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Thread: Did Dunn forget how to walk?

  1. #16
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Did Dunn forget how to walk?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jpup
    i don't follow. please explain how it would be a good thing for Dunn to make more contact? more contact could lower his OBP and that's the whole point, get on base, don't make an out.
    Because walking not only guarantees you first base, but it guarantees that you won't reach 2b, 3b, or home on your own volition, won't advance any runners who aren't forced, and won't advance those who are forced more than one base.

    Yes, a walk is a positive outcome. However, for somebody like Dunn with a high SLG%, the benefits of putting the ball in play increase greatly -- not only for himself but for his ability to drive runs in.

    In simple terms, SLG% is bases advanced per AB. Putting aside the effect of driving in runs for a moment, a walk is fucntionally equivilent to a 1.000 SLG% - same as a single. However, what is Dunn's SLG% on balls put in play? It's .763 - just 3/4 of a single. So maybe a walk is better than putting the ball in play... (I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that double plays and errors balance each other out or are more or less insignificant in making my general point)

    However, then you have to reintroduce the idea of advancing runners. Getting on base is irrelevent if you don't score. If there are men on base and Dunn puts the ball in play, there's a pretty good shot that they're gonna score. Thus, events which advance runners have extra value. I don't have the stats handy to do the math, but if there's a guy on 1B with 2 outs, he's not going to get driven in by walks, period. If he's going to score, he's going to score on a ball put in play. Because of his power, Dunn is more likely to drive in that run if he puts the ball in play than anybody else on the team.

    Now, I still want Dunn taking walks over making outs -- particularly when the bases are empty and the value of runner advancement is removed. However, if he can maintain the same OBP (and this is key -- he has maintained a high OBP), a higher batting average is a GREAT development for his ability to turn base runners in to runs. This doesn't necessarily mean he should be drastically altering his approach at the plate. We saw what happened when he tried to force himself in to more contact. I'm merely pointing out that if he's able to make contact rather than walk, he should -- especially with men on base.

    (PM me if you want my address so you can send me my "Master of the Obvious" award...)
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 04-17-2006 at 12:44 PM.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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  3. #17
    Member Jpup's Avatar
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    Re: Did Dunn forget how to walk?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick
    Because walking not only guarantees you first base, but it guarantees that you won't reach 2b, 3b, or home on your own volition, won't advance any runners who aren't forced, and won't advance those who are forced more than one base.
    Yes, a walk is a positive outcome. However, for somebody like Dunn with a high SLG%, the benefits of putting the ball in play increase greatly -- not only for himself but for his ability to drive runs in.

    In simple terms, SLG% is bases advanced per AB. Putting aside the effect of driving in runs for a moment, a walk is fucntionally equivilent to a 1.000 SLG% - same as a single. However, what is Dunn's SLG% on balls put in play? It's .763 - just 3/4 of a single. So maybe a walk is better than putting the ball in play... (I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that double plays and errors balance each other out or are more or less insignificant in making my general point)

    However, then you have to reintroduce the idea of advancing runners. Getting on base is irrelevent if you don't score. If there are men on base and Dunn puts the ball in play, there's a pretty good shot that they're gonna score. Thus, events which advance runners have extra value. I don't have the stats handy to do the math, but if there's a guy on 1B with 2 outs, he's not going to get driven in by walks, period. If he's going to score, he's going to score on a ball put in play. Because of his power, Dunn is more likely to drive in that run if he puts the ball in play than anybody else on the team.

    Now, I still want Dunn taking walks over making outs -- particularly when the bases are empty and the value of runner advancement is removed. However, if he can maintain the same OBP (and this is key -- he has maintained a high OBP), a higher batting average is a GREAT development for his ability to turn base runners in to runs. This doesn't necessarily mean he should be drastically altering his approach at the plate. We saw what happened when he tried to force himself in to more contact. I'm merely pointing out that if he's able to make contact rather than walk, he should -- especially with men on base.

    (PM me if you want my address so you can send me my "Master of the Obvious" award...)

