Change-UpDecember 31, 2008
A Viable Plan B?
By Patrick Sullivan

Both the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox lost out on the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes and are now left to figure out which roster tweaks remain both available and viable this off-season. In itself, not going to $180 million, $190 million, $200 million for Tex's services is perfectly defensible but that does not change the notion that if you are not improving while teams around you are, you're effectively getting worse. For both teams to maintain the competitive advantages they have enjoyed for the last handful of seasons, they would be wise to consider other options.

One player that both teams might consider is Adam Dunn. He is the same age as Teixeira and has experience at first base. This piece will go into some depth comparing the two to see if the Angels or Red Sox should consider Dunn, who will be available at a fraction of Teixeira's cost. Dunn has indicated he would like to play right field for the Cubs and the Dodgers have now reportedly turned their attention from Manny Ramirez to Dunn, but perhaps those teams that were so hot for Teixeira should hop into the bidding for Dunn's services as well.

There is one item to get out of the way before we dive in. Dunn has been an absolutely awful outfielder. Interestingly, four of the remaining corner outfield free agents this off-season are four of the worst fielders in all of baseball. Dunn, Ramirez, Pat Burrell and Bobby Abreu are all terrible with the glove. Thanks to Fangraphs, here are their average UZR/150 figures for the past three seasons.

Dunn     -16.6
Abreu    -14.9
Ramirez  -19.4
Burrell  -17.5

UZR/150 is defined on the site as follows:

UZR/150 (ultimate zone rate per 150 games): The number of runs above or below average a fielder is, per 150 defensive games.

That Dunn has been so terrible in the field is an important point because it dramatically hampers his overall value as a player when you consider him for an outfield position. This is why, if you want to compare Tex (a terrific defensive first baseman) and Dunn in terms of, say, Baseball Prospectus' WARP or Fangraphs' Value Wins, you see that the numbers pretty drastically favor Tex. So for the purposes of this exercise, or at least initially, we are going to stick to offense (we will circle back to Dunn's first base defense in a little bit).

Let's start with a look at each player's career batting numbers.

        AVG   OBP   SLG  OPS+  OWP  
Dunn   .247  .381  .518  130  .670 
Tex    .290  .378  .541  134  .673

Readers of this site do not need a tutorial on OPS+ but some may not be familiar with Offensive Win Percentage which, most simply, means the percentage of games your team would win if it consisted of nine of that given player, assuming average run prevention on the same team.

As you can see, there is not much difference here. But let's dig in a little more. Pictured below is a comparison of Tex and Dunn by wOBA (weighted on base average), a number created by Tom Tango to improve upon OPS by appropriately weighting on-base and then scaling it to league average on-base (like how EQA does the same with batting average). After the graph, I list each of their figures starting in 2003, because that was Tex's rookie season:

       Dunn    Tex
2003   .353   .345
2004   .403   .389
2005   .391   .405
2006   .365   .374
2007   .399   .406
2008   .383   .410

And how about the last three seasons, an arguably more reliable indicator of future performance?

       AVG   OBP   SLG  OPS+
Dunn  .244  .379  .518  126 
Tex   .298  .393  .541  141

Teixeira clearly outperforms Dunn when you look at their three-year numbers, but just as we did with the wOBA numbers, let's once again have a look at their numbers since 2003:

       AVG   OBP   SLG  OPS+
Dunn  .245  .379  .525  131 
Tex   .290  .378  .541  134

The narrowing is attributable to a few factors. For one, Dunn was terrific in 2004 (146 OPS+) and not so great in 2006 (114 OPS+). Adding his 2004 numbers is worthwhile because a 24 year-old who puts up such a great season is in all likelihood capable of doing it again at 29. This should be taken into consideration by incorporating more data; three-year splits omit Dunn's best work. And just so readers are clear that I am not cherry-picking, Dunn had a mediocre 2003 as well, which is accounted for. For Teixeira's part, his three-year numbers favor him because he has been consistent for much of the three years, and then went nuts as an Angel. If you run his numbers from Opening Day 2006 through his last game as an Atlanta Brave, his line is .286/.373/.536. Add in his Angels stretch of .358/.449/.632 and you get the three-year numbers above, .298/.393/.541. We don't want to eliminate these numbers. They happened, after all. What we want to do is bring in more data, so we note the numbers going back to 2003 and observe that there isn't a whole lot of difference between the two players offensively.

