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Thank You, Brian Dozier

Posted by Jonathon Zenk , 31 July 2018 · 1,927 views

brian dozier minnesota twins home run los angeles dodgers walk-off
Thank You, Brian Dozier It is hard to put into words how much Brian Dozier has meant to the Twins organization. It has been a blast watching Brian grow into one of the better power hitters in the league. He has had a bit of a down year, and that is a shame, but that does not take away the joy he has brought to not only Twins fans, but the community as well.

Many think of Dozier as the guy who gets upset when teams bunt for a hit in the ninth inning in a blowout like he did in the first series of the year in Baltimore when Chance Sisco did just that. But that is not who Dozier is. He is much more like this story from a few weeks back.

He came up at age 25 in 2012 to the Twins while the team was in the midst of a 66-96 season, good for last place in the AL Central as well as the entire American League. That year, Dozier was called up in May to replace Justin Morneau. He’d go onto hit six homers and drive in 33 in 316 at-bats. His OPS was only .603, but that he would make a huge jump from there on.

Even with the team continuing to lose, No. 2 had become a feared power hitter in the Twins lineup. From the time he made his debut on May 7, 2012, through 2014, the Twins had a record of just 195-264 and never finished above fourth in the division. Still, Brian improved his homer total from six in 2012 to 18 in 2013 to 23 in 2014. Along with that, his OPS improved to .762 in 2014.

Everything all started to come together in 2015. Minnesota started out hot in 2015, and so did Dozier. Heading into June, the Twins had a record of 30-19, and they were 49-40 at the All-Star break, firmly in contention for a playoff spot. During that first half, he gave us Twins fans some unforgettable moments. Dozier, who was in the running for the Final Vote for the All-Star game, hit two walk-off homers in the span of a week. First, he crushed a homer to left field off Baltimore’s Tommy Hunter to beat the Orioles 4-2. Then, he gave Target Field its best moment since Jim Thome’s walk-off in 2010 vs. Chicago. With the Twins trailing 6-1 in the ninth inning against Detroit, it appeared Minnesota was going to fall to 2-9 against the Tigers on the year. Instead, they strung together four hits as well as a walk and a hit batter to cut the Detroit lead to 6-5 with runners on first and second and one out. Detroit closer Joakim Soria hung a curve to Dozier, and the Twins second baseman blasted it off the facing of the upper deck for the improbable win.

He fell in the Final Vote to Mike Moustakas of Kansas City, but Dozier wound up going to Cincinnati anyway, replacing Toronto’s Jose Bautista. All he did in his first All-Star game was hit a homer in the eighth inning off Pittsburgh’s Mark Melancon in the American League’s 6-3 win. He was just the second Twins player with a pinch-hit homer in an All-Star game, joining Twins legend Harmon Killebrew. He joined Killebrew and another Twins legend, Kirby Puckett, as the only Twins players to homer in an All-Star game, period.

He had a disappointing second half of the season, and the Twins faded a bit. After hitting 19 bombs in the first half of the season, he only hit nine after the break. After the break, his batting average went from .256 down to .236, and his OPS went from the .841 he had in the first half down to .751 at season’s end. Even then, they had a chance to make the playoffs heading into the final series of the season, but Minnesota was outscored 14-3 in a 3-game sweep at the hands of the eventual World Series champion Kansas City Royals.

There was plenty of optimism after that season, but the Twins stumbled to the league’s worst record. But even then, Dozier gave Twins fans a reason to come out to Target Field. The former Southern Miss standout hit 42 bombs in 2016, which set an American League record for homers as a second baseman in one season, surpassing former New York Yankees and Texas Rangers standout Alfonso Soriano. The guy had turned into one of the most feared sluggers in the game. Not bad for somebody who only hit 16 home runs combined in the minors.

He had another great year in 2017, helping lead the Twins back to the playoffs for the first time since 2010, as he hit .271 with 34 homers and 93 RBI. Dozier also hit a leadoff home run in the Wild Card game against the Yankees.
Yes, he and a number of teammates have had a rough first four months of this season, which is why they’re at the point they are at. Although, he did give us fans one more lasting memory, as he hit a walk-off grand slam off Tampa Bay’s Matt Andriese in the last game before the All-Star break. It is unfortunate that this is the way things had to end because Brian has been such a good player on the field since he came up here and has made an even bigger impact off of it.

Whether it was hitting walk-off homers, like the one he hit in Detroit to cap off a big comeback, or if it was just bonding with fans, Brian has given us tons of memories in his seven years here, and we wish you nothing but the best in Los Angeles.

Thank you, No. 2!

  • Oldgoat_MN, Hosken Bombo Disco, BoofBonser and 2 others like this

Well said Good Sir. We'll miss you Brian, Thank you for all you've done.