It’s August and the Minnesota Twins find themselves in the thick of the wild card hunt. While the deck is stacked against them making any real noise for a postseason run, there are plenty of fun narratives to watch down the stretch. As this team continues to mature and grow as a whole, the youth on the roster will continue to impress. In August though, the stage becomes Brian Dozier’s.To appreciate what may lie ahead, we must first look back at what was. In 2016, nothing went right for the Twins except for the power bat of Dozier. In launching 42 long balls on the year, he posted an incredible twenty-nine game August. With hits in all but three of those contests, he owned a .302/.358/.714 slash line with nine doubles, two triples and 13 home runs. By far, it was his best month of the season.
Last year on July 31, Dozier owned a 34.7% hard hit rate, an 18.4% HR/FB mark, and was making contact 79% of the time. In August, those numbers swelled to a 47% hard hit rate and a 29.5% HR/FB ratio despite a contact dip to 76.7%. Having already put together solid numbers, Dozier took things to another level.
In 2017, we may well be experiencing the same type of late summer surge. Coming into the month, Dozier owned a .767 OPS with 17 long balls. It has been a pretty standard Dozier year, and he has experienced the expected level of regression. The power hadn’t shown quite as much however, and his on base prowess could’ve used some work. Then the calendar turned.
As of this writing, the Twins have played only eight games in the August. Across that small sample size, Dozier owns 11 hits in 33 at-bats and has posted a .333/.371/.8181 slash line. He’s gone deep five times already, and is using the right side of the field more than any other point in his career. In fact, Dozier has three opposite field home runs in 2017, despite just having four total since 2013.
There are definitely some players who start slower than others and the warmth of late summer brings about (even) more juiced-baseball-like results. For Brian Dozier though, it seems like everything is amplified. Whether it is that he’s settled into a groove, or is giving the season his last bit of gusto, he’s coming off a 2016 August for the ages, and looking at repeating the performance this year.
Last off-season the Twins tried to spin Dozier’s breakout year into a nice trade package, but couldn’t find any worthy takers. Now, it would stand to reason that Dozier makes sense as a piece for Minnesota’s next postseason run, and that should commence as soon as 2018. Rather than dive into what exactly may have been at play in the early months, it’s fun to just gaze at the greatness that is Dozier in August.
When the dust settles on the summer’s final month, Twins fans will again hope that their second baseman will put numbers up in the Killebrew realm. With a few weeks left, he may just be getting started.
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