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2012 Golden Sombreros: April


Rk Player Date ▴ Tm Opp Rslt PA AB H RBI BB SO WPA RE24 aLI
1 Matthew Joyce 2012-04-06 TBR NYY W 7-6 4 4 0 0 0 4 -0.222 -1.104 2.190
2 Brent Morel 2012-04-06 CHW TEX L 2-3 4 4 0 0 0 4 -0.121 -1.089 1.117
3 Matt Garza 2012-04-12 CHC MIL W 8-0 4 4 0 0 0 4 -0.033 -1.228 .360
4 Adam Dunn 2012-04-13 CHW DET W 5-2 4 4 0 0 0 4 -0.084 -1.171 .735
5 J.D. Martinez 2012-04-16 HOU WSN L 3-6 5 4 0 0 1 4 -0.002 -0.572 1.150
6 Kevin Youkilis 2012-04-17 BOS TEX L 3-18 4 4 0 0 0 4 -0.039 -0.833 .375
7 Clete Thomas 2012-04-18 MIN NYY W 6-5 4 4 0 0 0 4 -0.102 -1.439 .805
8 Josh Hamilton 2012-04-21 (2) TEX DET L 2-3 5 5 0 0 0 4 -0.231 -1.182 1.748
9 Chris Johnson 2012-04-23 HOU MIL L 5-6 5 5 1 1 0 4 -0.152 -0.879 2.238
10 Kelly Johnson 2012-04-27 TOR SEA L 5-9 5 5 1 0 0 4 -0.064 -0.758 .860
11 Kelly Shoppach 2012-04-27 BOS CHW W 10-3 5 5 1 1 0 4 -0.120 -0.255 .982
12 Seth Smith 2012-04-30 OAK BOS L 6-11 5 4 0 0 0 4 -0.026 -0.491 .316

Golden Sombrero: Adam Dunn (4/13/2012)

Date: April 13, 2012 vs. Detroit Tigers

Bottom 1: Adam Dunn struck out swinging against Max Scherzer (8 pitches)

Bottom 4: Dunn struck out swinging against Scherzer (6 pitches)

Bottom 6: Dunn called out on strikes against Scherzer (7 pitches)

Bottom 8: Dunn struck out swinging against Daniel Schlereth (9 pitches)


Final Line: 0-for-4, 4 K

RE24: -1.2

WPA: -0.083 

Notes: Give the big man a break; he’s three true outcome type of guy. Plus, he saw 30 pitches over four at-bats, and that’s pretty damn amazing.

Total 2012 Sombreros: 4

2011 Sombreros in Review: Adam Dunn

What’s there to say about Adam Dunn’s 2011 season that hasn’t already been said?  With an fWAR of -2.9 over 496 plate appearances, Dunn had one of the worst seasons in baseball history and recorded career lows in nearly every offensive category.  He finished the season with a triple slash line of .159/.292/.277, wRC+ of 59, .118 ISO, 27 extra-base hits, and a measly 42 RBI.

Along the way, the big man amassed three golden sombreros, putting him in a seven-way tie for first place in Major League Baseball.  He picked up his first on May 21 against the Dodgers and then followed it up with his second on May 26 against the Blue Jays.  The final sombrero came exactly a month later at the hands of the Washington Nationals.

Absolutely nothing went Dunn’s way in 2011; he hit like crap and was an utter disappointment in his first season with the White Sox.  There wasn’t a single moment where it seemed as though Dunn might turn the corner.  He never hit that dramatic walk-off bomb in front of a sold out home crowd or had a multi-home run game to rally the troops in his favor.

So what can be attributed to Dunn’s abysmal season? Well, his 35.7% strikeout rate is a good but obvious starting point.  In 415 at-bats this season, Dunn set a franchise record by fanning 177 times.  And although his penchant for striking out is as much of a defining trait as his longball potential, nothing pointed towards a complete offensive collapse.

In 2010, Dunn absolutely torched fastballs, as evidenced by a 32.1 wFB.  This past season, however, he posted a wFB of -8.5 (!), which is easily the worst of his storied career.  His inability to square up fastballs in turn damaged his approach at the plate, causing him to struggle mightily against offspeed pitches: -7.2 wSL (0.7 in 2010), -3.6 wCT (-2.5 in 2010), and -5.8 wCH (-3.9 in 2010) – all career lows.

