
    Joe Medwick         788      121     33.10      312
    Rickey Henderson    791      157     32.15      533
    Joe Kelley          725      141     31.51      305
    Sherry Magee        984      190     31.28      354
    Al Simmons          558      104     30.19      375
    Goose Goslin        716      127     28.73      355
    
    Player             Games   Total WS  WS/162  Career WS
    
    Jimmy Sheckard      892      153     27.79      339
    Ralph Kiner         452       45     26.88      242
    Jesse Burkett       536       86     25.99      389
    George Burns        494       79     25.91      290
    Adam Dunn           661      104     25.49      104
    Jim Rice            644      100     25.15      282
    Jason Bay           150       23     24.84       57
    Barry Bonds         566       86     24.61      662
    Fred Clarke         615       93     24.50      400
    Manny Ramirez       552       80     23.48      310
    
    Player             Games   Total WS  WS/162  Career WS
    
    Lance Berkman       304       43     22.91      151
    Carl Yastrzemski    743      103     22.46      488
    Chick Hafey         436       60     22.29      186
    Tim Raines          731      100     22.16      390
    Greg Luzinski       742      101     22.05      247
    Ed Delahanty        628       57     21.93      355
    Roy White           488       64     21.25      263
    Frank Howard        367       47     20.75      297
    Heinie Manush       464       59     20.60      285
    Billy Williams      496       63     20.58      374
    
    Player             Games   Total WS  WS/162  Career WS
    
    Zack Wheat          583       73     20.28      380
    Brian Giles          57        7     19.89      234
    Willie Stargell     379       42     17.95      370
    Albert Belle        347       37     17.27      245
    Lou Brock           430       45     16.95      348
    Jose Cruz           338       35     16.78      313
    Bobby Veach         160       16     16.20      265
    Joe Carter          232       18     12.57      240
    George Foster       340       25     11.91      269
    
    * Applied WWII credit
    ** Currently on the ineligible list
    Some players burst onto the scene at a young age, but fizzle out early (see Charlie Keller). Other players either struggle early in their career or arrive in the majors at an older age and put up their big seasons later in their career (see Zack Wheat and Willie Stargell, among others). Most of the ultra special players arrive early with a bang, have a massive peak, play well into their 30s and leave a lasting impression upon millions of fans. It could be argued that Adam Dunn has started out on that path to being one of those ultra special players.

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

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

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

    Watch this kid. Already his accomplishments are mighty impressive on a historical level. Most fans already realize this, but heís got enormous potential to be a very special player, perhaps even greater than most fans realize.
    Barry Larkin - HOF, 2012

    Put an end to the Lost Decade.

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

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

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

    Great, great post Cyclone.

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

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

    By the way, as scary as Dunn's numbers are, I can't help but think how much better they would be had Bob Boone and Jim Lefevre not messed with him during that 2003 season. Or if the Reds had a manager that actually appreciated Dunn's skills and batted him in the number two, three, or four spots in the lineup.
    Last edited by OnBaseMachine; 03-31-2006 at 07:38 AM.
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    Oy Vey! Red in Chicago's Avatar
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    Re: Adam Dunn's Growing Legend: Comparing Dunn to All-Time Left Fielders Before Age 26

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine
    If Dunn can stay healthy for the majority of his career, then I could see his career stats reaching truly elite status;
    that's always the key question...see eric davis

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

    I think a Hall of Fame career is in order as well. Hope this is the year he amasses 50 Homeruns.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine
    Great, great post Cyclone.

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

    That's a whole lot of great work, Cyclone. I do have a question though. Are these kinds of stats as meaningful when compiled by position or would they be more meaningful if presented in an overall comparison of all players, regardless of position? Please enlighten me.
    "Enjoy this Reds fans, you are watching a legend grow up before your very eyes" ... DoogMinAmo on Adam Dunn

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

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

    That's a whole lot of great work, Cyclone. I do have a question though. Are these kinds of stats as meaningful when compiled by position or would they be more meaningful if presented in an overall comparison of all players, regardless of position? Please enlighten me.
    I agree, the stats aren't really position relevant

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

    Quote Originally Posted by TeamBoone
    This really has to make one stop and think, doesn't it? Wow!

