Brian Dozier entered the 2013 season with little fanfare. He was coming off a moderate first season, well that's actually being a bit kind, so it's likely that he was only drafted in AL-only leagues as mixed leaguers would have paid him no mind. When it was all said and done Dozier ended up having a rather impressive season that not only made him a great play in AL-only leagues but also a solid play in mixed leagues as well in 2013.
Let me start out by just shocking you right off the top. No, I'm not going to post a picture of anything racy, who would do that? I'll just list a rather amazing fact for you.
Dozier had exactly 18 homers with 14 steals continuing along the past that saw him go deep six times with nine steals in 84 games as a rookie. It's only been 231 big league games for Dozier but per 500 at-bats we're looking at a guy who has averaged 14 homers and 13 steals. Are those huge numbers? They are not. But when looked at in conjunction with the fact that he's a second baseman, the combination is pretty solid. Among full-time second basemen only 11 guys hit 13 homers in 2013. As for the 14 thefts, only 11 second basemen got there. Again, they aren't huge numbers, but in context they are strong. There's not much upside in either category though for Dozier, especially in the homer category. His 41 percent fly ball rate and 9.9 HR/F rate are basically league average stuff and neither hints at much future growth.
The concern with Dozier? He's not a very refined hitter.
After batting .234 as a rookie Dozier upped the mark to a still unacceptable .244 in year two leaving him with a .240 batting average over 874 at-bats. A solid hitter in the lower minor league levels, Dozier didn't hit at all at Triple-A the lone year he played there as he hit .232 over 181 at-bats in 2012. Since the start of the 2012 season Dozier has failed to hit .240. Not good. Things get even worse when you look at his splits which show him to be an All-Star against lefties but the 25th man on a roster against righties.
vs. lefties: .328/.408/.570 vs. righties: .219/.282/.367
It's going to be pretty tough for Dozier to offer much more than we saw last season if he flails that badly against right-handed pitchers.
Like many hitters who aren't strong in the batting average category, Dozier strikes out a fair bit. One hundred twenty strikeouts isn't a huge total in this day and age, but it's still not a great number. He also doesn't walk much as he took 51 free passes. The result was a league average 0.43 BB/K rate. Combine that mark with his poor batting average and the result was a .312 OBP. Unfortunately for Dozier that was an improvement over his .271 mark from his rookie season. When you don't get on base it's tough to be looked at as a big run scoring threat. Hence his total of 72 runs last season is pretty much the best he's going to be able to offer.
Though Brian entered 2013 as a shortstop, he actually spent all of 2013 a the second base position. That was fine for 2013 as he qualified at both spots, but realize that he's only eligible at second base in 2014.
Dozier is a nice combination of power and speed, and that gives him a lot of juice in the fantasy game as there just aren't many second sackers who are capable of producing a 15/15 season. On the flip side, love the colloquialism by the way, there are obvious concerns. Dozier isn't a big power or speed guy despite the solid numbers. Dozier isn't going to morph into Kirby Puckett and hit .300 anytime soon. He may not even be an average producer in batting average. He strikes out a fair amount. He doesn't walk much. Therefore is a poor OBP option which will limit his run scoring (he inexplicably started 74 games in the leadoff spot for the Twins despite batting .253 with a .310 OBP in those opportunities. He's woefully miscast as a leadoff hitter and should be batting well down in the order). Dozier does everything well enough that he could be your starting second baseman in 2014, but he does nothing well enough that he should be viewed as a potential fantasy star in 2014.
By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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