To be sure, there are stylistic differences between the two players. For one, Teixeira hits for more average and therefore will be a better RBI-man. Dunn walks more, and will therefore see more pitches per plate appearance. And here are their differences versus lefties and righties:

          vs. RHP        vs. LHP
Dunn  .252/.398/.539  .235/.359/.474
Tex   .281/.371/.541  .309/.393/.541  

Tex is a switch hitter and remarkably consistent from both sides. This will offer the Yankees tactical advantages, as opposing managers will not be able to use their bullpen to match-up against Tex in later innings. On the other hand, though his productivity is still respectable, Dunn falls off against lefties. But most pitchers are right-handed, and Dunn enjoys a considerable advantage over Tex in this department.

There exists, relative to Tex, limited data on Dunn's ability to play first base.

Fielding as 1B
       Games  Innings   UZR/150
Dunn    127     891.2   -12.5 
Tex     853   7,345.2     3.5    

Clearly Tex has been better, say a full win per season better, but what if Dunn were to play there more regularly? Isn't it conceivable that he could improve his first base glove work with more consistent play at the position? I don't think that he would ever catch Teixeira, but I think he could be within a win of him over the course of a season.

The case for Dunn hinges on four different points. First, as shown above, Teixeira and Dunn are very much comparable hitters. Tex was unreal down the stretch in 2008 and Dunn was mediocre in 2006 but if you go even further back - their numbers since 2003, their career numbers - you can see that there isn't much difference in productivity between them.

Second, while Dunn is a notoriously bad defensive player, he has earned the lion share of that reputation while toiling in the outfield. He is not a very good first baseman either but a couple of points warrant mentioning regarding his first base defense. There is a much narrower band between the worst and the best first baseman than there is for, say, the worst and best shortstop or even the worst and best right fielder. Relatively speaking, first base defense is of marginal importance. Moreover, it's likely that Dunn would improve at first if he got more regular time there.

Third, Dunn is known to be a laid back guy with a questionable work-ethic and desire to be the best he can be. This is important because he is currently a free agent, and teams need to perform their diligence in order to determine if he would be a worthwhile hire. So if I am the Red Sox, I say "We understand that you have been in Cincinnati for all of these years. Maybe you let your weight slip at times, maybe you didn't dig it out all the time on the base paths, maybe you lolligagged for a blooper or two here and there. But we still think you have the ability to be special. Will you join the reining AL MVP and Kevin Youkilis during the off-season at Athletes Performance Institute in Tempe? Because if you do, or if you make a similar commitment off the field, you will be a hero here in Boston."

And then just sit back. See what he has to say and make a judgment call. Corporations, Law Firms, Medical Facilities and just about any other entity that competes in some form or another has to make judgment calls on their talent. If Dunn lost 25 pounds and took 1,000 ground balls a day in the off-season, I think many would agree that he could be a top-tier MLB performer. Dunn's natural athleticism cannot be questioned; he was once recruited to be a quarterback at The University of Texas. He can become a decent first baseman. But I do think that signing Dunn would have to hinge on the belief that he would commit to being the best he could be.

Finally, teams need to take value into consideration. It's likely that the team that nets Dunn this off-season will do so for half as many years as Tex demanded and at an annual salary that is also half of what Tex signed for. From what I can see, when you take all of these components together, maybe Dunn would be a viable Plan B.

