Over the past several seasons, Cincinnati Reds outfielder Adam Dunn has earned a reputation in most clubhouses for being a big-time power hitter who fails to hit for average and strikes out often. In 2007, Dunn batted .264 with 40 home runs and 165 strikeouts, and in 2006, he hit .234 with 40 home runs and 194 strikeouts.
It appears that Dunn has a disciple by the name of Mike Napoli, who is currently catching in Anaheim for the Los Angeles Angels. So far this season, Napoli has shown fans that he could potentially become the catcher’s version of Dunn.
In just twenty-four games this season, Napoli has struck out 23 times, nearly once per game and once per every three bats. In addition to his strikeouts, Napoli is currently batting just .247 which is identical to Dunn’s career .247 average.
While Napoli will often strikeout and hit for a low average, his power is undoubtedly as good as any catcher in the American League. So far this season, Napoli is among the AL home run leaders with eight (in only 78 at-bats). Napoli is, so far, in front of the league’s best-hitting catchers that he actually might lead the A.L. catchers in home runs totals by the end of the season.
He and fellow catcher Jeff Mathis actually have more combined home runs than Jorge Posada (one), Joe Mauer (zero), Victor Martinez (zero), Ivan Rodriguez (one), and Kenji Johjima (one) all have combined.
It’s a pretty safe to say that Napoli is the catcher version of Adam Dunn.