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Friday, March 9, 2012

Power restored: the real Adam Dunn returns

Posted By on 03.09.12 at 01:00 PM

Last seasons Adam Dunn
In aptly named Surprise, Arizona, yesterday, Adam Dunn connected, twice. This in itself would have been major news last year, even if the balls he struck rolled back to the pitcher. But Dunn connected big time, as the sports experts like to put it, clouting a three-run homer and an RBI double.

We're not going to jump to any conclusions based on two good swings, are we? Yes, we are. It's March, after all, time to let our hopes get the best of us.

And so we've concluded that Dunn is back. Not the feeble flailing giant who breezed through 2011 as the expensive designated misser for the White Sox, but the slugger of 2001-2010. You can take it to the bank, put it on the board.

Last year, before the first strike was called on Dunn, we pointed out that his arrival had jeopardized the club's season strikeout record of 175, set by Dave Nicholson in 1963. Dunn ended up fanning 177 times, establishing our prognosticating savvy big time.

We also predicted Dunn would wallop 40 HRs, which proved slightly optimistic. (He hit 11.) Not even a doomsayer would have predicted he'd bat .159.

We followed Dunn's foibles all year on our exclusive Adam Dunn K Watch. We also sought answers to his troubles from psychologists, pharmacologists, phrenologists, physiologists, and pathologists, but we struck out: no one could explain it. Season 2011 will remain a mystery until Dunn's tell-all postcareer autobiography, My Windy Year in the Windy City: The Shocking Truth.

This year, we, like Dunn himself, are taking a new approach. Herewith, we begin our exclusive Adam Dunn HR Watch. We've consulted numerous scouts who've been watching Dunn up close this spring, and who say he's swinging like Babe Ruth. Actually, we heard from a guy on Twitter who heard from a guy on Twitter, who talked with a scout in a washroom in Surprise, who might have said Dunn was swinging like a big goof—but, as we said, it's March, and we're choosing to see only blue sky.

So, you're reading it here first: Adam Dunn will win comeback player of the year this season. He'll hit 30-plus homers. He'll also set another Sox strikeout record, since he won't be riding the bench and will have more K chances—but the long balls will make the whiffs forgivable big time. And Sox fans will enjoy the one-two punch of Paul Konerko and Dunn, a special delight after the one-zero punch last season.

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