How does Dunn fit in with the contending teams that missed out on Teixeira? Rich Lederer emailed me regarding how it might play out with the Angels and had the following to say:

Dunn Could DH for the Angels and play occasionally in left or at first. Vladimir Guerrero in RF, Juan Rivera in LF, Kendry Morales at 1B, and Dunn at DH would be the way to go but Dunn could also play LF (allowing Rivera to DH or give Vlad a day off in RF) or 1B (with Morales serving as the DH). Gary Matthews could back all of them up, playing a corner outfield spot or DH'ing.

All that said, my sense is that Dunn is not a Mike Scioscia type. As such, I don't see the Angels signing him.

I think that all sounds about right. But how about the Red Sox? They were ready to trade Mike Lowell when they were in the running for Tex and there is no reason to believe that still wouldn't be the case with Dunn. Lowell is fragile, and has had all of one productive season in the last four or so. Dunn could play first with Youkilis at third. What makes this option even more interesting is that if Boston decides they do not want to re-sign Youkilis or pick up David Ortiz's option after the 2010 season, they have a new 1B/DH combo ready to go. Lars Anderson, who hit .316/.436/.526 finishing up the season in AA Portland last season, would be ready to assume first base duties. Dunn could move to DH. If Boston wanted to re-up Youkilis, he could still play third. Given personnel choices coming down the pike, adding Dunn would seem to make sense for Boston.

Make no mistake, Adam Dunn is not Mark Teixeira. He is not quite the hitter and he is most definitely not the defensive asset that Tex is. But the decision comes down to this. If you were willing to go more or less all-in on Tex, if he was your guy this off-season and you were ready to pony up nearly $200 million for eight years (and trade the 2007 World Series MVP in the process), how can you be uninterested in even kicking the tires on Dunn at a quarter of the total financial outlay, half the contract duration and half the annual salary? Make me Boston's GM and this is an option that I would be pursuing aggressively.


Good breakdown, your final point is the one that gets me -- why hasn't there been movement on Dunn with the Sox out of the Tex dealings for almost 2 weeks?

All I can think of is that the Sox have succeeded in no small part due to defensive efficiency, so maybe they're weighting that more heavily than the bat (which is right up their alley).

Excellent breakdown here, though, sadly, I think it just confirms what the readers here already know about Dunn. Now we just need to get a GM to log onto this site...

Regarding the Red Sox, though, I completely disagree with Dunn being a fit there. It's true that they were considering moving Lowell to make room for Tex, but they considered the latter to be a truly special player, with a close to perfect combination of skills. You rightly show that Dunn should be viewed in a similar offensive regard to Teixeira, but the rest of his game is lacking. In the end, how much better will the Red Sox be if you upgrade offensively from Lowell to Dunn, but take hits at TWO positions defensively when you put Dunn at first and move Youkilis to third?

More importantly, I question the "need" for an offensive upgrade in Boston. I DON'T think that's what Red Sox management was aiming for. I think they viewed Tex as a long term offensive force, a lineup anchor they could build around. People seem to think he would be there to replace Ortiz, but the Red Sox lineups since 2003 have been built around two great hitters in the middle of the order, with OBP, professional hitters in the rest of the lineup. Tex would have filled in for Manny, and if Ortiz did decline, would leave the Red Sox with only one top hitter to replace.

I do not, though, think the Sox wanted Teixeira because the think they needed an upgrade for NEXT year. Consider that the lineup performed very well once the team traded for Bay and had a stable lineup for the rest of the season. There is both room for regression (Drew, possibly Youk and Pedroia), but also room for growth (Ellsbury, Lowrie, Ortiz, catcher), and in the end it is reasonable to think the lineup will keep pace with the post-trade-deadline production; that was a 905 run full-season pace, by the way, which would have led the major last year.

How about touting Dunn for the Dodgers? His particular skill set should work well there...after all, LA isn't a tough HR park at all (certainly a skill of Dunn's), and while it is a pitcher's park, I bet Dunn's "three true outcomes" mentality of taking walks, striking out, and hitting homers would minimize any negative ballpark impact. Good fit.

