06-04-2014, 03:31 PM #1
Sports on Earth: Surprise Turnaround (Brian Dozier)
I was struck by the idea in another thread that Dozier's turnaround was, perhaps, somewhat attributable to "smoke and mirrors".
I read this article from Sports on Earth earlier today:
It gives a much better understanding of the transformation that Dozier has gone through both defensively and at the plate.
Defensively, this explanation comes from Gardenhire about the move from SS to 2B:
"Well the one thing, shortstop, you need to be a little more aggressive," Gardenhire said. "You have to come get the ball that's on the other side of the field. And Doz is one of these fielders that would kind of lie back. And every play at first base from shortstop would be bang-bang. And there'd be times when he'd lie back and a guy would beat it. So you start thinking about at second base, would be perfect, because you do lie back there a lot more.
"He's very athletic. He's turned out to be perfect for it. But you never know. You say, we'll put you over here and see what happens over here. You know at shortstop, we constantly tried to get him to move up in the field, play shorter, because he'd back up so much. And he was never comfortable there. He'd always go back, go back ... we knew he was a good player, good hands, good arm, he could swing it a little bit, he could run. So now you just have to find a fit for him. So you try the other side. ... It's worked out for him."
At the plate, he and Brunansky dissected hours of film:
"So we dissected my swing for days upon days, that whole week in Detroit. And we saw I wasn't getting my foot down -- meaning, I was getting my foot down, but my toe. My whole foot wasn't flat, so when I started my swing, my whole foot wasn't down, I started [and] everything kind of collapsed. We made it muscle memory for a week, trying to get the foot down, and ever since then, I started seeing the ball more, creating more power, walks up, strikeouts down, just because I could see the ball better."
Overall the author does a good job of looking at Dozier's transformation -- and it sounds like much of it was due to a "better fit" in the field and to a lot of hard work that Dozier willingly put in.
06-04-2014, 04:38 PM #2
I'm always skeptical of the idea that changing position defensively will create a large difference offensively. I understand that you can take poor play from the field and bring it into the batters box, and that a switch from SS to 2B probably helped, but I just don't like the idea that the position change itself is the root cause of the offensive ability output. I think the change in his approach at the plate, the foot thing, that's where the real change comes from.
Wherever you want to put the credit, I'm happy with the results.
06-04-2014, 04:47 PM #3
I really don't think either the author or I were putting much credit on the defensive change influencing the offensive change.
I see three separate things happening here:
1. The Defensive change -- going from mediocre at shortstop to what appears to be an elite 2B man
2. The change in his stance and the hard work he and Bruno put in to identify the problem and also maturing as a batter (putting the foot down, better ability to identify pitches, laying off the breaking balls)
3. The work he is now putting in with Molitor and Vavra to improve his running game.
Overall it just paints a picture of a player who is maturing very well.