    I would contend that he's swinging at too many pitches so far this season, but it's such a small sample that it's hard to say yet.

    he can't drive in any runs if no one is on base in front of him. you are assuming that his job is to drive in runs, I don't believe that is the case. the job of any hitter is to get on base and not make an out. There are only 27 outs per side, you can't give them away. There is nothing productive about making an out.

    let's use this for an example, there's a man on 2nd with nobody out, dunn walks. that put men on 1st and 2nd with no outs, that gives Kearns or whoever the opportunity to bring in 3 runs instead of 2.

    If Dunn makes contact and advances the runner to 3rd, there is 1 on with 1 out. Kearns only has the opportunity to bring in 2 runs and there is also 1 less opportunity for a hitter to bat in the inning due to Dunn's out. Not to mention the toll that baserunners and more pitches takes on the opposing pitcher. There is also a greater chance that Kearns will see fewer pitches in the zone because no one is on first and there is one out with Hatteberg and the like to follow.

    I kind of see what you are getting it, but I think it's a false theory.
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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Did Dunn forget how to walk?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jpup
    I would contend that he's swinging at too many pitches so far this season, but it's such a small sample that it's hard to say yet.

    he can't drive in any runs if no one is on base in front of him. you are assuming that his job is to drive in runs, I don't believe that is the case. the job of any hitter is to get on base and not make an out. There are only 27 outs per side, you can't give them away. There is nothing productive about making an out.

    let's use this for an example, there's a man on 2nd with nobody out, dunn walks. that put men on 1st and 2nd with no outs, that gives Kearns or whoever the opportunity to bring in 3 runs instead of 2.

    If Dunn makes contact and advances the runner to 3rd, there is 1 on with 1 out. Kearns only has the opportunity to bring in 2 runs and there is also 1 less opportunity for a hitter to bat in the inning due to Dunn's out. Not to mention the toll that baserunners and more pitches takes on the opposing pitcher. There is also a greater chance that Kearns will see fewer pitches in the zone because no one is on first and there is one out with Hatteberg and the like to follow.

    I kind of see what you are getting it, but I think it's a false theory.

    While I agree that the hitters job is to not make an out, you have to also consider the fact that the people batting behind Dunn aren't Adam Dunn. If there is a guy on 2B and Dunn walks, the person behind Dunn is less likely to drive in that runner than Dunn was.

    Now, your "average runs" for that inning just increased, but the distribution of possible run totals has flattened. With somebody else up, and Dunn on 1B, you are more likely to score 2 or 3 runs, but you are also more likely to score 0 runs, because that person is less likely drive the runner in than was Dunn. This is especially true with 2 outs.

    Again, I don't want to trade walks for outs. But if the OBP is constant, you're trading walks for hits, and I'm not sure how you can argue that's a bad thing. If you're contending that if he continues this, his OBP wall fall, I can't argue with your prediction of the future. I'd much rather see a .250/.400 line than a .280/.340. But that's not what we're seeing so far this year and not what my point is predicated on.

    The Reds do have some decent hitters behind Dunn, so I'm not going to complain about walks. But getting only base only matters if you score. And when the runners behind you are less likely to advance the guy on 2B than you Dunn, there's value in him doing the job himself. It's definitely situational however, as you've pointed out. Bottom line is that walks are good -- hits are better.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 04-17-2006 at 01:34 PM.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Re: Did Dunn forget how to walk?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick
    If you look at the relationship between strikeouts, hits, and walks, you'll see that when walks decrease, it doesn't lead to more strikeouts, but rather is an indicator of more balls put in play.

    He's not walking because he's putting the ball in play more frequently.
    Actually, for hitters like Dunn, when K's decrease, Walks- not Hits- tend to increase.

    Dunn's current K rate is 1 K per every 2.94 PA this season. His K rate in 2005 was one strikeout every 3.99 PA. Per AB, he's averaging one K every 2.33 AB. In 2005 it was one K every 3.23 AB.

    Dunn is actually putting the ball in play LESS frequently this season but his BB rate (1 per 5.89 PA) is identical to his 2005 BB rate (1 per 5.89 PA).

    The reason you may think Dunn is putting balls into play at a higher rate is that he's smoking baseballs over outfield walls at an alarming rate (6.00 AB per HR). That can't continue that so it's imperative that Dunn starts taking the Walks pitchers are more than willing to give him with ducks on the pond (1 non-IBB Walk in 21 PA w/Runners On) rather than flailing at pitches he wouldn't normally offer at.

