Adam Dunn finished his first year in a White Sox uniform with a .159 batting average and a franchise-high 177 strikeouts. His eleven home runs and 42 RBI were what Sox fans expected him to have in the middle of May, or into early June at the latest. But no, unfortunately Dunn finished with those numbers. Alex Rios had a slightly more productive season, batting .224 with 13 home runs in 145 games. If the Sox want to have success in 2012 they need these guys to bust out and ruin the AL Central.
Dunn’s 2011 season was either a fluke or a sign that Dunn isn’t who we thought he was. The fact that it was completely random makes me hope it was a fluke because Dunn, only 32-years-old, has never had a season that bad. His batting average dropped 101 points from 2010 and you could see by his body language that he was frustrated almost from the beginning. I’m just stating the obvious by saying that can’t happen again.
Alex Rios is a more interesting case. I suggested in a post about a week ago that Rios would be a fun project in the lead-off spot. Regardless of where he hits in the lineup he needs to either score runs or drive them in. He has speed but he’s also one of the stronger players on the roster. Rios’ 6-foot-5 frame and his crouching batting stance allow him to generate a lot of power. In 2010 Rios had a batting average of .284 with 21 home runs and 88 runs batted in – one of the best seasons of his career.
We can count on Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski, Carlos Quentin (should he not be traded during the Winter Meetings next week), and to some extent Alexei Ramirez to give us consistent numbers. Throw in the real Adam Dunn, a good season from Rios, and Dayan Viciedo and this offense will be unstoppable. Even just 50-60 homers and 160-180 RBI from Dunn and Rios would be enough to push this team to the next level.