1) Lowell's health is an obvious question. Meanwhile, Dunn has averaged 158 games per season over the last six. That should factor into the calculus.

2) I agree, the Sox don't "need" an upgrade and if I indicated otherwise in my write-up, I worded it wrongly.

3) I am not sure how Dunn fits in LA, as I would be eying him as a 1B/DH.

What the piece is trying to point out is that if you have interest in Mark Teixeira, to the point that you consider shelling out $175-200M, then it would only stand to reason that you might also want a player that would serve as a Tex proxy at a fraction of the cost.

As a Sox fan I think a three year commitment to Dunn, or even less if you can get it, is a fantastic idea. Put him 5th or 6th in that lineup and watch him hit .250/.390 with another 40 HRs. He'll strikeout a ton, as always, but the man can generate runs and being surrounded by solid hitters will only increase his production. Trade Lowell off to try and get a utility infielder or outfielder and a low level prospect and see what the club can do.

I'd like a bit more of a mix with a switch hitter than another lefty as Francona hates hitting two lefties next to each other in the lineup and Ortiz/Dunn/Drew need to be broken up, but there isn't anyone out there.

Bay and Youkilis can easily break up those three, no?

Another question to ask is: is signing Dunn for what he's going to sign for worth that much to your ballclub? If you can get by with a partial season of Lowell and a fill in player for dirt cheap, is that worth about the same as $12M for Dunn? I don't know the answer, I'm just posing the question.

I always think of Dunn as a taller version of Harmon Killebrew.

40 Hr, 100 BB, 150+ K's, Low batting average, Horrible defensive player. A good player with flaws.

I see Dunn as a DH.

A good fit for the Blue Jays or Twins.

Right, Bay and Youkilis can break them up, I just am not so sure on having Drew hit so far down in the lineup even though he tends to produce hitting 3rd or 5th. Maybe you hit Drew 5th for his better base running and contact ability but then you've got a 40 HR guy in the 7 spot. If you move Drew 7th, I feel like you're wasting him. Either way, a good problem to have. Then we'd just need to teach Ellsbury a bit more plate discipline.

1. Ellsbury
2. Pedroia
3. Ortiz
4. Youkilis
5. Dunn
6. Bay
7. Drew
8. Lowrie
9. Jason Varitek's corpse

Drew hits into more double plays than Dunn, so that is another reason to keep him 7th. Still, I can only imagine the rally killing potential of Dunn's strikeouts hitting 5th.

Very good article - great angle on this player.

I know Dunn is a perfect fit for somebody, I'm just not sure who. Maybe with his laid back attitude he won't pitch a fit if he sits often against LHP? That's a plus.

I still like him for the Angels, but I am nervous about the shift from the (minor) NL to the (major) AL to him, which is an important consideration not addressed in the article.

A streaky, all or nothing hitter with a marginal work ethic like Dunn doesn't get a long-term deal in this economy. I could see offering a two-year deal with an option.

I know Sabathia and Teixeira got mega-years from the Yankees, but I also sense they were bidding against themselves for much of the negotiating process.

Why is the leadoff spot just given to Ellsbury? That doesn't make much sense to me given how much he struggled last year. I think you'd rather start him down at the bottom of the lineup until he gets confident.

If Dunn were added, I'd propose:

1. Pedroia
2. Drew
3. Ortiz
4. Youkilis
5. Dunn
6. Bay
7. Lowrie
8. Catcher
9. Ellsbury

The OBPs of Pedroia/Drew/Ortiz/Youkillis guarentees that every HR Dunn hits would be with at least one guy on base (I'm being a little bit sarcastic here, but not entirely!).

Strikeouts are not rally killers for a #5 hitter. Double plays are.

