EDITOR’S NOTE: This week, we’re rolling out the Dunn-O-Meter — kids use #DunnOMeter on the Twitter — our weekly measurement of just how bad Adam Dunn is…playing. It’s the easiest assignment we’ve ever had!
There are plenty of ways to sugarcoat Adam Dunn’s tenure on the Chicago White Sox: He’s a “three-true-outcome” guy, the White Sox haven’t handled him well, his 2012 season makes up for his historically bad 2011 season. But let’s be honest, he’s been bad enough that it’s really worth asking the question: Is Adam Dunn the worst DH in the history of professional baseball?
To put it blunty: Yup.
Below is a chart of the worst OPS seasons in MLB history, for players with at least 450 plate appearances, and who accumulated at least half of them as a designated hitter. Dunn’s .569 OPS of 2011 ties him with Ted Simmons for the worst in history. The league average of .730 is taken from FanGraphs’ estimate.
Obviously, OPS isn’t the only stat that matters, but when we consider that designated hitters are designated specifically to hit, OPS is clearly the strongest indicator of weakness. It took 20 years for anyone to touch the lows of Dave Parker and Alvin Davis, but Dunn managed in 2011. And if he continues to hit with a .617 OPS like he has so far this season, that would be good for the fourth-worst OPS season for a DH in history, earning him two spots on the coveted panel of regrettable signings.
Remember when Joe Posnanski called Dunn “The Least Exciting Player Ever” in 2011? Think he’s watching this year?