Adam Dunn’s Greatest Accomplishment This Year, and My New Favorite Website

It’s been a tough year for White Sox slugger Adam Dunn by almost every metric. But thanks to a fantastic website, I found one stat by which he can claim bragging rights this season.

By now you’re surely aware that Adam Dunn has had a rough first year for the White Sox. He’s 80 points off his career average, 80 points off his career on-base percentage, and .280 off his career OPS (which is .885, so it’s a huge drop). He currently has far and away the lowest batting average of any qualified hitter, though he’s only 19th lowest in OBP. Which came as a pretty big surprise to almost everyone I know, given that Dunn has been one of the most consistent performers in baseball over the past few years.

Not all the things he does consistently are good, mind you, like striking out more than almost anyone else in baseball. But he also walks a lot, and hits a ton of home runs. For five straight years, he hit exactly 40 home runs, and 38 in the two subsequent years. Moving to the friendly confines of U.S. Cellular, most people expected a good year, even if Dunn is aging in baseball terms.

Obviously that hasn’t happened. But he does hold the MLB lead in something besides strikeouts (update: sorry, he leads the AL with 130, while Drew Stubbs of the Reds leads MLB with 135): the highest home run hit this year.

Usually when people think about home runs, they’re interested in the longest home run. But why not look at other metrics? For instance, the longest home run hit this year has been by Prince Fielder, at 486 feet.

But the hardest-hit home run, measured by speed off the bat, was a 5/22 shot by Juan Rivera, at 177.7 mph. (Both came against the Astros. Coincidence?)

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I know this thanks to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, which has provided me with endless entertainment. Want to know how many home runs were hit this year that would only be home runs in that ballpark? It can tell you that.

Which brings us to Adam Dunn. Of all the things that have gone wrong for him, he can say that he hit the home run with the highest apex so far this year, 150 feet, on Independence Day against Aaron Crow of the Royals, which put him above Joe DiMaggio on the all-time home-runs list. It took forever to come down.

It’s ten feet shy though, of last year’s highest, which Alfonso Soriano hit in last year’s Crosstown Classic:

By comparison, the home run with the lowest apex, not counting inside-the-park home runs, was one by Carlos Peguero of the Mariners, who’s hit two this year which peaked at 39 feet (no embed; here’s a link).

The shortest home run? 323 feet by Sam Fuld, inside Pesky’s Pole:

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