2010 Season in Review: Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn. He was acquired in the 2009 offseason from the Yankees in the Javier Vazquez trade along with Melky Cabrera and Arodys Vizcaino. Unlike Cabrera and Vizcaino (well, yet for Vizcaino), Dunn was able to positively produce at the major league level, but he spent a good chunk of his season in Gwinnett. Without any further ado...
At AAA Gwinnett and Atlanta: 4-0, 1.63 ERA, 66 1/3 IP, 46 H, 2 HR, 42 BB, 91 K
Despite his overall low ERA and unblemished win/loss record at the two levels he played it, it was really a tale of 2 seasons for effectiveness for Dunn. In Gwinnett, his FIP was 2.35, thanks to one homer allowed (thanks A LOT to this), a crappy 4.75/9 walk rate, and a fantastic 12.16/9 K rate. Go to the majors, and things turn around...well, things aside from his ERA of course. Dunn also allowed one homer in the majors, while his walk rate shot up to 8.05/9 (nearly a batter per inning), and his strikeout rate also rose, albeit a little bit more slightly, to 12.79/9. You're not going to survive walking nearly a batter per inning in the majors no matter how many men you strike out. Dunn was ridiculously lucky that's to his low homer rate.
Down in Gwinnett, Dunn was an absolute lefty MURDERER: in 20 innings pitched, he allowed 9 hits while walking 13 and striking out 36. The walks are an issue, but the lack of hits and high strikeout rate are good signs. He was pretty good against them in the majors too, allowing a .211 batting average in 38 at bats, walking 6 and striking out 18.
So its clear to me that Dunn's role in the future will be comparable to that of Eric O'Flaherty: a LOOGY who it wouldn't kill you to keep in for a righty if there are lefties following him. There will probably only be room for one of them in the pen in 2011, however. Dunn is still under pre-arbitration team control and is dirt cheap, while O'Flaherty will head to his first arbitration hearing this offseason. That could doom his spot on the roster for a team possibly looking to pinch pennies in order to bring in a big outfield bat.
What would your choice be: Dunn or O'Flaherty? Dunn is only 3 months younger, and O'Flaherty has a lot more game experience in the majors. Neither gives up a lot of homers, and O'Flaherty both walks and strikes out less hitters. O'Flaherty is probably a little better against righties, while Dunn is a little better against lefties. Its a tough choice for the Braves brass to make, and maybe one of them could draw interest in the trade market. In the end, I think money will win out, and Dunn will get the bullpen slot.
Trying to get back on a regular update schedule...last week was a little hectic and filled with down servers and the such. Sorry about that.