Ellsbury could be better served at the bottom of the lineup, but then you have Drew (double plays) and Ortiz as back to back lefties. In 186 starts in the two hole for Drew, he's below average.

This is a no brainer.I love those walks, Hr's and RBI.Then, bring back Orlando Cabrera on a two year deal and add 180 base hits.Then you can dangle the following for Mauer or H Ram. Ellsbury-Lowrie-Bucholtz and Bowden, or, any three of those four and cash. Sox win it all.

This is a no brainer.I love those walks, Hr's and RBI.Then, bring back Orlando Cabrera on a two year deal and add 180 base hits.Then you can dangle the following for Mauer or H Ram. Ellsbury-Lowrie-Bucholtz and Bowden, or, any three of those four and cash. Sox win it all.

I see Dunn as a great fit for the Mets. Although defensively challenged, he could slot in LF in year 1 and replace Delgado at 1b for the next two years (assuming a 3 year contract). Although a righty would balance the lineup better, I also think his skill set at the plate would be ideal as a number 2 hitter behind a pure base stealer like Reyes, who you don't want to waste an out sacrificing over. Dunn takes a lot of pitches and is a fastball hitter meaning, with Reyes on, Reyes could run and Dunn is going to get pitches he could hit a long way.

An NL lineup like this would be imposing:


Oddly, there has been almost no mention of Dunn to the Mets. Because he can play firstbase, he seems like a better fit than Abreu or Burrell and comes at a huge discount to Manny.

using marcel projections and their career fielding at first base, tex is a $22.68M player while dunn is a $12.02M player.

That 22.68 is stunningly close to his contract average (22.5), but of course he'll be 29 next season so they wont be getting that for all 8 years.

Dunn will almost definitely get more than that $12M, but that difference in value will show in that he will NOT get teix's 8 years


Regarding the main point in question: "What the piece is trying to point out is that if you have interest in Mark Teixeira, to the point that you consider shelling out $175-200M, then it would only stand to reason that you might also want a player that would serve as a Tex proxy at a fraction of the cost."...

What I'm getting at is I don't think the Red Sox want, or ever wanted, a Tex proxy. The idea was that they loved Texeira so, soooo much that they made him a huge target, enough of one that they were willing to go out of their way (with contract and with a trade of someone like Lowell) to make him work. They did not seek him because they needed a one-year or even short-term (3ish years) solution, but because they loved his overall skills.

Once they missed out on him, though, "that train had sailed", and it was on to other things. Picking up a Tex proxy would defeat the whole purpose of what the Sox wanted out of Tex in the first place; not the solution to a need, but a luxury that would offer long term competitiveness. Management probably wouldn't want a "Dunn" at any cost, no matter how cheap, because he was never needed or desired in the first place.

Coming around, though, I totally agree with what I saw as your main point, that Dunn can offer most everything offensively that Tex could, and if you're a team that wanted a Tex-like hitter, go get this guy! Again, it's something many of us have known for a long time, but traditional measurements just don't do Dunn justice, and he misses out because of that.

Dunn's HRs, walks and OBP look attractive, but I have this nagging feeling he could regress to become another Rob Deer. If I'm wrong, the team that signs Dunn should have a solid producer for at least a few years.


That's a nicely articulated comment and in all likelihood reflective of how the Red Sox are thinking.

But my question is this; how confident can the Sox be that Lowell will be healthy and/or effective? Because if Lowell goes down, it's Lowrie and Lugo on the left side of that infield.

So if you'll allow me to expand the definition of "need" to include depth then yes, I think the Sox "need" a corner infield answer that covers them for when Lowell goes down.

Given questions about Lowell and the distinct possibility that Youk and Ortiz are not members of the 2011 Red Sox, I still think Dunn make tons of sense.

very good article to show the offensive value that dunn has.

the one problem i had with the article was an improvement in his defensive play. If it only took 1000 ground balls and an off-season workout plan (it's arleady January) to get a guy better defensively, then guys like Jason Giambi would have improved dramaticly each year due to all the practice he has put in at firstbase. Just because a guy practices a position does not necessarily mean he will get better at it. There is a certain agility and instincts that a player learns growing up that becomes second nature for them. I think Dunn is long past that at his age, weight and size.

