• Brian Dozier Learned from 2012, Looks Forward to 2013

    While a lot of people will be betting on the Super Bowl this weekend, Brian Dozier is looking to show the Minnesota Twins brass and the fans that he is worth betting on for the long haul.

    Following his 2011 season, during which he was named the Twins minor league player of the year, expectations were high, maybe too high, for the now-25-year-old shortstop from the University of Southern Mississippi at the start of the 2012 season. After starting the season with a month in Rochester, the Twins promoted Dozier to the big leagues. He made his debut on May 7 against the Angels. In the bottom of the 8th inning, he came up and singled to center for his first MLB hit. When he returned to first base, Albert Pujols patted him on the helmet and told him, “Congratulations! You look good up there. First of many!”

    Dozier certainly experienced some great moments during his rookie season. On May 13, he hit his first big league home run off of Ricky Romero of the Blue Jays. Days later, he hit his second homer against Rick Porcello. Home Run Number 3 game against Chris Sale of the White Sox. He then hit homers against Tommy MIlone of the A’s and Alfredo Aceves before hitting his sixth and final homer of the season off of Cy Young winner David Price.



    However, overall, he hit just .234/.271/.332 (.603) and the day after his homer against Price, he was optioned to Rochester where he finished the season.

    At Twins Fest, Dozier said, “First time it ever happened to me where stuff carried out into my defense. Trying to change things on offense, I got too much zoned into working on my swing and I got away from my approach. I’ve always been a guy to walk a lot, but my approach was just all over the place, going up there, swinging at pitches I don’t ever swing at. You get away from that. You try to change. You think it’s your swing, but it’s really your approach before you even get up there. “

    In addition, Dozier added, “Looking back, I only had two or three bunt base hits. I had about 25 the past two years. I only had eight walks (Seth Note – Actually 16), the year before, I had 60.”

    After walking in about 10% of his plate appearances in the minor leagues, he walked less than 5% of the time in his 340 plate appearances with the Twins in 2012.

    Beyond the approach, Dozier also fought his mechanics. “I started off and everything was going good. My hands were up here [Dozier illustrated to the group that his hands were up high, above his back shoulder], and then I started dropping my shoulder, and you can’t do that. You really can’t. You just get comfortable up there. I had a little skid, 0-15 or something, and you think it’s your swing. A lot of information, and I started changing way too many things that you shouldn’t change.”

    What was Dozier’s biggest take-away from his rookie season?
    “You’ve got to be consistent, and that’s the biggest thing I learned. You’ve always heard that preached to you. It comes into perspective in that aspect. You’ve got to be real consistent up here and that’s the big thing that I got away from. But, like I said, after I got sent down, I just had to get back to my roots, being a consistent, sound baseball player. So that’s what I’ve done and I’m good to go.”

    Dozier summarized his first big league experience by saying, “It’s a good rookie year for me,” which may seem a bit strange until hear the rest, “I learned a lot.”

    It was a full off-season for Dozier. “I went down to Venezuela to get some work in at second base. While I’ve been up here (in Minneapolis), I’ve been working with Molly (Paul Molitor) on turns at second, just to make sure I’m comfortable so when spring hits, whatever Gardy sees fit, and Terry (Ryan).”

    Dozier was only in Venezuela for a short time, but it served its purpose. “It was good. I got some work in, especially at second base. I got a few at bats too, but I was really down there just to get some work in at second base.”

    He continued, “Normally in the offseason, I work strictly at short, but this time, I spent a lot of time at second base. I didn’t take time off, to be honest with you. I was going to take a little time to re-charge, but you know what, you’ve got to stay sharp. “

    He also had a pretty good role model and teammate to talk with. He spent a day this offseason hanging out with Josh Willingham and his family. “We always talk. We hit just two days ago at Target Field.”

    Dozier is excited for the opportunity to work with the Twins new hitting coach Tom Brunansky. Brunansky was Dozier’s hitting coach in 2011 at New Britain, and the two worked together again last season in Rochester.

