Chicago White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn batted .204 this year and struck out 222 times, one shy of the all-time record for a single season.
His peers viewed that as an award-worthy campaign.
Apparently focusing on Dunn's 41 homers and ignoring the rest of his body of work, a panel of 203 major league players chose Dunn as the Sporting News' American League Comeback Player of the Year.
The National League winner, San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, was a no-brainer. Posey, who missed most of the 2011 season due to a broken left leg and torn ligaments in his left ankle, bounced back to win the NL batting title with a .336 average. He also led the league with a .408 on-base percentage and finished fourth with a .549 slugging percentage.
Dunn's Wins Above Replacement (WAR) -- a stat that measures a player's all-around worth to his team -- was 0.9, which tied for 207th in the majors. Posey's WAR was 7.2, third in the majors behind the 10.7 of Los Angeles Angels rookie outfielder Mike Trout and the 8.2 of New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano.
In 2011, Dunn batted .159 with 11 homers and 42 RBI in 122 games. In 151 games this year, he increased his average, hit 30 more homers and drove in 54 more runs.
Writers for MLB.com recently voted for the leagues' official Comeback Players of the Year, and those honors went to Posey and Tampa Bay Rays closer Fernando Rodney.
After a mediocre season as a middle reliever for the Angels in 2011, Rodney had a historic year for the Rays. He successfully converted 48 of 50 save opportunities this year, and he posted a 0.60 ERA -- a record low for a pitcher who threw more than 50 innings in a season.