I think dunn is a perfect DH and im surprised more AL teams are not going after him as he is a very deadly offensive force, as you pointed out.

Other then the thought that dunn can improve defensively, i think you did a great job with the article.

Anthony, that's a perfectly reasonable point and thanks for raising it. I also think it highlights a neat distinction of what Baseball Analysts is all about.

We look at the game first and foremost as analysts. And yet, we are not doing the work that THT, BP or Fangraphs (among others) are doing to make more and more precise the accuracy of quantitative baseball metrics.

Rich will sit and watch the Area Code Games at Blair Field. Rich and I had the pleasure of having breakfast with Bill James before a Sox game this past year. We both keep contacts within baseball that help us to balance the importance of both qualitative and quantitative metrics.

To get back to the point on Dunn. You can contend that Dunn has no chance to be a good first baseman and you might be right. But you have to do a better job than simply asserting that my prescription would be inadequate. He is a remarkable natural athlete whose body has changed to the point where, now, he would probably not be a good first baseman. But I think he could be. I can't prove it, but I think it. I am not saying it's proof positive, just stating my opinion.

As for Giambi, I don't think it's a good comp because Giambi has been a 1B for so long. We know him to be a poor 1B. For some, heck, for most, simple hard work would be inadequate. But I happen to think that Dunn, with regular playing time and hard work, could make himself a good 1B.

Thanks for the comment.

Patrick Sullivan(Sully),

Thanks for the response. You are right, I do need to do a better job then just asserting that your formula for defensive improvement is wrong.

As a former college baseball player, I know how difficult it is to improve in certain areas of the game. Even for myself, who was a four sport college athlete(divison III level, so nothing special), it is through my experience and from learning and seeing from others that defense is a fundamental talent that is best learned at a younger age. It’s not always about who practices the position the hardest, but rather the one who is most athletic physically and mentally, and has made the certain agility needed to be good at the position second nature.

I believe you are saying that because Adam Dunn is newer to the position then say a Jason Giambi, Dunn will be able to see more of an improvement due to the fact he was never shown the fundamentals, and as he learns them he should improve. Where as Giambi has known the fundamentals for a long time but is at his peak physical ability to become a better fielder. I would have to say I agree with that. As Dunn becomes more fundamentally sound at first base, he should improve, but my feeling from past experience is that the improvement will only be slight and very minimal because of Dunn’s weight, height, size, lack of agility and age(I only say age because of his lack of agility. If he was more agile, I don’t think his age would be a factor). My belief is that if physical attributes do not affect the limit to which a player can perform then any player could become excellent at the area of study, which I do not think is the case, because if it was there would be excellent fielders at each position. That is the baseball player in me talking and I know it goes against what statistical analysis is about, I need to prove it in the numbers.

I am a big fan of statistics and sabermetrics as I believe it does allow for a better analysis of a players past performance and gives a good indication for what to expect in the future. I study many readings, such as BP’s “Baseball Between the Numbers”, THT’s “Baseball Annual” and many others to try to get a better reading on a player. I am also going to be a video scout intern for Baseball info Solutions this coming year. Although I am confident with sabermetrics, I would not say I’m anywhere close to being an expert, thus proving that Dunn’s physical attributes hinder him from becoming an adequate first baseman will be difficult.

First, I went to Fangraph to look more at his fielding numbers over the past 3 seasons. He has progressively gotten worse as an outfielder for URZ/150 over that time (-11.0 in ‘06, -16.3 in ‘07, and -22.6 in ‘08). He is steadily becoming one of the worst outfielders in baseball and a serious liability for a team defensively. I also looked at Dunn’s URZ/150 for first base, which was a -12.5 for his career. Now Dunn only has played 891.2 innings at first, which is not even equivalent to a full season, so it is a little unfair to hold that against him.

