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  • Depending on Dozier

    Prior to the start of the season, I called Jamey Carroll "the latest passenger on Minnesota's never-ending shortstop carousel," noting the position's instability over the past decade. As it would turn out, the veteran's ride didn't last long, as he ceased drawing regular starts at short by early May.

    Granted, this had as much to do with external factors most notably Danny Valencia's struggles at third as Carroll's own play. But it quickly became apparent that the light-hitting 38-year-old is not suited to be a quality regular at this point in his career. Even in the short-term, the Twins knew they would have to look elsewhere for a fixture at shortstop.

    They would like it be Brian Dozier. More accurately, they need to it to be Brian Dozier.

    Shortstop has been an organizational problem spot for many years, and the lack of talent at the position throughout the Twins' system is nearly as stark as the lack of pitching. Dozier is no great prospect, but he appears to be the club's only hope for respectability in the foreseeable future.

    There's little hope in the minors. The Twins drafted Levi Michael, a shortstop from the University of North Carolina, with their first-round pick last year but he's currently hitting .203/.306/.259 as a 21-year-old in Single-A. His initial struggles as a pro don't doom him by any means, but they do make it highly unlikely that he'll rise fast enough to be a factor for the big-league club anytime soon.

    With Tsuyoshi Nishioka basically out of the picture (he's batting .202 in Triple-A), Michael is the only shortstop of note on the farm. Free agency probably won't cure this epidemic; that's where they found Carroll, who has been a disappointment and remains under contract for $3.75 million next year. Clint Barmes, another relatively affordable free agent shortstop who ended up signing with the Pirates for $10.5 million over two years, has been even worse than Carroll, as he's currently hitting .170 in Pittsburgh.

    It's tough to find good shortstops. That's been a hard-learned lesson for the Twins, who have opened with seven different players at the position over the past eight years and let the best of the bunch get away when they misguidedly handed J.J. Hardy to the Orioles after the 2010 campaign.

    With all the headaches and frustration that Ron Gardenhire and his staff have experienced while trying to settle on a serviceable player to man the diamond's most important position, you can bet that they will show plenty of patience with Dozier as he takes his lumps. He's is doing so right now, with just 10 hits in his last 55 at-bats (.182) and 16 strikeouts against one walk during that span. Parker wrote yesterday about the adjustments being made by the league against him.

    I suspect that Gardy will keep writing the rookie's name into the lineup despite his struggles, and that's the right approach. At age 25, it's time for Dozier to sink or swim, and this season gives the coaching staff an opportunity to let him do so without risking much.

    If Dozier can't make his own adjustments and prove himself as a legitimate big-league option, it'll be back to the drawing board. And considering the last eight years, that's a scary proposition.
    This article was originally published in blog: Depending on Dozier started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 19 Comments
    1. Waverley Wildcat's Avatar
      Waverley Wildcat -
      Looking for a short stop prospect in the Twins? How about James Beresford?
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Good stuff... You can probably write the same thing and substitute "Valencia" for "Dozier" and "third base" for "short stop" and be equally correct. Their numbers are interestingly similar too:

      Dozier: 97 PAs 21 H, 4 2B, 2 HR, 3 BB, 20 K
      Valencia: 103 PAs, 19 H, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 BB, 23 K

      (unless one thinks that Plouffe might be an option at 3B or Sano in 3 years)
    1. jmlease1's Avatar
      jmlease1 -
      Carroll has been mildly disappointing at the plate, but I suspect by season end he'll be hitting closer to his career norms and his OBP will make him a reasonable option. But his best position is "utility INF who plays a fair amount", since his defense is more than adequate at SS, 2B, and 3B. I actually think the bigger reason why Dozier is up is because they've tossed Valencia back to AAA, rather than Carroll's performance at SS. And once Dozier came up it made more sense to adjust the roles accordingly.

      Carroll's a useful piece. But the Twins will be best off if Dozier proves he can handle the position defensively (so far, so good) and offensively (jury very much out) for the next several years.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      And, probably 1B and RF too....once Morneau is dealt....but yes, 3B is just as bad as SS. Heck, who is the 2B?
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      And, probably 1B and RF too....once Morneau is dealt....but yes, 3B is just as bad as SS. Heck, who is the 2B?
      That is correct as far as it goes. It appears that there is no one in the system that profiles as an above average regular at 2B, SS, 3B and RF. However, I think the Twins need to know whether they have to go outside their organization for any or all of those positions. As for Dozier, he has shown that he can adjust so far, so I think he'll be all right or better than that at the plate as a shortstop.

