Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after hitting a three-run homer against the Texas Rangers at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)
Adam Dunn is having a productive season. The more numbers he puts up, the bigger his chance to top some very odd leaderboards.
That "quite a bit" has been reduced somewhat; Dunn stands at 153 strikeouts entering Friday's White Sox game against the Angels. The White Sox have 58 games remaining; Dunn has averaged 1.49 strikeouts per game played. If he maintains that average, he'll wind up with 239 strikeouts, not as many as the 254 projected in my earlier feature, but still enough to leap over the current record, 223, set by Mark Reynolds in 2009.
Reynolds set another record in 2009, and that's the purpose of this exercise -- Dunn has a chance to set all kinds of strange records this season. In 2009, Reynolds hit .198 while hitting 32 home runs. That's the lowest batting average for anyone who had a 30-homer season. Dunn's BA currently stands at .211, so he's got a shot at that one, too.
That got me looking up other such marks. What about 40, or 50, home runs?
Turns out Dunn already holds one of those; he's got the lowest BA for anyone who had a 40-homer season, .234 in 2006. (He also holds second place on that list, .236 in 2008.) It seems pretty clear that he'll hold the top three spots for that after this year; he'd have to hit about .290 for the rest of the year to avoid breaking his own record, an unlikely number; Dunn hasn't hit for that high an average over a two-month period in more than two years.
The lowest BA for anyone who had a 50-homer season -- and Dunn has a shot at such a season; it'd be the first one of his career -- is .260. That's Jose Bautista, who did that while hitting 54 home runs in 2010. He's one of just three players to hit lower than .270 in a 50-homer season (the others: Andruw Jones, .263 with 51 HR in 2005, and Roger Maris, .269 in his 61-homer season in 1961).
Dunn is leading the American League in home runs with 31. The lowest BA for a player who led his league in home runs is .204; that one's held by Dave Kingman, who hit .204 for the 1982 Mets while leading the National League with 37 dingers.
In addition to leading the AL in home runs, Dunn also leads in the other Three True Outcomes categories (77 walks, 153 strikeouts). That's 261 out of 446 plate appearances for Dunn that have resulted in a TTO, 58.5 percent. Back in June, Southside Showdown listed the top five TTO seasons by percentage:
Player Team Year TTO% Jack Cust Athletics 2007 58.2 Jack Cust Athletics 2008 57.0 Mark McGwire Cardinals 1998 56.8 Jack Clark Cardinals 1987 55.6 Mark Reynolds Diamondbacks 2010 54.7
Dunn sits as the current leader, then, but it's pretty close. He could also win the TTO Triple Crown; that's been done just eight times in major-league history. Four of those seasons were posted by Babe Ruth; it's happened just twice since 1930, and not since Dale Murphy did it in 1985. (You can find the complete list here, under the White Sox ranking.)
All of this needs to be qualified by the statement that Dunn is having a productive season. He made the All-Star team and his current .849 OPS ranks 21st among qualified hitters in the American League. His resurgence from an historically awful 2011 season is one of the reasons the White Sox lead the AL Central.
But it's worth noting that while doing so, he could top the leaderboards in some categories you usually wouldn't want to see.