Brian Dozier has been one of a handful of players that can be considered to be the best players in fantasy baseball over the first quarter of the season. He's hit homers, stolen bases and scored runs at a league leading pace. Just how legit has this start to his season been and can he possible post one of the most out of nowhere 30/30 seasons in baseball history?
Brian Dozier had an ADP of 204 according to late March numbers from the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. Given that he was one of four players on the infield to go 18/14 in 2013, a fact I pointed out in his offseason Player Profile, that seemed like an extremely reasonable cost to pay to attain his services. Those that did add Dozier have already gotten their monies worth as Dozier has almost matched his totals in homers and steals from last season – in 43 games (he has 104 games to hit seven homer and steal two bases to even things up). Pretty sure he gets there. The real question is what should we expect from Dozier moving forward? My thoughts follow, and as you might have surmised, they aren't as rosie as many would like.
Dozier's skills, brace yourself, aren't remotely stupendous. They aren't even that impressive if I'm being honest. I know how stupid that statement makes me sound, but let me explain.
For his career Dozier owns a 0.97 GB/FB rate and a 20.1 percent line drive rate. Those are league average numbers.
For his career he owns a 10.4 percent HR/F ratio. That's a league average number.
For his career his BABIP is .274. That's a slightly below league average number.
For his career his 0.45 BB/K ratio is league average.
For his career his .244 batting average is below league average.
For his career his .312 OBP is below the league average.
For his career his .400 SLG is below the league average.
I know, I know, but facts are fact, and everything just stated is true. Look it up.
Let's dig deeper.
Dozier is a career .244 hitter. Even with his excellent start this season he's only batting .263. This has to be noted – Dozier struggles against right-handed pitching. Just look at his career numbers: .297/.297/.357. That's actually a woeful line. You cannot be a star in this league if you produce that poorly against righties.
Further evidence that his average will be nothing other than league average follows. As I noted his BABIP and line drive rates are league average at best. Even this year neither number stands out. In fact, both numbers are worse than his career marks (his BABIP is down two points, his line drive rate is three percentage points down).
Dozier also has an 84.6 percent contact rate in 2014 and owns an 84.5 percent mark for his career. Nothing has changed.
He's never going to be a batting average force and may struggle to do anything other than break even in this category.
His first two seasons Dozier had OBPs of .271 and .312 and through 1,006 plate appearances he had a .297 OBP. So how do we explain the explosion his OBP has taken this year, all the way up to .377? Logically we can't, even if his minor league OBP was .370.
After two years his walk rates were 4.7 and 8.2 percent (BB/PAs). Add those two numbers together and you get 12.9 percent. This season that mark is 14.5 percent. Guys do not double there walk rates from one season to the next. Just doesn't happen. It doesn't. Let me repeat, it doesn't. It especially doesn't when that player, in more than 1,600 minor league plate appearances, posted a BB-rate of 9.5 percent. I'm going with five years of an established level here over 43 games of a massive jump up from league average to borderline elite. You should do that same. His OBP is going to recede and with his his runs scored rate will too (he has 41 runs in 43 games).
That brings up one final point – the steal.
During his minor league career Brian stole a base every 7.9 games.
In years one and two in the big leagues he stole a base every 10 games.
This season that mark is one every 3.6 games.
Do you really believe that in year six of his profession career he's going to surpass his previously established baseline by more than 100 percent? It's not logical to think the answer to that question is yes. When his OBP recedes, and it likely will, he'll be on base less which will likely lead to his stolen base pace to slow. Plus, no one ever thought this guy would ever steal 40 bases at the big league level.
Brian Dozier hit a home run every 87.8 at-bats in the minors.
Brian Dozier hit a homer run every 36.4 at-bats his first two years in the big leagues.
Brian Dozier has hit a homer every 15.5 at-bats in 2014.
In 2012 his HR/F ratio was 6.3 percent.
In 2013 his HR/F ratio was 9.9 percent.
In 2014 his HR/F ratio is 19.0 percent.
His 2014 mark is more than 2012-13 combined (16.2).
You can't possibly tell me you think that the 2014 level is who he is. Please tell me you don't believe that.
There is nothing in his background, track record, or skill set to suggest a leap to his current level was coming. Can't envision how it's a sustainable pace.