      I think Carroll has value as a utility guy for a good team. I hope he gets traded and brings back a decent return.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by stringer bell View Post
      That is correct as far as it goes. It appears that there is no one in the system that profiles as an above average regular at 2B, SS, 3B and RF. .
      That is not exactly correct
      Eddie Rosario profiles as above average at 2B and there are 2-3 players who profile as above average regulars at RF including Sano, if he ends up there instead of 1B. SS and 3B are issues, unless Travis Harrison can stay at 3B and does not have to move across the diamond. Just these guys are not playing to the majors any time soon...
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Ah, sorry thrylos, I thought we were talking within 3 years....yes, Rosario and Sano hopefully cover 2 of 2B, 1B, RF....
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      Now IS the time to be a Twins rookie. You can get a long looksee, or a chance to come up, sample the life, be rotated back to the minors to actually work on stuff, and be called up to see how you do...and if you show promise, chances are you will have a major league job in 2013....unless you pull a Valencia and get sent back down into limbo land. The only constraints the Twins have is how many people you can rotate thru the 40-man roster, future service time issues and all. You don't need to have a bunch of wannabees that are one-year wonders ONLY holding down the fort. Are they still raw enough to keep in the system and shine (Dozier, Parmele, Revere, Benson et al) or just replaceable fodder (Gray, Walters, Diamond, Maloney, Towles, Butera et al). There is no snortage of also ran players that can give you entertaining (not winning) baseball.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Waverley Wildcat View Post
      Looking for a short stop prospect in the Twins? How about James Beresford?
      I like Beresford too, but he has zero power and has an awful Slugging % to show for it. I can't see him ever breaking .700 in OPS and his baserunning is mediocre as well. There are too many flaws for him to ever become a regular on an MLB team.
    1. jessellsworth's Avatar
      jessellsworth -
      Great stuff as usual Nick! After reading this, various other articles and watching this team I have a new article idea for you. It's called "How in the hell does Bill Smith still have a job in this organization." Try and tackle that please!
    1. markos's Avatar
      markos -
      Is Niko Goodrum too far away from the majors to be considered in this, or has he been moved to a different position?
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by markos View Post
      Is Niko Goodrum too far away from the majors to be considered in this, or has he been moved to a different position?
      Goodrum has not played a single professional game yet He is in extended spring training and will probably start in Elizabethton this season.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      Have patience! Unless they determine after this year that he doesn't have the ability to defend at the major league level, they need to give him this year and next.

      I hope the Twins management is more wise than some on the board that want to group him in with players who have over 1000 major league plate appearances.

      The Twins need to develop their own. They can't buy a polished player for every position. Developing often includes times of struggle. Morneau, Hunter, Bartlett, Ortiz, Cuddyer all struggled early while on a path where they eventually played in an all star game.

      I really believe the Twins need to build with an eye towards 2014 and a goal of 90 wins. If the Twins don't find some pieces within the organization, they won't get out of this hole. He can be a piece of that puzzle. Parmelee can be another piece. There will be struggle along the way. Are we willing to wait?

      http://twinsdaily.com/entry.php?598-...-Growing-Pains
    1. PMKI's Avatar
      PMKI -
      If we want a SS that will be a mainstay then we need to draft Carlos Correa. I know he won't help for quite a few years but once he is up we will not have to worry about who is going to be the SS the next year because we will know Correa will be that guy for many years.
    1. markos's Avatar
      markos -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      Goodrum has not played a single professional game yet He is in extended spring training and will probably start in Elizabethton this season.
      Didn't Goodrum play at Elizabethton last season?
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      Quote Originally Posted by PMKI View Post
      If we want a SS that will be a mainstay then we need to draft Carlos Correa. I know he won't help for quite a few years but once he is up we will not have to worry about who is going to be the SS the next year because we will know Correa will be that guy for many years.
      I think Correa would be a good pick, but he will grow out of the SS position.
    1. PMKI's Avatar
      PMKI -
      Quote Originally Posted by jorgenswest View Post
      I think Correa would be a good pick, but he will grow out of the SS position.
      I guess that is a really possibility but than he can just go to third.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      These are transition years. Dozier can take his hacks, learn the hitting game at the mlb level, and maybe start raising his avg during the season. Meanwhile, he's a very solid glove at SS, and he's definitely a competitor. I think he's got a little Pedroia in him.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by markos View Post
      Didn't Goodrum play at Elizabethton last season?
      Yes and the GCL the season before. For some reason looks like he will repeat Elizabethton or get to Beloit after the promotions clear space. Just too many SS ahead of him right now (Michael, Grimes) so there is no playing time for him in pro ball yet this season.
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