Man On A Mission
Mission 1: Playoffs or Bust
When the Twins traded away multiple pieces before last year’s trade deadline, Dozier was vocal about his unhappiness with the moves. One year later and the Twins are poised to be in the playoff hunt once again. With the Indians expected to lead the AL Central, Minnesota will be forced to battle multiple teams for a Wild Card spot. There have been ups and downs for Dozier over the last couple of seasons but there have been stretches where he has been able to carry the Twins offensively. If he can do that for an entire season, the rest of the American League better get out of the way.
Mission 2: Gold Glove Repeat
I’ve been very critical of Brian Dozier’s defense in the past. As recently as last April, I called him out for not being able to get to plays that are routine for other second basemen. In his age-30 season, Dozier made some tremendous defensive improvements. He finished the 2015 campaign as the third-worst AL second baseman according to SABR’s Defensive Index. The 2016 season was a little better as he finished in the middle of the pack. Dozier ranked second in the AL last season and finished with a positive SDI for the first time in his career. Now he needs to prove that his defense wasn’t a fluke in 2017.
Mission 3: MLB’s Best Power Hitting Second Baseman
Since the start of the 2013 season, Brian Dozier leads all MLB second basemen with 145 home runs. He’s also been a terror for teams out from of the leadoff spot. His 21 lead-off home runs since 2015 are the second most in baseball beyond Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon (22). Because of his placement as the leadoff hitter, he has been able to produce four straight 100-plus run seasons. There are two Jose’s who might be battling for the title of best hitting second baseman. Jose Altuve is coming off an MVP season on the way to leading Houston to the World Series. Jose Ramirez spends time at third and second and led the AL in doubles last season.
Final Mission: New Contract
Contract talks between Dozier and the Twins dried up last week. He and the club don’t want on-going negotiations to be a distraction during the season. That being said, Dozier is playing for what could be the only big payday of his career. Some players get overwhelmed during a contract year and can’t perform up to their previous level. Other players thrive under this pressure and put together one of the best seasons of their careers. It feels like Dozier is in the latter group and he could be on his way to a record-breaking season.
Those are his missions and he certainly has chosen to accept them. Any questions?
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