    That's a whole lot of great work, Cyclone. I do have a question though. Are these kinds of stats as meaningful when compiled by position or would they be more meaningful if presented in an overall comparison of all players, regardless of position? Please enlighten me.
    There's value in both comparing players to other players at the same position and comparing players across other positions, but when comparing players at separate positions it is important to apply positional adjustments, which can be a bit more difficult. If Adam Dunn follows a typical career path, he will likely be a greater offensive force than Barry Larkin. However, since Larkin was a shortstop and offense at his position is much more difficult to find, Larkin gets an extreme bump up due to positional adjustments. As a left fielder, Dunn could be easily compared to right fielders and first basemen as the positional adjustments are only minor, but the positional adjustments have a greater impact when comparing him to the rest of the positions on the diamond. Here's the 2004 league average data for offense at each position in the majors:

    Code:
    Position     G     AB     R     H   2B   3B   HR   RBI    BB  IBB    SO  HBP   SH   SF   XI  ROE  GDP   SB   CS   AVG   OBP   SLG
    AT P     18272   5215   281   745  133    4   25   285   198    1  1990   15  608   19    0   64   79    7    1  .143  .176  .184
    AT C      5558  17502  1983  4563  960   46  481  2271  1471  161  3149  247  155  153    0  213  551   74   74  .261  .324  .403
    AT 1B     5589  18399  2695  5033 1116   52  791  2887  2223  234  3403  235   31  163    2  212  460  117   56  .274  .356  .469
    AT 2B     5552  18947  2611  5124 1000  137  466  2145  1619   85  3140  205  202  157    4  268  381  364  156  .270  .332  .411
    AT 3B     5566  18669  2678  5116 1016   87  728  2788  1810  129  3307  205   80  178    0  219  460  218  107  .274  .342  .455
    AT SS     5399  19166  2663  5196 1069  157  405  2167  1410   98  3047  146  280  153    6  288  403  406  148  .271  .323  .407
    AT LF     5880  18474  2864  5146 1047  108  754  2708  2141  256  3664  235   88  146    2  202  373  322  129  .279  .358  .469
    AT CF     5404  19184  2850  5231  964  138  638  2382  1747  110  3448  179  151  119    2  219  362  598  223  .273  .337  .437
    AT RF     5746  18495  2713  5031  970  121  687  2584  2073  167  3603  207   65  150    1  216  420  332  139  .272  .349  .449
    AT DH     2570   8460  1229  2228  449   32  343  1318   984   90  1754  122   19   76    3   77  191   57   28  .263  .346  .446
    Check out the OBP, SLG and OPS figures for each position. Offense is pretty prevalent at the 1B, RF and LF positions, as well as 3B to some extent. The other positions - C, SS, 2B and CF - have a significant drop in offense. A great hitting center field, for example, is more valuable than a great hitting left fielder (provided their offensive value is similar). There is also a so-called "defensive spectrum" which gives us a rough outline on the importance of each defensive position.

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

    As a general guide, the positions on the left side of the spectrum are the easiest positions while the positions on the right side are the most difficult. As players age and their defensive skills dimish, they tend to move right to left (although it is extremely rare for a catcher to move to SS, 2B, CF and 3B as they leap over to the left half of the spectrum).
    Barry Larkin - HOF, 2012

    Put an end to the Lost Decade.

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

    Thanks, Cyclone. I now feel very educated!
    "Enjoy this Reds fans, you are watching a legend grow up before your very eyes" ... DoogMinAmo on Adam Dunn

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

    Great write up as always Cyclone

    Dunn..Leave him alone and watch him blossom
    Go Gators!

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

    Dunn on pace for huge numbers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky...s/14244508.htm
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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

    Code:
    CAREER
    LF
    AGE BETWEEN 20 AND 26
    
    ISOLATED POWER                  ISO    
    1    Babe Ruth                  .372   
    2    Ralph Kiner                .314   
    3    Ted Williams               .287   
    4    Albert Pujols              .278   
    5    Chick Hafey                .269   
    6    Juan Gonzalez              .267   
    7    Adam Dunn                  .264   
    8    Albert Belle               .261   
    9    Ryan Klesko                .259   
    10   Willie McCovey             .258   
    11   Jason Bay                  .256   
    12   Charlie Keller             .251   
    13   Ron Kittle                 .244   
    14   Jim Rice                   .238   
    15   Bobby Higginson            .237   
    16   Geoff Jenkins              .236   
    17   Frank Robinson             .235   
    18   Willie Stargell            .231   
    19   Phil Plantier              .229   
    20   Bo Jackson                 .229   
    21   Boog Powell                .226   
    22   Miguel Cabrera             .225   
    23   Pat Burrell                .225   
    24   Joe Medwick                .222   
    25   Jeff Heath                 .220   
    
