In the path that Brian Dozier blazed: A 2014 breakout candidate for the Twins
Originally published at The Tenth Inning Stretch
His age 24 season shows a noticeable increase in his OPS and, especially, his ISO which doubled from previous marks and was approaching the .200s . His power (but not his OPS - which means that he still potentially has ways to go in the major league level) was very similar to that exhibited in his age 26 MLB season (2013).
Also to be noted is that Dozier, after his 2011 season, continued the success in the AFL: .296/.358/.454 (.821 OPS, .158 ISO). He did have a setback in 2012, but that entire Twins' season was a setback.
Let's compare the above chart with a chart that shows the OPS and ISO numbers per season of another Twins' player and align them for age:
As you can see, this player has started his professional career earlier that Dozier did and had similar moderate success. However, like Dozier, in his age 24 season (at AAA instead of Dozier's A/A+), had a major breakthrough with increases in OPS and ISO to close to all-star levels. Actually, at the same age and at a higher level of competition, his OPS and power numbers were better than Dozier's, which makes me believe that he will potentially have a season similar to Dozier's 2013 next year. The player?
Also of note is that Escobar (like Dozier in 2011) is continuing his breakthough 2013 season in the Venezuela Winter League: .302/.348/.519 (.867 OPS, .217 ISO) at the time this was written
How about fielding which was another strong suit of Brian Dozier's ?
Here are the MLB career numbers for Dozier:
.992 FP% 2B (1255 Inn), .964 FP% SS (732 Inn),
UZR/150: -0.7 2B, -5.0 SS,
RZR .832 2B (MLB best 2013: .842), .796 SS (MLB Best 2013: .876; Florimon .838)
1.000 FP% 2B (149.7 Inn), .951 FP% 3B (287.7 Inn), .959 FP% SS (281.2 Inn)
UZR/150: -6.0 2B, -16.2 3B, 5.1 SS.
RZR: .813 2B (MLB best 2013: .842), .641 3B, .814 SS (MLB Best 2013: .876; Florimon .838)
Neither Dozier nor Escobar make many errors. UZR/150 does not like Dozier and Escobar at 2B and 3B, but likes Escobar at SS. Revized Zone Rating has Dozier near the MLB top at second base and Escobar above average at both 2B and SS (but not that great at 3B). Note that Escobar's defense at SS is close to Florimon's as far as UZR/150 and RZR are concerned, but he is making fewer errors than Florimon.
Could Escobar be the Twins' SS of the near future and Escobar and Dozier the Twins double play combination for a while? Time will tell, but if Dozier's very similar career is an indicator, it looks like a very true possibility, starting with the 2014 season.