    “Joe (Vavra) is awesome, and he’s helped me a lot. But me and Bruno have worked together the past two years. He’s a good one. He really is. (We) have developed a good relationship, not just with baseball, but with everything. He’s a good one, a guy that spent 13 or 14 years in the Bigs, he knows his stuff. He knows it, the grind and everything. I was hitting at the field the other day, and he sneaks in behind me, and right there, he says, ‘I like that. I like that.’ He’s ready to go. He’s fired up.”

    Manager Ron Gardenhire said that there will be competition in spring training for the middle infield positions. He also would like to see the situation resolved in camp. “Well, I hope it’s resolved. I mean, I hope we have a little better inkling of it. I think we have some talented people, and we’re going to throw them out there and let them go at it. Try to figure out the best combination, and if it turns out to be combinations, we’ll just go that way. Whatever’s going to help us win ball games, and catch the ball.”

    Speaking of the competition in the middle infield, Dozier says, “Competition is good. That excites us. Competing against a bunch of good players, but at the same time, I’m ready. I’ve got a lot to prove.”
    Is Dozier under the impression that he is going to be a second baseman? “Let’s not rule out shortstop, first of all, because I feel really comfortable at short.”

    As he acknowledged, 2013 will be a big year for Brian Dozier. He learned a lot from that rookie season and hopefully he will be able to take that information, learn from the struggles, and get back to the basics. “You’ve got to make adjustments along the way, but you also have to stay within yourself… I’ve got to get back to sound baseball, and I was getting away from that.”

    “We’re good. You guys put that (in your articles). We’re Good!”
    This article was originally published in blog: Brian Dozier Learned Lots from 2012, Looks Forward to 2013! started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 50 Comments
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Good article--thanks Seth. I hope Brian makes it--I think he can be productive middle IF (not all-star but solid) in MLB. I hope that Gardy decides early in camp where his future is (SS, 2B) and leaves him there and lets him learn lots more.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      Twins are depending on a lot of long shots this year, but I don't consider Brian Dozier to be one of them. I think Dozier is going to be about what he looked like - Nick Punto with more pop. If he can get his average over .250, we've got a good middle infielder for the next several years.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I'm optimistic for a .680-.700 OPS this year from Dozier. I think he can hit .270ish/.330ish/.360ish. He could get to double-digit home runs. If he can have that IsoD around .060-.080, he would be fine in that #2 spot in the lineup.
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      I'm optimistic for a .680-.700 OPS this year from Dozier. I think he can hit .270ish/.330ish/.360ish. He could get to double-digit home runs. If he can have that IsoD around .060-.080, he would be fine in that #2 spot in the lineup.
      That would be great. What are the odds he's a 2B vs. a SS?
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Pretty candid answers from Dozier. Here's to hoping he can turn that into results.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      I'm pulling for Dozier. He's the only candidate for a middle infield job that has a chance to be above-average offensively. He has enough range, hands and arm to be a good defender although he wasn't good last year. While I was hoping he would be the 2013 SS, the tea leaves seem to be pointing toward second base.
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      I love Dozier's attitude. Also, his analysis as to where he went wrong last year makes sense. Hopefully he has now figured it out.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      For me it is the brains here that makes me think Dozier can improve. He has always struck me in that way. He cares about improving and can learn from things. The Twins did him NO favors in 2012.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      I so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so want Brian to become the quality, long-term middle infielder that this team has been seeking (ignoring?) for the better part of two decades.

      Please Brian, for the sake of all our sanity and all that's good in this world, be a quality player, for multiple years.


      And if you do in fact become a quality player that gets traded for a bag of peanuts (aka, a couple of ****ty relievers), let that trade forever curse the moronic front office responsible.
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      Dozier was left out there too long. It was clear to everybody his approach had changed. When he came up he was fairly patient and took advantage of bad pitches. Hopefully he can adjust get back on track.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      I'm glad to see he recognized a lot of this... He seemed overwhelmed last season... nice to see he has a good enough head on his shoulders to be able to take a step back and recognize this.

