Adam Dunn: Frank Thomas Had Nearly the Same Struggles When Moving to DH

Chris MurphyAnalyst IJune 27, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 20: Adam Dunn #32 of the Chicago White Sox fouls off a pitch against the Chicago Cubs at U.S. Cellular Field on June 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the White Sox 6-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Judging by the booing at U.S. Cellular field and the buzz every time Adam Dunn has two strikes on him, as if they are watching a car accident about to happen, Chicago White Sox fans seem to be well aware of Dunn's struggles.

In the 79th game for the White Sox, of which Dunn has participated in 67, Dunn recorded his 100th strikeout of the year in his third four-strikeout game of the season. He's two for his last 26, 1-for-53 against left-handers and 14-for-111 at home, which makes for a lot of deserved boos.

White Sox radio announcer Ed Farmer will damn fans for booing Dunn, but I'm not sure the people paying close to $100 for a day at the ballpark to watch Dunn play will relate to a guy making $12 million this year to play baseball or scolding from a guy getting paid to sit and talk about baseball.

Normal people are fired for being terrible at their job for three months.

I think $12 million is worth a few boos, Ed; stick to being horrible at telling radio listeners what you see during baseball games and fans will stick to booing and cheering, while helping pay your salary for some reason.

Clearly, the baseball world knows Dunn is struggling and he's climbing the ranks toward Alfonso Soriano and Ben Wallace in Chicago free-agent flops.

The greatest thing about sports is there is always hope. Granted, in most cases it's a fool's hope, but it's still hope.

I bring you hope for Adam Dunn.

Moving to DH apparently isn't as easy as it seems. Just ask one of the greatest hitters in the history of the game, Frank Thomas.

In 1998, for the first time in his career, Thomas played more games at DH than at first base.

In 146 games at DH and 14 games at first base, Thomas had the worst season of his then young career, batting .265 with a .381 on-base percentage, .480 slugging percentage, .861 OPS, 29 homers, 109 RBI, 109 runs, 93 strikeouts and 110 walks. 

In the previous season, with 97 games at first and 49 games at DH, Thomas hit .347 with a .456 OBP, .611 slugging, 1.067 OPS, 35 homers, 125 RBI, 110 runs, 69 strikeouts and 110 walks.

Adam Dunn is not Frank Thomas; few hitters are.

Regardless, if moving from an every-day fielder, which you have been from little league on up, to DH was hard on Thomas, it's not easy. There are some grueling mental aspects to it.

As a DH, you're literally pinch-hitting four times a game with no chance to make up for a miscue at the plate with your defense, so each at-bat is all you got.

Now, this is no excuse. Dunn is getting paid good money to bat four times a game and have far fewer worries of getting injured thanks to the move. It's nice job security.

It is just something to think about.

As for the hope, I promised; in 135 games, due to injury, in 1999, Thomas hit .305 with a .414 OBP, .471 slugging, 15 homers and 77 RBI and in 2000, hit .328 with a .436 OBP, .625 slugging, 43 homers and 143 RBI.

As for the pessimists out there, Dunn isn't Thomas.