Over the weekend, Jim Thome told CSN's Chuck Garfien that he's expecting big things out of Adam Dunn in 2012. Maybe 60 home runs is a stretch. But Thome mentioned how similar a hitter and competitor he is to Dunn, so maybe there's something there.
Just how similar are the two, though? The rough sketch of each is pretty close. Both are big, strong, lumbering left-handed power hitters who great command of the strike zone, leading to quite a few walks, but also strike out a lot.
Through Thome's first nine full seasons in the majors, he hit 371 home runs. Dunn, over his first nine full years, hit 355.
Thome's career walk rate is 17 percent and his strikeout rate is 24.6 percent. Dunn's walk rate of 16.2 percent; his strikeout rate is 27.6 percent.
Results-wise, Thome was better in his prime that Dunn, and he's significantly better at getting on base (.374 OBP for Dunn, .404 for Thome). Essentially, Thome is a better version of Dunn -- a claim that shouldn't surprise anyone, even before Dunn's abysmal 2011.
So Dunn isn't a carbon copy of Thome, but he's certainly similar enough that Thome's optimism shouldn't be dismissed.
For the sabermetrically-inclined:
Source: FanGraphs -- Adam Dunn, Jim Thome