Twins Daily Awards 2016: MVP
Image courtesy of Jesse Johnson, USA TodayIn some ways, Dozier's 2016 season was a continuation of his established career trend. In both 2014 and 2015, the second baseman delivered scalding hot production in the early months that was offset somewhat by a frigidly cold stretch in the latter portion, leading to overall numbers that were impressive but short of spectacular.
This season he flipped the script somewhat. First, because he reversed his pattern by starting slow and finishing strong. And second, because his hot streak was on another level from any we've seen from him -- or, really, anyone else. Over the final four months he hit 37 home runs with a .631 slugging percentage in 109 contests.
Overall, Dozier finished his age-29 season with a .268/.340/.546 slash line to go along with 42 homers, 35 doubles, five triples, 104 runs scored, 99 RBI and 18 steals on 20 tries. Incredible numbers across the board. He also provided steady and occasionally outstanding defense at second base, although you'll be hard-pressed to find any metric that ranks him as one of the best.
FanGraphs pegs his WAR at 6.0, tied for eighth-best in the American League. The next-highest qualifying Twins hitter was Joe Mauer, whose 1.0 mark ranked 66th. In other words, this wasn't exactly a tough decision.
The prodigious power output was remarkable and rare. His 40 home runs as a second baseman were the most ever for an American Leaguer. In the past 50 years, only 27 other MLB players have surpassed 40 homers and 35 doubles in the same season. Only two others have also added five triples.
In short, Dozier was an amazing source of self-manufactured offense. He put himself across the plate 42 times, and six times he was able to notch a run on the board before Minnesota's second batter came up to the plate in the first inning. When he wasn't completing the job himself, Dozier was constantly placing himself in scoring position with extra-base hits and steals, leading to a third straight 100-run season.
That Dozier was able to singularly produce this much offense for a club that still managed to lose 103 games is a testament to the adage that baseball is a team game, and there's only so much one guy out of nine in the lineup can do. Hopefully next year his contributions will be more meaningful, if he's still here.
In the meantime, let's just sit back and marvel at where his homer total ranks in Minnesota Twins history. Killer company, one might say.
Most Home Runs in a Twins Season
49 - Killebrew, 1964
49 - Killebrew, 1969
48 - Killebrew, 1962
46 - Killebrew, 1961
45 - Killebrew, 1963
44 - Killebrew, 1967
42 - Dozier, 2016
41 - Killebrew, 1970
39 - Killebrew, 1966
35 - Allison, 1963
35 - Willingham, 2012
Here's how the voting for this one shook out on our seven-man panel. Obviously, not much dissent for the top choice:
Seth Stohs – 1.) Brian Doizer, 2.) Ervin Santana 3.) Joe Mauer
Parker Hageman – 1.) Brian Dozier, 2.) Ervin Santana, 3.) Joe Mauer
Nick Nelson – 1.) Brian Dozier, 2.) Ervin Santana, 3.) Joe Mauer
Jeremy Nygaard – 1.) Brian Dozier, 2.) Joe Mauer, 3.) Max Kepler
Cody Christie – 1.) Brian Dozier, 2.) Ervin Santana, 3.) Joe Mauer
Steve Lien – 1.) Brian Dozier, 2.) Miguel Sano, 3.) Ervin Santana
Eric Pleiss – 1.) Brian Dozier, 2.) Ervin Santana, 3.) Miguel Sano
Brian Dozier: 35
Ervin Santana: 21
Joe Mauer: 14
Miguel Sano: 12
Max Kepler: 8
Eduardo Nunez: 5
Robbie Grossman: 1
Kurt Suzuki: 1
Byron Buxton: 1
Other 2016 Twins Daily Award recipients:
Most Improved: Brian Dozier
Rookie of the Year- Max Kepler
Best Pitcher: Ervin Santana
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