By Josh Kramer
Chicago White Sox slugger Adam Dunn is struggling in every sense of the word. He appears to be experiencing the MLB version of a mid-life crisis. Dunn is a player who has dealt with scrutiny and unrealistic expectations his entire career. Adam Dunn is the quintessential power hitter. Standing at 6 foot 6 and 285 pounds, there is no way not to notice the biggest guy on the field. And when people see Dunn step up to the plate, they expect fireworks each and every plate appearance. For the duration of the slugger’s career, it has been all or nothing. He either hits the ball out of the park, or he strikes out. There was and never has been an in between.
Adam Dunn, the goliath like figure from Texas has been in the MLB for 11 years now. Never has the man gone a day without criticism. Even when he went four straight years with 40+ home runs and 90+ RBIs in Cincinnati, there was a heavy dose of criticism daily. Nobody has ever really quite understood Adam Dunn. Maybe people do not understand what a power hitter in its purest sense is. And I admit, I have been one of those people.
Over the course of his career, he has averaged nearly 35 home runs and 90 RBIs per year. I would say that those numbers are not to shabby. Especially in the dead ball era that we have been a part of the past few years following the HGH long ball generation. Well as mentioned earlier, Dunn is pressing right now. Nothing can go right for the White Sox designated hitter.
He is batting a less than pedestrian .167 to go with a very mediocre 8 home runs and 31 RBIs. In addition, he has already struck out 108 times in just 73 games. He is on pace to knock his 195 strikeout campaign of 2004 out of the water. Though it should be noted in 2004, Dunn clubbed an astonishing 46 long balls to go with 102 RBIs. And he posted the second highest batting average of his career at .266.
Earlier today, a fellow power hitter provided Dunn with some advice. I am of course talking about none other than Mr. Juiced himself, Jose Canseco. What a guy to receive advice from right? A 47-year-old who is known as perhaps the biggest rat and biggest HGH perpetrator of them all. He did provide some simple and useful advice for Dunn though.
Canseco said the following. “”If I were him, I’d say forget about the average, just simplify things: See the ball and put your hands on it quickly. A lot of these guys try to do too much with it and they struggle. He’s so damn strong if he just lays his body back and expands his hands forward, he’s going to hit a lot of home runs. Sometimes it takes a struggle like that to find yourself.”
Basically Jose is telling the big fella from Texas to swing harder and to not think so much. I think this is just the advice Dunn needs. He has never let the media affect his play. Criticism has become a daily occurrence for the big guy. He just needs to simplify things. There is a reason why he has hit 38 or more home runs for seven consecutive years. A man does not just forget how to play. Dunn seems to be pressing because he is thinking too much. Hitting is a difficult thing. Arguably, it is the most difficult thing to do in sports. Slumps happen to everyone. Though I will admit that Dunn’s case is much more severe than a slump as we head into the All Star Break.
Dunn has proven that he can hit at the Major League level for over a decade now. At 31-years-old, he is nowhere near finished yet. Expect Dunn to snap out of this funk soon. Hopefully he takes the advice of Canseco, regardless of if he respects the man who was once one of the most feared hitters in all of baseball. His advice in this case was right on point.
Maybe Canseco actually understands what a power hitter is, unlike the majority of America.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.