Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

Twins remove Calvin Griffith statue

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:43 PM
because TEAR EVERYTHING DOWN!
Full topic ›

LG Twins Thread

Other Baseball Today, 12:41 PM
Baseball is coming back to ESPN. Tonight. Come tomorrow, there will be Twins baseball. Live and on the air. Since we are all, by some tra...
Full topic ›

Cleveland MLB team reportedly considering name change

Other Baseball Today, 12:18 PM
This is an AP article I lifted from the StarTribune web site.   https://www.startrib...sure/571623572/
Full topic ›

Watch the Live Play-by-Play of the Virtual Twins Playoffs

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:56 AM
With the real Twins around the corner, I have elected to sim to the playoffs to try and tease how the real club will do this fall, and as...
Full topic ›

Take Landis Name off the MVP Award

Other Baseball Today, 10:02 AM
Barry Larkin, former MVP, has been calling for removing the Kenesaw Mountain Landis name from MVP awards.Personally, until I read the art...
Full topic ›

Recent Blogs


Dozier Tries To Find A Balance

When Brian Dozier refers to spring training as “Groundhog Day,” he’s talking about the repetitive routine that is inherent to this annual six-week stretch.

But he might as well be talking about his production. This year, just like last year, Dozier is putting up monster numbers in the Grapefruit League.
Image courtesy of Ken Blaze, USA Today
After going 1-for-3 as the No. 3 hitter on Monday, Dozier is batting .364 this spring with six extra-base hits. A year ago he hit .367/.436/.694 in exhibition play. That paved the way for a phenomenal first half of the 2015 season.

His 871 OPS and 16 homers through the first three months led to his first All-Star nod and even some low-key MVP buzz. His drop-off after the break, though, was quite striking to most observers.

Not to him.

“I hear that all the time and I don’t really know why people always make a big deal out of the last couple months,” Dozier says. “I didn’t hit as many home runs, but I actually scored the same amount of runs, which is what I intend to do.”

“I don’t really see it as a lot of other people do as far as a down second half."

Well, that’s not exactly true. Even if we’re looking strictly at his frequency of crossing the plate, Dozier scored 67 runs in 88 games before the All-Star break (0.76 R/G) and 34 runs in 69 games thereafter (0.49 R/G), despite the entrenched presence of rookie slugger Miguel Sano behind him in the lineup.

He did still finish near the top of the American League in that particular category, tied for fifth with Lorenzo Cain, so perhaps that’s what he’s driving at.

But of course, the decline extended beyond homers and runs scored. His OPS dropped off by more than 200 points from the first half to the second as his gap power diminished and his on-base percentage took a dive. The latter development was particularly troubling given his role as a table-setter atop the order.

But the second baseman insists there’s more to it than numbers.

“You find other ways to help your team win. You do things that the normal person does not see but everyone in here sees.”

Even if he believes that the second-half swoon narrative is overblown, Dozier is making adjustments that he hopes will be conducive to end-to-end production.

A quick glance at his 2015 spray chart from FanGraphs shows just how pull-heavy he was at the plate. Dozier swatted the occasional fly ball or grounder the other way, but sent only a handful of liners (and two of his 28 home runs) toward right.

Posted Image


Given the starkness of this trend, it’s been impossible not to notice this spring that Dozier has already hit several hard balls to the opposite field, including one of his two homers.

He says this hasn’t been a specific focus, but rather the natural offshoot of another point of emphasis.

“Training my swing to cover more of the plate is something Bruno (hitting coach Tom Brunansky) and I have been working on this spring,” he says. “Whether it correlates to more balls going to right field or not I could really care less.”

These efforts have already yielded results in Grapefruit play. In one at-bat on Monday, Dozier flicked a borderline outside pitch back into the screen, then later got another on the outer half and drove it over the right side of second base into center for a single.

He knows his bread and butter – “being a pull hitter is definitely a strength of mine” – but being able to waste those pitches away that don’t play to his strength will prevent opposing pitchers from being able to take advantage.

As Albert Einstein once said, "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Hopefully a more balanced approach at the plate will allow Dozier to keep moving all the way to the regular-season finish line and beyond.

  • ThejacKmp, nytwinsfan and HitInAPinch like this

  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

19 Comments

I like Dozier's (and Brunansky's) point about covering more of the plate, sometimes meaning just fouling off a tough pitch instead of striking out. Extending plate appearances will definitely help in the long-run. 

    • HitInAPinch likes this

I think a few more days off wouldn't hurt either. The season is a grind, you can't tell me that he's not wearing down.
    • ThejacKmp and d-mac like this
Photo
Bill Brown69
Mar 22 2016 07:07 AM

I completely agree on both points. If he can cut his Strikeouts by 10% and be completely productive in 145 games then he can be in the conversation as the best 2nd baseman in baseball. To limit him to 145 though will require somebody off the bench to put them in a position where everybody feels comfortable doing it though.

 

I think a few more days off wouldn't hurt either. The season is a grind, you can't tell me that he's not wearing down.

 

Agreed. I hope the Twins give him days off for Nunez/Santana/Polanco so he isn't gassed down the stretch like last year.

Dozier is in total denial about the second halves of the seasons. Perhaps he did get in better shape this off season and will be able to perform the whole year. The Twins need him to.

    • Mike Sixel, Dantes929, TheLeviathan and 1 other like this
Photo
TheLeviathan
Mar 22 2016 11:31 AM

I was caught off guard by just how delusional Dozier was about his second half. 

