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How low is too low?

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - White Sox DH Adam Dunn is Mr. Extreme. And no, that doesn't mean the 6-foot-6 slugger with the nickname "Donkey" enjoys BMX or skates with Shaun White on the weekends.

It means that everything Dunn does well, he does spectacularly so. Unfortunately, it's the same case for his failures.

Dunn's strengths are his ability to hit for power and to take a walk, both of which he does better than almost anybody in baseball. And when he does hit the ball out, he doesn't get shortchanged, depositing balls 450 feet away with relative ease. However, he also makes the trip back to the dugout after taking three strikes far more often than any other player, which puts a large dent in his batting average.

In many ways, Dunn has been a valuable fantasy contributor this season, hitting the most homers and taking the most walks in the league and ranking 10th in RBIs.

But since his .206 batting average is the major drawback to owning him, we must ask the question: how low is too low?

We loved Dunn back on May 28, when he had a .241 average with 16 homers, 37 RBIs, a .969 OPS and a 76/40 K/BB ratio in 49 games. It looked like Dunn was back to his old self after putting together one of the worst seasons by an everyday player in MLB history in 2011.

However, since then Dunn has just 39 hits, 15 of which were home runs, in 60 games, and a .179 batting average and .708 OPS in that span.

So, once again, how low is too low?

Dunn is currently ranked 71st overall in Yahoo! leagues, 24th among outfielders. Outfielders with a similar fantasy skill set who are ranked near Dunn include Jay Bruce (.245, 21 HRs, 67 RBIs), Hunter Pence (.263, 17 HRs, 66 RBIs), Corey Hart (.269, 21 HRs, 55 RBIs) and Nelson Cruz (.264, 18 HRs, 68 RBIs).

Owning the White Sox DH can be a maddening day-to-day grind due to his frequent o-fers, but peace of mind is not a fantasy category. So who you'd rather have between Dunn and those four players really depends on whether you think Dunn will more closely resemble the player he was in April and May or the one he's been since then for the rest of the season.

And frankly, I'm looking to abandon ship but I'm having trouble finding a life raft.

My fellow owners cannot look past the .206 average to see Dunn's positive contributions in homers, RBIs and runs, and I can't say I blame them. As a result, however, I'm having a hard time finding a trading partner who will give me fair value for Dunn because it's extremely difficult to quantify the value of a player who is hitting .206.

Dunn's ball-in-play percentage of 19 matches the one he posted last season and is also the worst mark in baseball this year by two percentage points. That means Dunn only puts 19 percent of the strikes he sees into play. It's impossible to sustain a solid batting average with that low of a ball-in-play percentage since a strikeout has a chance of becoming a hit zero percent of the time unlike a groundball or flyball. Dunn's contact percentage is also tied for third worst in baseball at 67 percent, one percentage point worse than last season.

Dunn's patience may be working against him, as he has seen the sixth most strikes in baseball while posting a 30 percent looking strike percentage, 17th worst among players who have seen at least 1,100 strikes this season. Or it could just be a lack of execution. The slugger has also seen the fourth most 2-0 counts and the third most 3-1 counts this season, but he's only hitting .185 after he sees a 2-0 count, .186 after a 2-1 count, and .219 after a 3-1 count.

Dunn may have one or two more stretches where he hits four homers in a five game span left this season, but his daily 0-for-4s in between those spurts are too damaging.

How low is too low? I think we've reached that point with Dunn.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.


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