“Boy, sure hope I’m never featured in a blog post that features any dumb bullpen/left field puns this season.” –Mike Dunn at Spring Training.
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
In May, I wrote about the prospect of trading LHP Mike Dunn. At that time, Miami was 13-41 and the cellar-destined season was somehow worse than we expected. Quietly, as most middle relievers tend to go about things, Dunn was racking up a strikeout per inning and being stingier than usual with walks and runs.
When trade rumors eventually wandered to Miami’s bullpen, it was made clear than Dunn was unavailable—whatever that may mean in Miami.
After justified skepticism and a little head scratching as to why the Fish decided not to liquidate their assets, I was a little relieved to know Dunn was here to stay. Because during this lost season of 2013, Mike Dunn is having the best season of his career.
Sure enough, the numbers are there to back up Dunn’s new found efficiency, as the lefty is on pace to pitch the most innings in his career while posting career bests in SO/BB (2.33), BB/9 (3.8), and WHIP (1.252). Even Baseball-Reference has graciously pegged the former Yankee with 1.1 Wins Above Replacement, another career best.
Those aren’t exactly Hall of Fame numbers, as Baseball-Reference compares his career to the likes of other bullpen southpaws like Phil Coke and Tim Collins. In fact, Dunn was traded from the Yankees to Atlanta for Boone Logan, another big lefty who’s finding work in the same, 6-foot-something left-handed pitcher niche. But Dunn’s “breakout” has been so slight that it’s unfair to say this season came— wait for it— out of left field.
But perhaps Dunn’s season is a fluke. Brooks Baseball notes that Dunn has improved command of his slider, throwing it for a ball at the lowest rate of his career (29.61%). Until a proper scout can comment on any mechanical changes (or anything else) which would influence the improvement, all we can do is enjoy