    If he gets his head adjusted and rightly starts turning those Strikeouts with Runners On (12 in 21 PA) into Walks, he's going to get his .140 Isolated Discipline number back and more over the long haul. Dunn must do that because there's little chance that the garbage he's seeing in those situations are going to turn into high-quality BIP events. There's little to be gained by Dunn turning low-quality pitches into low-quality BIP events and much to be gained by him simply dropping the bat and trotting to 1B after Ball Four.
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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Did Dunn forget how to walk?

    Thanks for the correction Steel. Always nice to make an argument on flawed assumptions . That's what I get for posting at work and not doing my due diligence -- though the general point is right regarding hits and walks. Of course, as you point out -- contact on bad pitches leads to a lower BABIP.

    Do you have the number on Dunn's swing & miss rate this year? Also, does anybody have evidence regarding the general ability (or lack thereof) for a player to decrease their swing & miss rate over time? Anecdotally, it seems odd that Dunn has such a great eye for pitch location yet his hand/eye coordination leaves a lot to be desired. Is it reasonable to hope for an improvement in that regard?
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Re: Did Dunn forget how to walk?

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine
    Kearns is second on the team in pitches/per plate appearance with an average of 4.27 P/PA. It's not like he is going up there and just hacking away on the first or second pitch every atbat. At least he is working the count and stinging the ball. The walks will eventually start coming again.
    [ANECODTAL] What concerns me the most is that although Kearns is seeing a lot of pitches, he seems to end up in pitchers counts in nearly every at bat that I watch/hear. He sees more 0-2 and 1-2 counts than anyone else on the team, it seems[/ANECDOTAL]

    Incidentally, on the subject of P/PA -- Ryan Freel is leading the team, seeing over 4.5 P/PA. That's absolutely sick -- he's close to averaging a full count every time he steps to the plate.
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    Re: Did Dunn forget how to walk?

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine
    Kearns is second on the team in pitches/per plate appearance with an average of 4.27 P/PA. It's not like he is going up there and just hacking away on the first or second pitch every atbat. At least he is working the count and stinging the ball. The walks will eventually start coming again.
    Very good point.

    I've also been concerned about Kearns lack of walks, but as long as he is working the count, the walks should follow.

  9. #23
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    Re: Did Dunn forget how to walk?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick
    Thanks for the correction Steel. Always nice to make an argument on flawed assumptions . That's what I get for posting at work and not doing my due diligence -- though the general point is right regarding hits and walks. Of course, as you point out -- contact on bad pitches leads to a lower BABIP.

    Do you have the number on Dunn's swing & miss rate this year? Also, does anybody have evidence regarding the general ability (or lack thereof) for a player to decrease their swing & miss rate over time? Anecdotally, it seems odd that Dunn has such a great eye for pitch location yet his hand/eye coordination leaves a lot to be desired. Is it reasonable to hope for an improvement in that regard?
    Take a look at Jim Thome 2001 versus Jim Thome 2002. He's a super comp for Dunn because both hitters are "location" hitters rather than "plate coverage" hitters.

    Thome 2001:

    .291 BA/.416 OBP/.624 SLG

    PA: 644
    AB: 526
    Hits: 153
    HR: 49
    BB: 111
    K: 185

    AB/BB: 4.73
    AB/K: 2.84
    AB/HR: 10.73

    Jim Thome 2002:

    .304 BA/.445 OBP/.677 SLG

    PA: 613
    AB: 480
    Hits: 146
    HR: 52
    BB: 122
    K: 139

    AB/BB: 3.93
    AB/K: 3.45
    AB/HR: 9.23

    Take a close look. Thome improved his BB rate by 0.80 AB per BB and decreased his K rate by 0.61 AB. Considering that Thome acquired an additional 5 IBB in 2002 versus 2001, that's about as direct a swap as we can hope to see (0.63 when adjusted for additional IBB).

    Thome's IsoD and IsoP increases in 2002 versus the year prior are- almost to the point of exclusivity- related to a swapping of K's for Walks coupled with an increase in HR rate. Bascially, Thome swapped K's for Walks which in turn reduced the number of AB he posted.

