Do the Twins Already Have the Next Brian Dozier?
Image courtesy of © Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY SportsDozier’s Path to Late Bloomer
Minnesota took Brian Dozier in the eighth round of the 2009 MLB Draft out of the University of Southern Mississippi. With his college experience, he only spent parts of four seasons in the minors. He showed very little power throughout the early professional career as he never hit double digit home runs in the minors. In fact, his highest OPS in any minor league season was .890 when he spent part of the season as an older player in the Florida State League.
He wouldn’t debut until his age-25 season and his first full season was a year later (2013). Twins fans are well aware of what Dozier was able to accomplish in his time at the big-league level. He clubbed 18 or more home runs from 2013-2017 including 42 home runs in 2016 and 34 home runs in 2017. His 42 home runs are an AL record for home runs by a primary second baseman in a single season.
Dozier was clearly a late bloomer, but the Twins were able to allow him to develop because the team was in the midst of multiple losing seasons. Now the Twins have a variety of options around the infield which might be blocking the next Brian Dozier from emerging.
The Next Brian Dozier
Nick Gordon wasn’t exactly a late round pick or a player with college experience, but he’s at the point in his career where it might be a surprise if he makes a significant contribution at the big-league level. Gordon has seemed to be on the fringes of the 40-man roster for multiple seasons. There must be a reason the front office has kept him around.
Last year, Gordon went through a life changing experience as he was hospitalized after contracting COVID-19. He’s a young, health athlete and the virus still took its toll on him. Now he will enter the 2021 season with something to prove to himself and the Twins organization. Minnesota is easing Gordon into the new season, but it doesn’t mean he won’t get the chance to contribute.
In 2019, he played 70 games at Triple-A where he was nearly four years younger than the average age of the competition at that level. Even in a small sample size, he was able to post some impressive numbers. He hit .298/.342/.459 (.801) with 36 extra-base hits. Out of his 87 hits, a third of them were doubles which is impressive when all put 24 of his at-bats came against older pitching.
Gordon should spend the year in St. Paul and his continued inclusion on the 40-man roster means he has a chance to make his big-league debut during the 2021 campaign. Unfortunately, he is behind multiple players on the depth chart and the Twins aren’t in the same place they were when Dozier made his debut.
Also, it’s tough to know what Gordon will look like as the season begins with no game action last season and his extended COVID battle. Injuries can happen to any player and Gordon will need to be ready to take advantage of the opportunity if it is presented to him.
Do you think Gordon can be a late bloomer like Dozier? Will he be given the opportunity? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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