      The kid OPSed over .800 in AA two years ago. Here's to hoping he can translate that to the big leagues. It would be nice to have a middle infielder with an above average bat... even if his defense is only average. The 2014/15 team doesn't have a good middle infield prospect. It would be nice if Dozier could hold down one of those spots.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      It amazes me how so many people are wrapped up in instant gratification culture, though, and this applies to minor leaguers who arrive at the Show and are written off if they aren't good immediately. There is no way this kind of attitude existed 20+, 10, or even 5 years ago. Technology is warping our expectations in seemingly unrelated areas.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      It amazes me how so many people are wrapped up in instant gratification culture, though, and this applies to minor leaguers who arrive at the Show and are written off if they aren't good immediately. There is no way this kind of attitude existed 20+, 10, or even 5 years ago. Technology is warping our expectations in seemingly unrelated areas.
      Oh, I think it has always been this way. As long as I can remember, people have written off prospects as bums the moment they began to fail. The Internet has definitely sped up our desire for instant gratification but it has always been there.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      It amazes me how so many people are wrapped up in instant gratification culture, though, and this applies to minor leaguers who arrive at the Show and are written off if they aren't good immediately. There is no way this kind of attitude existed 20+, 10, or even 5 years ago. Technology is warping our expectations in seemingly unrelated areas.

      completely agree. If the internet and blogosphere would have been around when Hank Aaron and Willie Mays and MIckey Mantle and any of history's great players played, people would have realized that they weren't always great, they had slumps, they stuggled. IF may have been worse back when guys like KIllebrew had to spend their teen years in the big leagues rather than develop.
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      Quote Originally Posted by snepp View Post
      I so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so want Brian to become the quality, long-term middle infielder that this team has been seeking (ignoring?) for the better part of two decades.

      Please Brian, for the sake of all our sanity and all that's good in this world, be a quality player, for multiple years.


      And if you do in fact become a quality player that gets traded for a bag of peanuts (aka, a couple of ****ty relievers), let that trade forever curse the moronic front office responsible.
      Thanks, Snepp. Your post is beyond awesome.
    1. panolo's Avatar
      panolo -
      Thanks for the article Seth!

      I really hope Dozier takes the bull by the horns and is starting in the MI on opening day. I think of our current cast of players he has the offensive upside to help us win games.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      It amazes me how so many people are wrapped up in instant gratification culture, though, and this applies to minor leaguers who arrive at the Show and are written off if they aren't good immediately. There is no way this kind of attitude existed 20+, 10, or even 5 years ago. Technology is warping our expectations in seemingly unrelated areas.
      I think that in this case, the fact the many people were iffy about Dozier's prospect stock to begin with plays a part. But yes, fans are generally too quick to jump to conclusions one way or another.
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      It amazes me how so many people are wrapped up in instant gratification culture, though, and this applies to minor leaguers who arrive at the Show and are written off if they aren't good immediately. There is no way this kind of attitude existed 20+, 10, or even 5 years ago. Technology is warping our expectations in seemingly unrelated areas.
      Maybe this is my own misperception, but Twins prospects the past decade or so have generally taken at least one or two years to develop; beyond Mauer, I'm having trouble thinking of one player who produced really well in his rookie year or at a young age.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by PseudoSABR View Post
      Maybe this is my own misperception, but Twins prospects the past decade or so have generally taken at least one or two years to develop; beyond Mauer, I'm having trouble thinking of one player who produced really well in his rookie year.
      Liriano and Neshek, but again, they are by far the exceptions.
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      Quote Originally Posted by PseudoSABR View Post
      Maybe this is my own misperception, but Twins prospects the past decade or so have generally taken at least one or two years to develop; beyond Mauer, I'm having trouble thinking of one player who produced really well in his rookie year or at a young age.
      Was Diamond still considered a rookie last year? And I thought Duensing was pretty good right away, but I didn't bother to look it up.

      Just to keep myself on the topic of the thread a little.... I've said I think Gibson's performance this year (both quality and quantity) is a rather large wild card, but I'm starting to think that Dozier could be even more so. If he were to be even OK at either position and the plate, that would be a huge benefit compared to the alternative(s). My guess is the other options (or lack thereof) led to him being brought up at all and given as much rope as he was.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.