    In effect, Thome was working the fringe of his game and his ability to turn those K's into BB made pitchers have to come into his "zone" more often. When they did, he made them pay at a higher rate by hitting "his" pitches where no one could possibly field them. That's what drove the majority of his 13-point BA increase rather than contact rate.

    This is almost exactly the path I see Adam Dunn taking. The only difference being that Dunn has more raw power than did Thome at the same age. That equals scary good when it's all said and done as long as Dunn can promptly forget about any nonsense he's been fed about what he needs to "be" as a hitter. If there's every any talent the Reds have ever had who should just be left alone, it's Adam Dunn.
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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Did Dunn forget how to walk?

    Though Steel, in Thome's age 25 season, he did hit .314 and has fluctuated around that .285 area since. For Dunn to match Thome in terms of BA/OBP/SLG, particularly in his peak years, he would basically need to turn 30 Ks from his 2004 line in to walks. Even then, it would take a major improvement in contact rate for Dunn to hit much more than .280.

    But still, that would convert his .266/.388/.569 line in to .281/.428/.600. I think I'd take that.... Given his age, I agree that's a distinct possibility. Considering Dunn is 100 homers of where Thome was at at his age, if Dunn were to follow a similar career path, we're looking at some VERY lofty company when he's done.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Re: Did Dunn forget how to walk?

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou
    If the pitchers start pitching him more carefully he'll take the walk.
    I certainly hope so, the past few games he has shown a scary habit of (with runners on) of almost refusing a walk, K'ing more then once on ball 4.
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    Re: Did Dunn forget how to walk?

    Quote Originally Posted by SteelSD
    Rhat equals scary good when it's all said and done as long as Dunn can promptly forget about any nonsense he's been fed about what he needs to "be" as a hitter.
    The only reason Dunn takes "abuse" is because he doesn't fit a preconceived notion of what others believe he should be, NOT because he isn't a productive hitter.
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    Re: Did Dunn forget how to walk?

    Quote Originally Posted by flyer85
    The only reason Dunn takes "abuse" is because he doesn't fit a preconceived notion of what others believe he should be, NOT because he isn't a productive hitter.

  14. #28
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    Re: Did Dunn forget how to walk?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick
    Though Steel, in Thome's age 25 season, he did hit .314 and has fluctuated around that .285 area since. For Dunn to match Thome in terms of BA/OBP/SLG, particularly in his peak years, he would basically need to turn 30 Ks from his 2004 line in to walks. Even then, it would take a major improvement in contact rate for Dunn to hit much more than .280.
    Yep, but that begins with further implementation of Dunn's plate discipline skill set rather than actual contact rate. At first, it sounds a little bit like putting the cart before the horse, but that's the way hitters like Dunn and Thome do it. It's actually the reverse for most "plate coverage" guys. They start out with a power manifestation that makes pitchers leery of pitching to them and their IBB rates tend to grow from there as well as their non-IBB rates.

    Some hitters of the latter type never really "get it" (Juan Gonzalez) and some do (Sammy Sosa) when pitchers start throwing them obvious balls during "intentional non-intentional walk" scenarios. It'll be interesting to see what happens to Vlad Guerrero over the next three years if he doesn't start "getting it" as his bat slows down. He's a bat-speed plate-coverage freak of nature, but his IsoD is so dramatically tied to his Intentional Walk rate, that he's likely to implode when age finally takes its toll (34.3% of his career BB have been Intentional).

    Thome was actually better able to lay off crap at an earlier age than Dunn. That manifested itself in a higher BB rate for Thome as well as a higher HR rate eventually. For Dunn to increase his BA, he's going to have to rely on a higher rate of HR acquisition that is the eventual result of better plate discipline. In short, he needs to stop swinging at crap in order to get better pitches to hit. When that happens, we'll see a decline in Dunn's K rate, an increase in his BB rate, and an increase in his HR rate. At that point, his seasonal AB totals will be closer to 500 (even sub-500 AB). That's when the increased HR rate will turn into a higher Batting Average.

    And yes, should that occur, folks will look at a higher Batting Average, a lower K total, and wrongly assume that there's a direct correlation between the two. But they'll miss the fact that Dunn's increased Batting Average will be most highly correlated with gross AB suppression resulting from Dunn swapping K's for Walks. Fun stuff, but we'll be told that it's Dunn's contact rate that's the real cause of the BA increase. And I bet we both know who'll be the guy to tell us that...on air...every day...four or five times...

