How safe is it to buy Adam Dunn and Alex Rios after their 2012 rebounds?
For Dunn, 41 home runs at U.S. Cellular Field a couple of years ago would've been no problem. His .204 batting average, on the heels of a career-worst .159 mark, suggests that he hasn't ended his descent so much as delayed it. The dispersal of his batted balls and his terrible hit rates from the past two seasons are becoming the norm. His control of the strike zone hardly improved from 2011 to 2012; about 30 percent of his fly balls became souvenirs, and that might be the biggest statistical difference.
Obviously, some of that success is rooted in Dunn's ability to go deep, which he proved hasn't evaporated. But the stats also indicate his skill base's erosion, which means that his devolution will continue, albeit perhaps slowly, and the 33-year-old's playing time will be at risk because of it. Don't overbid.
For Rios, good health and a new approach, which emphasized the use of all fields, worked wonders. For prospective 2013 owners, the former is never a given, obviously, but the latter should provide some comfort that he won't slip back into this every-other-year pattern that has pushed some roto players into "I won't touch him" territory.
The soon-to-be 32-year-old has long carried with him a poor disposition, calling into question his dedication to the game. Rios isn't in it for the championships, or at least it has seemed that way for most of his career. But his commitment to improve his approach last season gives rise to hope that he's maturing, and there's no reason to believe he's lost the ability to bat .280 and go 20-20 yet. Don't pay for last year's numbers and Rios may not disappoint quite like he has in seasons past.
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About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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