    • Mike Sixel, alarp33, Dantes929 and 3 others like this
Photo
FunnyPenguin
Mar 22 2016 11:51 AM

I think he'll surprise everyone and do even better this year

 

I think he'll surprise everyone and do even better this year

it wouldn't surprise me. I have been pretty high on Dozier from the start but it would surprise me if he were to have a better year doing the same thing he did last year.  Delusional is a good way to describe his analysis of the two halves.  I would not need stats to back me up that he was less effective.  I could easily tell just by watching but the stats definitely do back up the huge difference in splits between the 1st half and 2nd half.  I also don;t care what side of the field he hits but I do care that with the heavy shifts and pitchers throwing to the outside corner that he is trying to pull that ball over the left field foul pole. In his good year Willingham strode toward the pitcher with good balance looking like he could hit anywhere but his natural pull swing sent it to left more often. In his worse years his stride was a little more to the left and it looked like he was trying to pull everything.  That is the difference I see in Dozier's two halves as well as well. If he commits to plate coverage he can still pull most balls but he shouldn't be trying to pull the ball.  There is a difference.

From the Fangraphs' write up on 2B today:

 

http://www.fangraphs...gs-second-base/

 

"The most laughably absurd right-handed pull hitter in baseball........ With a career 212 wRC+ when he pulls the ball, a 59 wRC+ when he goes up the middle, and a -1 (yes, negative one) wRC+ when he hits the ball to right field,....... you might be convinced that teams did exploit his weakness in the second half of 2015, holding him to just a 73 wRC+ after the All-Star break.

 

But while the shift is going to eat up a bunch of would-be singles, Dozier seems to have enough power to retain a chunk of his value........"

 

I was caught off guard by just how delusional Dozier was about his second half. 

 

Honestly shocking quotes. I mean this quote isn't even remotely true.  After the All Star break in 69 games, he scored 34 runs, 0.49 runs per game. Before the break, 88 games, 67 runs, 0.76 runs per game.  

 

.210/.280/.359

 

“I hear that all the time and I don’t really know why people always make a big deal out of the last couple months,” Dozier says. “I didn’t hit as many home runs, but I actually scored the same amount of runs, which is what I intend to do.”

    • d-mac likes this

"ya, of course I hit my driver 250 all the time, why do you ask?"......

 

Isn't this part of what makes a pro different than us? They have convinced themselves they are good?

    • d-mac likes this
Photo
diehardtwinsfan
Mar 22 2016 01:38 PM

wonder if he's confusing 2015 and 2014.In 2014, the HRs dropped off and many of the peripherals weren't as bad. 

 

"ya, of course I hit my driver 250 all the time, why do you ask?"......

 

Isn't this part of what makes a pro different than us? They have convinced themselves they are good?

 

Sure, the cockiness and confidence of athletes I'm sure it what part of makes them great. I'm not so sure that's what those quotes were though... those screamed "delusional"

 

Since you used the golf analogy, I find it hard to believe Jordan Spieth would shoot; 68, 67, 76, 80 in a 4 day tournament, and then say "I don't know what you guys are talking about when you say I struggled on the weekend, I hit most fairways on Saturday and Sunday, that's my job"

    • adorduan and d-mac like this
Photo
theBOMisthebomb
Mar 22 2016 03:55 PM
It is disappointing that Dozier didn't own up to his poor second halves and hopefully his delusional remarks are some type of motivator.

 

Sure, the cockiness and confidence of athletes I'm sure it what part of makes them great. I'm not so sure that's what those quotes were though... those screamed "delusional"

 

Since you used the golf analogy, I find it hard to believe Jordan Spieth would shoot; 68, 67, 76, 80 in a 4 day tournament, and then say "I don't know what you guys are talking about when you say I struggled on the weekend, I hit most fairways on Saturday and Sunday, that's my job"

 

Agree with all of this, I was trying really hard to find a positive in the comments........

Photo
Nick Nelson
Mar 22 2016 05:13 PM

 

I was caught off guard by just how delusional Dozier was about his second half. 

I was too, to be honest. After he said that, I blinked a few times and said, "So, you didn't notice any difference in the second half?" And he basically replied, "Nah, not really."

 

I think he's just frustrated about hearing it over and over again, and maybe a little peeved that this narrative has overshadowed what was a strong season overall. Obviously he knows that pitchers started taking advantage of his tendencies, and obviously he's doing something about it. He's always been pretty good about making adjustments (it's what has turned him from 8th round draft pick into All Star) so I'm fairly optimistic. 

    • SQUIRREL, alarp33, h2oface and 2 others like this

Weird. I'd think he'd scan his box score everyday. This doesn't surprise me. Some players memorize their stats, others are more or less indifferent. It's a different game on the field than in the stands.

Photo
TheLeviathan
Mar 22 2016 08:04 PM

 

I was too, to be honest. After he said that, I blinked a few times and said, "So, you didn't notice any difference in the second half?" And he basically replied, "Nah, not really."

 

I think he's just frustrated about hearing it over and over again, and maybe a little peeved that this narrative has overshadowed what was a strong season overall. Obviously he knows that pitchers started taking advantage of his tendencies, and obviously he's doing something about it. He's always been pretty good about making adjustments (it's what has turned him from 8th round draft pick into All Star) so I'm fairly optimistic. 

 

This spring has indicated some good steps in that direction so I'm hopeful as well.  I'm glad you pushed back on him a little bit, those responses were hard to read and not hold against him.

    • alarp33 likes this

The happiest power hitters that I've ever met were the ones that could hit to all fields. 

 

They'd throw that grass in the air and say... "Ahh... It's blowing out to RF tonight... Not a Problem... I can do that". 

 

I'd like to see Brian get happier like that. 

 

 


Similar Articles


by Cody Christie , 10 Jun 2020
Photo


by Seth Stohs , 12 May 2020
Photo


by Ted Schwerzler , 30 Jan 2020
Photo


by Nick Nelson , 29 Dec 2019
Photo


by Cody Christie , 27 Oct 2019
Photo