Adam Dunn did all the Chicago White Sox needed to be done in the sixth inning of their victory against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday. Dunn slugged a two-run home run to carry the White Sox in a pitching duel between two promising young hurlers, Chris Sale and Matt Moore. White Sox fans had a few reasons to be thrilled by Dunn's decisive smash.
The White Sox haven't always been able to count on timely hitting in close, low-scoring games. The White Sox are 2-12 when scoring three or fewer runs. They're 3-6 in one-run games.
Moreover, Dunn is on a hot comeback trail. Dunn's current slash line is .241/.382/.587, which is far, far better than the slash line of .159/.292/.277 that he posted last season. His .969 OPS is an amazing 400 points better than his 2011 mark.
Dunn's slugging ability has come around completely. This is shown not only by the fact that his slugging percentage is more than twice of what he posted last year, but also the improved basic numbers. Dunn has 16 home runs, five more than last year. At that, he has hit as many home runs this month as he did all of last season.
Typically not much of a doubles hitter, Dunn has 10 so far this season. He's on pace for 33, which would be his fourth 30-double season.
Some might be concerned that Dunn is striking out at a historic rate. He has 76 strikeouts and is on pace for 251, which would shatter the record of 223 set by Mark Reynolds in 2009.
Also, his .241 batting average is alarming to some. That rate is negligible since Dunn walks often to put his on-base percentage 146 points higher than his batting average. Again, as long as his on-base percentage is high, he's getting on base just as he should.
However, as long as Dunn gets on base regularly and slugs well as he has, he won't have to worry about the strikeouts affecting his game.
If Dunn keeps up his pace, he'll have a career year. He's on pace for career highs in home runs, walks, slugging percentage, RBI and OPS. Dunn currently has 37 RBI and is on pace for 122, 16 more than his career high. He has 39 walks and is on pace for 129, one more than his career high.
He's on pace for 53 home runs, seven more than his career high.
His slugging percentage and OPS are four and 16 points higher than his career highs in the respective categories.
Many surely wonder whether Dunn can keep it up. Besides, he's 32 years old and his OPS is 90 points higher than his career average.
Dunn should be able to keep up his career rate. He started out at a decent home run rate, with five home runs in April. His on-base percentage was a nice .368 in April and his May split is currently .402. In April, his slugging percentage was a solid .513 and his May split is currently a spectacular .641.
With those splits, he should be able to keep up his career-year rate.
Fantasy owners need to pick Dunn up now. The White Sox slugger has been hitting steadily, and he should stay on track.