    A slight contact rate bump may also accompany that, but it'll be a derivative of a plate discipline skill set that forces more pitchers to throw Dunn "his" pitches. However, even at that level, BABIP randomness may easily negate any perceived benefit of an increased non-HR BIP rate (and said increase will not be a substantial rate increase).

    But still, that would convert his .266/.388/.569 line in to .281/.428/.600. I think I'd take that.... Given his age, I agree that's a distinct possibility. Considering Dunn is 100 homers of where Thome was at at his age, if Dunn were to follow a similar career path, we're looking at some VERY lofty company when he's done.
    Yep. I'll take his current numbers, but the numbers he'll put up eventually (as long as he's left alone) should be pretty much staggering.
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    Re: Did Dunn forget how to walk?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor
    [ANECODTAL] What concerns me the most is that although Kearns is seeing a lot of pitches, he seems to end up in pitchers counts in nearly every at bat that I watch/hear. He sees more 0-2 and 1-2 counts than anyone else on the team, it seems[/ANECDOTAL]

    Incidentally, on the subject of P/PA -- Ryan Freel is leading the team, seeing over 4.5 P/PA. That's absolutely sick -- he's close to averaging a full count every time he steps to the plate.
    Once our hitters start accumulating plate appearances, I'm planning on taking an in-depth look at plate appearances by batter count for Reds hitters this season using the same methodology that I used in my plate discipline piece. Right now the sample sizes are very small., but with that caveat (no pun intended ), here's an early look at Dunn, Freel and Kearns:
    Code:
    
    Player            HCPA     SLG    OPS    Total PA    HCPA %  HCPA+
    
    Adam Dunn          24    1.333  2.000      60       40.000%   115
    Ryan Freel         23     .083   .605      48       47.917%   138
    Austin Kearns      21     .500   .833      51       41.176%   118
    
    Player            PCPA     SLG    OPS    Total PA    PCPA %  PCPA+
     
    Adam Dunn          16     .333   .458      16       26.667%   116
    Ryan Freel          8     .714  1.214      48       16.667%   186
    Austin Kearns      14     .714  1.071      51       27.451%   113
    The first thing that might stand out is, "WHAT?! Freel only has an .083 slugging percentage when ahead in the count?!" But in Freel's 23 plate appearances he's walked 11 times while only having one single in his 12 at bats. What's important is almost half of Freel's PAs are ending while he's ahead in the count with barely any ending in a pitcher's count, and if he keeps that pace up his hits, walks, on-base percentage and slugging percentage will just pile up (I'm not at all worried about his one hit in 12 at bats while ahead in the count).

    Most of us here realize this, but so far this season Ryan Freel has been just about the perfect leadoff hitter. He's getting in great counts, taking tons of pitches, taking walks and has a sick on-base percentage. How Krivsky and Narron cannot see this so far and haven't made a pledge to start and leadoff Freel every day is beyond me.

    Kearns and Dunn are both slightly worse in their HCPA+ and PCPA+ rates compared to their career averages, but the small sample size likely attributes to that. Both are still ending their PAs in hitters counts and avoiding pitchers counts better than the league average hitter. I also have noticed while just watching the early games that Kearns appears as if he's getting stuck in a lot of 0-2 and 1-2 holes, but it does also appear as if he's had success working those 0-2 and 1-2 counts into even/hitter's counts in most of his plate appearances, which is a great sign.
    Last edited by Cyclone792; 04-17-2006 at 03:41 PM.
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    Re: Did Dunn forget how to walk?

    Quote Originally Posted by flyer85
    9BB in 12 games works out to 121 for the season. No he hasn't lost the ability although I will grant you he has swung at more than a few bad pitches at the beginning of this season.

    I wouldn't worry about it after 12 games.

    If you want to worry about someone who has lost the ability to walk you may want to look at Austin Kearns who has a 1 BB for the season.
    Kearns

    OBP- 353
    SLG- 700
    AVG- .340

    When the man stops hitting the ball, then I will worry about his walk intake.


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