According to BP’s “Baseball Between the Numbers,” in Chapter 3-2 -”Did Derek Jeter Deserve the Gold Glove”, it breaks down the Bills James defensive Spectrum as such,

1B-LF-RF-3B-CF-2B-SS-C (from left to right, easiest to hardest)

Through this spectrum and Table 3-2.3, they were able to figure out roughly how much defensive value a player would gain from moving down the spectrum. According to the Table, Dunn, who mostly played Left Field last year, would see a change of .1 FR if he were to move to First Base. This is a very slight change. This obviously is not set in stone, and people defy numbers all the time, but for the most part, things do not look good for him there.

Back to Dunn’s first base numbers. I mentioned before his career -12.5 URZ/150, that would have ranked second worst in the majors for first base only ahead of Mike Jacobs, an awful first baseman. Without question Kevin Youkilis is far superior to that, but what I found even more interesting was the fact that compared to Dunn, David Ortiz is statistically a lot better at the position with a -1.5 URZ/150 after 2002. From 2002 till present, with a sample size of 935.1 innings (similar to Dunn’s 891.2), Ortiz has been a much better defensive first baseman. Now Ortiz came up as a first baseman and has played that position even in the minors, so he is much more experienced then Dunn, but I still find it pretty interesting that a guy who is looked upon as an awful first baseman is so dramatically better in the same period of time and with relatively the same sample sizes. Again, Dunn could improve through learning basic skills of the position, so it is possible that he can close that gap a little.

One thing I wanted to do was find somebody within the past couple years that has moved from the outfield to first base to see the progress he made (the reason I wanted someone from now is because it is easier to get better defensive stats of the player). The first person who popped into my head was Lance Berkman. Berkman was an outfielder who is now an everyday first baseman. Looking at Lance, as an outfielder he had a career -5.3 URZ/150, mostly because of he struggles in RF (career -17.8). Berkman is now considered one of the better first basemen in baseball and ranks near the top of the list for the position. Now one may look at this and see it as hope for Dunn, but I think the numbers are a little misleading. First, at all outfield positions, Berkman was far more superior then Dunn

Berkman- (-17.8)
Dunn- (-64.1)

Berkman- (.5)
Dunn- (-9.6)

Berkman- (.6)

Berkman was clearly a much better outfielder than Dunn as Lance was better then average at 2 of the 3 outfield position while Dunn was awful in both LF and RF (Dunn never played CF). Also, Berkman was showing improvement in his outfield play prior to 2005 when he switched to become mainly a first baseman, whereas Dunn right now is showing regression and is getting much worse in the outfield.

Breaking down Dunn statistically, I can not see how he could improve very much. I think there is slight improvement that can occur as Bill James Defensive spectrum shows, but it seems to show that any improvement should be minimal. As for the comparison to Berkman, Berkman was an average outfielder who was continuing to improve his defense before being moved to first, whereas Dunn is an awful outfielder just getting worse, I don’t see how Dunn can have the same success as Berkman. Also, the stats show that if the Red Sox where to get Dunn, they would be better off putting Ortiz at first base and making Dunn the DH. This would allow them to move Youkilis to 3rd which statistically he is a better fielder at.

Lastly, and back to the physical part of the game, Dunn is getting slower and slower each year and first base is a reaction position for ground balls. I feel as though Dunn’s slowness and lack of quickness and agility will hinder him and hold him back from becoming even below average. This part of my opinion is all based off my experience of the game and in no way am I saying that I am right. For all I know I could be completely wrong about this, and you completely right or vice-versa, we will never actually know until it happens. Again, I think your analysis of Dunn is excellent and I respect your opinion very much. Hopefully when I start my internship with BIS in March I will be able to gain more knowledge and have an endless supply of stats to work with and to supply to a conversation.