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TwinsCentric: Why you should expect a rebound from Brian Dozier

Posted by: Parker Hageman Updated: April 19, 2013 - 8:54 AM

Let’s just say Brian Dozier has had a slow start to his 2013 season.

Repping a less than stellar.189/.279/.243 batting line through his first 44 plate appearances, the Twins’ second baseman has been extremely inoffensive and has statistically continued where he left off during following his demotion in August of last year. Despite this slow beginning, there is reasons to not lose hope that Dozier’s career will fall into a no-hit middle infielder that has plagued the Twins for the better part of the new millennium.

The first encouraging sign from Dozier is that he is (1) sporting a much improved strikeout-to-walk ratio.

This is supremely important to any future success for the middle infielder. As a minor leaguer, Dozier owned a decent 1.2 strikeouts-to-walks ratio – meaning he drew nearly as many walks as he did strikeout. When he was promoted to the majors last year, that ability to hone the zone dissipated. He took just 16 walks in 340 plate appearances while striking out 58 times - or a 3.63 strikeout-to-walk ratio – a true indicator that he was not completely comfortable at the major league level. But, through 13 games this year, he’s had a much improved walk rate and has a 1.8 strikeout-to-walk ratio, closer mirroring his minor league track record. 

Those few free passes in 2012 resulted in a 4.7% walk rate which placed him in the bottom third in that category. Much of that derived from overextending the strike zone (35% out-of-zone swing rate compared to the 30% league average) and having an overall overzealous approach at the plate. Again, in the small sampling this year, he’s increased his walk rate to a significantly improved 11.4% - the fifth-highest among qualified second basemen. 

The story has been slightly different for Dozier in 2013. He has trimmed his swing zone down to a more manageable area (chasing just 26% of out-of-zone pitches) and has been able to fight off a high number pitches to extend his at bats. So far this year, he’s 39% of his strikes have originated from foul balls while the rest of the league’s average is 27%. 

Consider this: When Ron Gardenhire put him in the lead-off spot after Darin Mastroianni was pushed to the DL on Tuesday, Dozier’s first at bat against the Angels’ Jason Vargas consisted of him fouling off five fastballs – working the left-hander over for ten pitches total. While the at bat resulted in an out, Dozier got Vargas’s pitch count rising from the get-go. In the fourth inning, he got enough of Vargas’s 0-2 down-and-dirty curve in order to see a fastball the next pitch which he drilled into right field for a base hit. 

Fouling off pitches is not a repeatable skill, per se, but it has aided him in prolonging his at bats which has led to a higher frequency of walks. The end game -- more walks and high on-base percentage -- bodes very well for Dozier’s contributions for the rest of the season.

The second reason Dozier is rather than attempting to pull every pitch, he’s (2) going the other way and back up the middle.

Check out his breakdown of batted balls by direction hit from last year to this year: 

Dozier’s Batted Ball By Location














Without question, Dozier is going the other way with the pitches that are on the outer-half of the strike zone rather than trying to yank everything under the sun. As I outlined at Twins Daily last year, opponents recognized this tendency and lambasted him with fastball away and an abundance of sliders. I concluded that analysis by writing: 

“Specifically for Dozier, offensive progress means trying to re-calibrate his swing zone. If pitchers are going to continue to pound away, make sure you start going with that pitch instead of turning it over (CC: Danny Valencia). If they are trying to get you to fish, try to wait for something in the zone (which is always easier said than done). Being a successful everyday contributor means being able to make adjustments quickly.”

As mentioned above, Dozier’s keying in on pitches in the zone better. Additionally, what we see out of him is a much better ability to go with the pitch rather than turn on everything. He is allowing the ball to travel deeper into the zone before contact. As such, he keeps his weight ack well and that helps drive the ball to center and opposite field.

Here’s a still comparison of the point of impact and his improved mechanical balance. The first two images are his swings in 2013. Notice how he has a firm front side and keeps his weight back on these pitches middle-up and middle-away:





There are examples of swings that Dozier displayed in spring training, in which I advised to watch for this year. While the results have been not been there, the form is much better.

Compare those two examples to two from 2012. Both instances came against left-handed pitches, both locations were away and both wound up grounders to the left side. In both cases, Dozier’s weight gets out in front of him as he reaches for – and pulls – both pitches thrown on the outer-half of the zone. Notice, too, that his front foot comes unglued in the samples. This is creating a less than solid base to swing from.





Dozier has a much more solid fundamental approach at the plate this season - something that was not present a year ago. With a more discriminating eye at the plate and now functional mechanics in place to drive the ball to all areas of the ballpark, his numbers should steadily improve as the season progresses. 

More at

Seth Stohs looks at the minor leagues and provides a recap of yesterday's events

Speaking of prospects, Twins Daily contributor Jeremy Nygaard gives an International Signing preview

The Twins will square off against the mighty Whities tonight in Chicago and TD has all the info you need on the upcoming series

Finally, DiamondCentric has GAME SIX tees in presale. (I know it doesn't feel like t-shirt weather but it will happen soon enough.)

Baltimore «00400710X12180
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:W.Chen(14-4) L:R.Nolasco(5-10) S:Z.Britton (31)
HR: MIN- T.Plouffe (12), D.Santana (7) BAL- J.Hardy (9), N.Cruz (35), R.Flaherty (6)


NY Yankees - LP: B. McCarthy 3 FINAL
Toronto - WP: J. Happ 4
Philadelphia - LP: A. Burnett 5 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: D. Gee 6
Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Hughes 2
Minnesota - LP: R. Nolasco 8 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: W. Chen 12
Boston - WP: C. Buchholz 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: A. Cobb 0
Detroit - LP: R. Porcello 2 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Quintana 6
Texas - LP: N. Cotts 2 FINAL
Houston - WP: J. Veras 3
Chicago Cubs - LP: C. Villanueva 6 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: P. Neshek 9
Oakland - LP: S. Kazmir 1 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: M. Shoemaker 8
Milwaukee - LP: K. Lohse 5 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 15
Los Angeles - WP: H. Ryu 7 FINAL
San Diego - LP: E. Stults 1
Washington - LP: T. Roark 3 FINAL
Seattle - WP: H. Iwakuma 5
Colorado - LP: J. De La Rosa 2 FINAL
Arizona - WP: C. Anderson 6
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 0 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: A. Wood 1
Cleveland 4 Suspended
Kansas City 2
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 FINAL
(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 31 FINAL
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 FINAL
Texas 38
(1) Florida State 37 FINAL
Oklahoma State 31
(14) Wisconsin 24 FINAL
(13) LSU 28
Idaho 0 Postponed
Florida 0
South Dakota 13 FINAL
(3) Oregon 62
(25) Washington 17 FINAL
Hawaii 16
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Red Bull New York 0 FINAL
D.C. 2
Los Angeles 3 FINAL
Chivas USA 0
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 30 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Toronto 12:00 PM
Edmonton 3:30 PM
Phoenix 77 FINAL
Minnesota 82
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