So I’m an intern at Fox Sports Radio and tonight was my first night. I was happily surprised when I and my friend Ethan got to jump on the radio and talk baseball for a segment (roughly twenty minutes). We got on the topic of Albert Pujols and how he may or may not come to the Cubs. That, of course, lead to the Adam Dunn signing and the one host, John Popovich, said “There’s no way Adam Dunn will hit forty homers this year.” Even though I smiled and disagreed, this got the back of my mind working.
What if Adam Dunn doesn’t hit forty homers this year? What if Adam Dunn doesn’t produce the way we’re projecting him to? What if he strikes out 220 times?
We’re placing a lot of expectations on a guy who has never even played in the American League. He’s faced a handful of these pitchers in interleague play, but that isn’t the same as playing 162 games a season and seeing some guys five or six times each.
It’s nice to look at Dunn’s stats and think “Man, I can’t believe we have this guy.” Then you have to jump into reality and face the truth that he might not perform like that. Sure he’s hit 46 homers in a season and has driven in 100 runs a few times. It isn’t guaranteed that he’ll do it again. Nothing is guaranteed.
I’m not trying to sound like Debbie Downer here, I’m really excited that we brought in Dunn for the 2011 season. Konerko, Dunn, and Rios (not necessarily in that order) in the 3-4-5 slot should be able to match Mauer, Morneau, and Cuddyer up in Minnesota. Heck, they could even do better than those three guys. I’d love for Adam Dunn to club fifty homers and drive in 120, for all we know right now it could happen.
But for every upside there’s a downside.
Nobody thought Jake Peavy would tear his arm clean off his shoulder and miss the remainder of the 2010 season.
Nobody thought Carlos Quentin would randomly break his hand back in 2008. I know I joked yesterday about how he was practicing krav maga, but that ruined our playoff hopes. Sure we still made it but if we had Quentin we could’ve gone farther than we did.
However, like I mentioned, there are upsides as well.
Nobody thought Paul Konerko and Alex Rios would bust out like they did, Konerko finishing fifth in AL MVP voting because of it.
Nobody thought a kid who was in college in March would be saving games in the Major Leagues by August the same year.
The beauty of baseball is that we have no idea what will happen, to whom it’ll happen, and when it will happen to that person. Be it good or bad, this sport is completely random and in my mind that’s what makes it so compelling.
So sure Adam Dunn might not hit forty homers. Sure he couldn’t even get to thirty. But it’s the thought that he might lead us to the playoffs and earn every penny Kenny Williams is paying him that is making me excited for this season.
41 days until Opening Day.