Judging by his 12.8% ownership rate in ESPN leagues (at the time of this writing), I’m guessing that fantasy owners everywhere are pretty much giving up on Adam Dunn. Honestly, I’m in four leagues and he’s not on any of my teams, so I fall into that group.
We all know what Dunn’s big shortcomings are. He strikes out an awful lot and the way the last three years have gone, him hitting .230 would be on par with Miguel Cabrera hitting .425.
But he also crushes the ball when he sees it and is still good for 30-40 homers and at least 80-90 bombs, right? The 2011 season may have said otherwise, but he’s been fine since and was fine before. Everyone has a bad season at some point, Dunn’s come back okay.
As Nash went over in his targeting players piece, you’re looking for a general per-hitter average of 80 runs, 20 home runs, 75 RBI, 15 steals, and an average between about .275 and .280. So let’s pair Dunn together with a first-round talent, Andrew McCutchen, using ESPN’s projections and see what the averages say.
Despite all of his shortcomings, it takes one first-round caliber player (which every team has) to be above average across the board with Dunn on the roster. Remember, if he’s even drafted, Dunn’s a late-round guy, so you can easily fill in the rest of the roster between Cutch and Dunn with players that will keep you at or above the average rates.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Dunn’s going to return to his .260+ averages from 2009 and 2010. The reality is that even the .224 average that ESPN is projecting above is probably a bit optimistic. But the power he produces homers, plus the fact that he’s in a Chicago White Sox lineup that actually looks like it might be pretty decent should allow Dunn to be a plus contributor home runs and RBI, and probably right around the average that you need.
As we went over above, Dunn has an ownership rate less than 13%. Chris Carter of the Houston Astros, on the other hand, is just under 45 percent? What justifies an ownership difference of more than 30 percent? Other than the fact that Carter’s younger, nothing. They both hit for power, steal basically no bases, and will struggle to hit even .230. I have no issue with Carter’s ownership rate, but Dunn should be owned in a similar amount of leagues.
If you’re in a league with 12 or more teams or one that uses a few UTL/CI spots, there’s absolutely a place on some roster for Adam Dunn. If you have a wealth of power and feel that you might need some steals or a better batting average, you shouldn’t roster him. But if you sit okay in those categories but think you might need a few more bombs to win a championship this year, give Dunn a look. He has plenty of shortcomings, but he’s very low risk, doesn’t lack positive attributes, and his negatives aren’t that hard to overcome.