5 players who could win MLB comeback player of the year award (part 1)

Posted: 03/03/2012 by levcohen in Baseball

Spring training has started, so it’s time to get into baseball mode. Today I will look at 2 players who had subpar years last year, and can vastly improve, and tomorrow I will look at 3 more.

Adam Dunn:

Last year’s stats: 415 AB, 11 homers, 44 RBI, .159 AVG, .292 OBP, .277 SLG, .569 OPS, 75 BB, 177 K

My projections for Dunn this year: 583 AB, 28 HR, 89 RBI, .252 AVG, .361 OBP, .493 SLG, .854 OPS, 88 BB, 204 K

Last year, Dunn had one of the worst seasons we have ever seen out of a regular player. A .159 average is almost impossible to maintain, unless of course you strike out as much as Dunn does. This awful season came right when we thought Dunn would continue to get better. Last offseason, he signed with the Chicago White Sox, where he would play half of his games at the ‘Cell, an easy place to hit homeruns. On top of that, he would be able to DH, and focus on just his hitting. People would no longer half to see his horrible fielding at 1B and worse, RF. Even if he didn’t improve on his stats, he was coming off of 7 straight seasons with more than 30 HR and 90 RBI. If nothing else, he was consistent, always good for 100 walks.

Last year, however, Dunn struck out an astounding 36% of the time. If he hadn’t been benched and gotten his regular 600 PA, he would have struck out 215 times. That, along with a .569 OPS, is one of the worst seasons ever, especially out of a player with so much power. He created only 37 runs, down from over 100 in the last 7 years. His total average (TB+ HBP+ BB+ SB- CS)/ (AB- H+ GS+ GIDP) was a disappointing .536, down from close to 1.000 two years ago. If the Sox had 9 Dunn’s last year, they would have had a .278 winning %. A few years ago that number was close to .700 %. Put that .278 into 162 games, and you have a 45-117 season, worse than any team has ever recorded. With that being said, Dunn is only 1 year on the wrong side of 30 years old. Players don’t decline that fast. I think my projections for Dunn are easily in Dunn’s range if he can find what is going wrong.

Hanley Ramirez:

Last year’s stats: 338 AB, 10 HR, 45 RBI, .243 AVG, .333 OBP, .379 SLG, .712 OPS, 20 SB, 10 CS

My projections this year: 573 AB, 25 HR, 88 RBI, .318 AVG, .387 OBP, .511 SLG, .898 OPS, 34 SB, 10 CS

Ramirez is another guy who’s talent level is way higher than he played last year. Some people might say he started trending downward due to injury but he was struggling long before his shoulder surgery. Not all is lost for HanRam though. He is still just 28 years old, and should be entering his prime right now. Before last year, he had 4 straight seasons of 20 home runs and a .300 AVG, tremendous stats for a SS. This year, he should have much more fun with new manager and great personality Ozzie Guillen. However, he has been known to have some attitude problems, and a move to 3B (with the signing of Jose Reyes) might not be what he wants. Let’s take a look at his stats last year:

Last year, Hanley’s batting average dropped 57 percentage points to .243, as did his power numbers. He created 44 runs, down from 100+ in the last 5 years. His total average (formula mentioned for Dunn) was just .676, down from over 1.000 a few years ago. If the Marlins had 9 Hanley’s hitting, their record would be slightly under .500. That number is astounding because, in the last 5 years, that number has been over .750. Not everything is bad for HanRam. At his age, he should easily rebound, and if he has the right attitude he is clearly the favorite for comeback player of the year with the kind of skillset he has. He must embrace his manager and must adjust to 3B before all that though.



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