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Considering the incredibly awful season that Adam Dunn had in 2011, he had nowhere to go but up.
Dunn hit .159 with just 11 home runs in his first season with the Chicago White Sox. Had Dunn qualified for the batting title, he would have recorded the worst hitting season in MLB history.
There's no question Dunn's 2012 season was far more productive. He clubbed 41 home runs while leading the majors in walks (105).
However, he also led the majors in strikeouts (222) and still only hit .204 on the season.
His teammate, center fielder Alex Rios, was for me a better choice for this award.
Rios slumped badly in 2011 as well and came back with a stellar 2012 season.
Here's a breakdown of Rios' last two years.
2011: .227 BA, .265 OBP, .613 OPS, 13 HR, 44 RBI, 11 SB
2012: .304 BA, .334 OBP, .850 OPS, 25 HR, 91 RBI, 23 SB
If we're looking at a complete turnaround between teammates, Rios wins hands down.
However, the turnaround that should have been recognized the most was by Tampa Bay Rays closer Fernando Rodney.
After two very unfulfilling years with the Los Angeles Angels, the Rays took a chance and signed Rodney to a $1.75 million contract. Rodney was certainly looked upon as a reclamation project at the time.
Rodney's effort for the Rays in 2012 was nothing short of outstanding—48 saves, a miniscule 0.60 ERA and 0.777 WHIP, and he gave up just 5.2 hits every nine innings.
While Dunn and Rios put forth excellent comeback seasons, Rodney's season by far trumps both.