When Adam Dunn signed with the White Sox this past offseason, many were thinking that 40 home runs would be a lock, as he was moving from spacious Nationals Park to the home run friendly US Cellular Field. Well, here we are, almost to June and Dunn has five home runs. FIVE! Basically, Dunn has been worthless to his fantasy owners due to the lack of power and a .184 AVG. Even his usually good OBP is not much more than league-average.
Part of the problem has been the strikeouts. Dunn has always had rather high strikeout rates, but the power production more than made up for it. This season, Dunn has struck out in over 40 percent of his at-bats, which is what we saw from Mark Reynolds last season. Not only that, but Dunn is hitting even more fly-ball outs than he has in the past. He has a 50 percent fly-ball rate and a 16.3 percent infield fly-ball rate.
While watching Dunn yesterday, it looked to me that he was dipping his back shoulder more-so than he normally does. He has always had at least some dip in his back shoulder, it's part of his power swing, but to me that dip looked too exaggerated. That particular mechanical flaw would make sense given the nature of Dunn's struggles. Dipping the back shoulder leads to a longer, more "uppercut" swing. Dunn seems to be getting beat by good fastballs quite often this season and the stats back this up. So far this season, Dunn has been worth -3.7 runs above average on fastballs, a pitch that he has had tremendous success against in the past. Opposing teams have taken notice of this as well. Of the pitches thrown to Dunn this season, 68 percent have been fastballs. Dunn has never seen such a high rate of fastballs over any of his previous major league seasons.
Dunn seems to have a mechanical flaw and other teams know it.
The good news is that mechanical flaws can be fixed. Whether it's his back shoulder dip or something else, Dunn should be able to work it out eventually. Once he does, he should get back to launching baseballs into the outfield seats. That being said, there's no way of telling when, or even if, this will actually happen. However, I'd say chances are good that he does work things out before long.
Fantasy owners looking to buy low on a power bat should definitely take a look at Dunn. He's still hitting the ball hard, but he's just getting under or being late on fastballs too often. While it seems like a long-shot that Dunn gets to 40 home runs this season, there's a decent chance he can hit at least 20-25 more home runs this season once he fixes his swing.