Is former Reds slugger Adam Dunn overrated or underrated?
Adam Dunn, or The Big Donkey as he’s colloquially referred to around the big leagues and in his hometown of Houston, Texas, is one of my favorite Cincinnati Reds of all-time. Is he the best Reds hitter of all time? No, but this Reds’ fan thinks a serious argument could be made on his behalf to erect a plaque in Cooperstown with the Big Donkey’s grin. However, I may be a bit biased.
Cincinnati used their 50th overall selection in the 1998 MLB Draft to take Dunn in the second-round. The Reds called Dunn up to The Show in July of 2001. The Reds needed a spark in the lineup, which Dunn almost immediately provided. In August 2001, Dunn set the National League rookie record for home runs in a month with 12. That record stood until Cody Bellinger hit 13 during June of 2017.
While Adam Dunn is no stranger to setting records, not all records were ones you’d hang your hat on. Dunn ranks third on the all-time strikeout list (2,379) and is fourth in golden sombreros (striking out four times in a game 19 different times). At least Dunn can say he’s tied on that list with Bo Jackson. Pretty good company, right?
That was the essence that was Adam Dunn, go big or go home. You knew when Dunn was at the plate he was swinging for the fences. He was either going to hit a ball to the other side of the river into Kentucky, or give every player in the infield a cool breeze from his bat on a hot summers day with a swing and a miss, nearly coming out of his shoes.
Dunn’s Reds teams didn’t win a lot, and they vastly underperformed, but were exciting to watch. Dunn played a little under 8 seasons for the Reds, no doubt they were the better years of his career.
After being a rental for the Diamondbacks for 44 games, Adam Dunn spent the last part of his career with the Nationals, White Sox, and about a month with the A’s. In a Reds uniform Dunn, ranks 5th all-time in homers (207), 20th in RBIs (646), and 7th (755).
Now this begs the question; is Adam Dunn overrated? As a member of the Cincinnati Reds, absolutely not. I don’t say this lightly, but Dunn outperformed Griffey during The Kid’s time in a Reds uniform. Granted Griffey was injured… A LOT, but we are talking value here. Don’t believe me? Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr. comparison
Dunn is tied for 37th all-time with Jose Canseco on the all-time home runs list with 462 dingers. The left-handed hitting Dunn was a two-time All-Star, 11th all-time in home runs per at-bat (14.89), hit 40 home runs in five consecutive seasons, and finished with career WAR of 17.9.
In the mind of this fan, Adam Dunn is underrated. A quick glimpse at the Big Donkey’s stats may lead there casual fan to disagree, but watching Dunn hit a baseball was worth the price of admission. There wasn’t anything overrated about what Dunn did on the field, and rightfully so he’s enshrined forever in the Reds Hall of Fame