    OPS                             OPS    
    1    Babe Ruth                 1.181   
    2    Ted Williams              1.150   
    3    Albert Pujols             1.031   
    4    Ralph Kiner               1.023   
    5    Joe Kelley                1.014   
    6    Chick Hafey                .986   
    7    Ed Delahanty               .973   
    8    Charlie Keller             .949   
    9    Jason Bay                  .939   
    10   Bobby Higginson            .936   
    11   Joe Medwick                .934   
    12   Kal Daniels                .916   
    13   Juan Gonzalez              .913   
    14   Heinie Manush              .906   
    15   Jesse Burkett              .905   
    16   Jim Rice                   .901   
    17   Goose Goslin               .900   
    18   Frank Robinson             .899   
    19   Ryan Klesko                .899   
    20   Albert Belle               .897   
    21   Elmer Smith                .897   
    22   Adam Dunn                  .896   
    23   Miguel Cabrera             .895   
    24   Rico Carty                 .888   
    25   Mike Greenwell             .875   
    
    RUNS CREATED/GAME              RC/G    
    1    Ted Williams              14.25   
    2    Babe Ruth                 13.74   
    3    Joe Kelley                13.19   
    4    Ed Delahanty              12.12   
    5    Billy Hamilton            11.40   
    6    Jesse Burkett             10.71   
    7    Elmer Smith               10.15   
    8    Ralph Kiner                9.88   
    9    Albert Pujols              9.71   
    10   Mike Donlin                9.05   
    11   George Van Haltren         9.02   
    12   Charlie Keller             8.98   
    13   Fred Clarke                8.65   
    14   Kip Selbach                8.58   
    15   Chick Hafey                8.57   
    16   Darby O'Brien              8.18   
    17   Joe Medwick                8.13   
    18   Bobby Higginson            7.97   
    19   Jason Bay                  7.94   
    20   Kal Daniels                7.92   
    21   Abner Dalrymple            7.91   
    22   Jimmy Sheckard             7.66   
    23   Heinie Manush              7.61   
    24   Goose Goslin               7.49   
    25   Hub Collins                7.36   
    
    SECONDARY AVERAGE               SEC    
    1    Babe Ruth                  .631   
    2    Ted Williams               .545   
    3    Ralph Kiner                .515   
    4    Adam Dunn                  .492   
    5    Charlie Keller             .475   
    6    Rickey Henderson           .464   
    7    Joe Kelley                 .455   
    8    Barry Bonds                .440   
    9    Kal Daniels                .431   
    10   Jason Bay                  .423   
    11   Billy Hamilton             .419   
    12   Albert Pujols              .412   
    13   Tim Raines                 .406   
    14   Bobby Higginson            .392   
    15   Ryan Klesko                .389   
    16   Mitchell Page              .386   
    17   Willie McCovey             .385   
    18   Albert Belle               .381   
    19   Chick Hafey                .372   
    20   Sandy Amoros               .372   
    21   Pat Burrell                .367   
    22   Kip Selbach                .362   
    23   Elmer Smith                .358   
    24   Phil Plantier              .358   
    25   Boog Powell                .351   
    
    
    
    Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia
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    http://www.baseball-encyclopedia.com
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    SERP deep cover ops WebScorpion's Avatar
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    Re: Adam Dunn's Growing Legend: Comparing Dunn to All-Time Left Fielders Before Age 26

    I think you jinxed him by not mentioning his acceptable defense.


    I can remember having games like that where everything just goes wrong, but I can't imagine doing it in front of 50,000 people. At least there's 161 days to make up for it ... Hope he shakes it off today.
    Last edited by WebScorpion; 04-05-2006 at 12:32 PM.

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

    nm
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    -Snoop on his retirement

    Your Mom is happy.

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

    What does New Mexico have to do with Adam?
    Go Gators!


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