Dunn also recorded a 57.8% O-Contact% (contact percentage on pitches thrown outside the strikezone), which, when supplemented by his 9.6% HR/FB rate, explains why he was seldom feared by opposing pitchers; they could comfortably attack him within the strikezone without the fear of 450-foot repercussions.

Here is Dunn’s ‘Swing Pitch Type’ chart from this past season:

While his selectiveness was decent—he did manage to coax 75 walks (15.1%)—Dunn simply was unable to consistently drive pitches within the strikezone, something that he’d never really struggled with.  Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Dunn failed to provoke an intentional walk all season for the first time in his 11-year career.

Yet, what Dunn’s season indicates, more than anything else, is a total lack of comfort and confidence at the dish – a realm of the game that cannot be quantified. Sure we can delve through endless statistics in search of some type of rationalization, but there is no true, metric-based explanation for why a player who averaged nearly 40 home runs and 100 RBI per season would suddenly hit his way out of a starting line up.

As any hitter will tell you, there’s nothing more detrimental to one’s performance than a waning level of confidence at the plate.  Once that confidence begins to waver, a hitter suddenly becomes susceptible to a slew of problems – some old, some new.  After scuffling through the first month of the season, Dunn never quite turned the corner as everyone expected he would, including himself.  Instead, his season spiraled out of control, as he absorbed the majority of the blame for the White Sox struggles, which in turn compounded his own personal issues.

Golden Sombrero: Miguel Olivo (No. 3)

Bottom 2: Miguel Olivo struck out swinging against Ivan Nova

Bottom 4: struck out swinging against Nova

Bottom 7: struck out swinging against Jamey Wright

Bottom 9: flew out to center against Rafael Soriano

Bottom 11: struck out swinging against Corey Wade

Final Line: 0-for-5, 4 K

Notes: Olivo recorded his third golden sombrero of the season in Wednesday night’s extra-inning game against the Yankees.  In his first sombrero, Olivo accomplished the feat while hitting cleanup for the Mariners.  This time around, the aging backstop did it out of the six-hole.  His second sombrero also came against the Yankees in late July, and he’s now tied with Adam Dunn, Kelly Johnson, Jayson Werth and Grady Sizemore for the league lead. And I wouldn’t rule out it happening again this season considering that his strikeout rate sits at 28%, which is above his career strikeout rate of 26.4%, and he’s already made the most plate appearances of his career.

Total 2011 Sombreros: 115

Changeups and Screwballs: A Southpaw’s Perspective for 9/2/11

–       Stephen Strasburg’s final rehab start has come and gone.  He again looked supreme in comparison to the hitters he faced.  He even appears to have more of a mental edge after recovering from Tommy John.  Watching the way he carried himself, and the mound presence he exuded, gave me goose bumps.  MLB hitters be wary.  Strasburg is about to eat your soul.

–       Had a conversation with a friend last night and discussed what it was like to face Matthew Moore as a senior in high school.  My friend faced him twice that year and said he went from being “…Unreal the first time I faced him…to absolutely unhittable the next time I faced him.”  I can’t wait to see how Moore does with the Rays.

–       Tim Lincecum has finally reached stardom- sort of.  He has his own t-shirt.  The sillohette is pretty good, including the fantastic job they did with his hair.  However, $38 for a t-shirt is stupid.

–       Anybody who says the power/speed guy is history has no idea what they are talking about.  The 20/20 guy is alive and well in major league baseball.  There are currently seven players who have already reached this mark with more than 15 others who are a mere five HR’s or SB’s shy of reaching the milestone.

–       It’s no wonder the White Sox are struggling the way they are.  They are rostering three of the most detrimental players in the game.  Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, and Juan Pierre have all posted negative fWAR’s so far this season.  Adam Dunn at -2.6, Rios at -1.2, and Pierre at -0.1.   Good luck getting that extension Ozzie Guillen.

–       Goodbye Carlos Zambrano.  The Cubs have said he will not pitch again this season- yet they will still pay him.  Sounds like a cushy job.  Until you realize that we won’t be seeing anything like this again this season.