• Don't Forget Dozier

    As the World Series combatants are now set, and we all start putting together our thoughts for what the Twins offseason should look like, one of the key positions discussed by many is the middle infield. Specifically, people are asking now who the Twins shortstop will be early in the 2013 season. Some will say Jamey Carroll. Pedro Florimon’s name is mentioned. Could the Twins go outside the organization to fill the spot?

    One name that is hardly ever mentioned at this point is that of Brian Dozier.

    One year ago at this time, Dozier was making a name for himself with some solid performance in the Arizona Fall League. That was coming off of a 2011 season that saw him named the Twins Minor League Hitter of the Year. In that 2011, just the second full season in the pros for Dozier, he split time between Ft. Myers and New Britain. He combined to hit a robust .320/.399/.490 with 33 doubles, 12 triples, 9 home runs, 56 RBI, 92 Runs scored, and 24 stolen bases. He filled the stat page while quickly proving himself as a team leader and a solid defender in the field.

    Despite being in a prolonged slump, Dozier made his Twins and Major League debut as a 24-year-old. In his time with the Twins, Dozier showed some flashes of the kind of talent he had displayed in 2011. He showed a little bit of power. He made some nice plays with his glove and arm. But overall, he really struggled in his debut. In 84 games and 340 plate appearances, he hit .234/.272/.332 with 11 doubles, a triple and six home runs. He was successful on nine of eleven stolen base attempts.

    As you know, John Bonnes was able to interview Twins GM Terry Ryan yesterday for the Offseason GM Handbook. During their discussion, the middle infield was one of many, many Twins topics mentioned.

    When asked whether he thought there were any Twins minor league middle infielders who he felt could fill the shortstop role for the next several years, Ryan said, “Yeah, yeah we do.”

    When pushed, Ryan continued, “Well, it depends what you think of some of the guys we’ve got. What do you think about (Brian Dozier)? What do you think about Pedro Florimon?”

    The answer to those two questions may come with very different answers for many of you. Coming into the 2012 season, I was quite high on Brian Dozier. I ranked him as my #11 Twins prospect. Now, #11 doesn’t shout out elite prospect or perennial All-Star. I agree. I don’t know of anyone who ever said that Dozier would be (although in spring training, we certainly read a few articles that pushed a reader to think that way). My thought on Dozier continues to be that he can be a solid, every day shortstop for a half-dozen years. Considering the Twins frequent musical chairs seasons at the position, a ‘solid, every day shortstop for a half-dozen years’ sounds pretty good.
    Will he get there? As with any prospect, #1s, #11s or #111s, no one knows that answer. But to jump off of the Brian Dozier bandwagon because of 84 games in his first stint in the big leagues is not something that should happen. Dozier has had success in the upper levels of the minors filling out a stat line and showing leadership qualities and of solid defense.

    What does Mr. Ryan think of the Florimon/Dozier/Shortstop situation?

    “They’ve got the skills to play shortstop and it didn’t quite go as well, but they’re not the first guy that has come and had to go back. About every player that comes up here has to go back once or twice. We’ve got hope for Dozier and Florimon and we think they’re certainly capable of doing that job. They need some more polishing and consistency and taking a quality at-bats and all that stuff. But they have enough arm. They have enough speed. They have enough range. They have enough agility. And more importantly, they have enough baseball intellect to play the position. So. One of them is 25 [years old] and the other one is 25. And they’re getting to the point now where we should expect them to take the next step forward and we’ll be anxious to see what they look like in spring training.”

    Now, Pedro Florimon has had very little offensive success in his long minor league career. However, he is known to be an elite defensive shortstop. Back in the day, that used to be enough, and frankly, assuming health, the Twins should have enough offense to account for a little less offense from a strong defensive shortstop. But this isn’t a backup catcher who plays once every five games or so. We are talking about the starting shortstop position, a guy that plays every day, so there does need to be some minimal offensive threshold. I don’t know if Florimon can reach that number.

    If he can, he becomes a legitimate shortstop option, and in that case, Brian Dozier could easily transition to second base where he would do well. With Jamey Carroll around, there is always competition and a backup plan or two. Frankly, I would not spend money on another middle infielder when I believe almost all money should go to pitching. I think Dozier is very capable of stepping up in 2013 as a solid contributor.

    So, I will concur with one thing that Terry Ryan said in his interview. “Don’t give up on Dozier and Florimon yet!”

    To read the full transcript of John’s terrific, in-depth, exclusive interview with Terry Ryan, be sure to order your copy of the Offseason GM Handbook today. Of course, it comes with much more, like player grades, free agent lists with estimated contracts, lots of minor league information, a foreword by Aaron Gleeman, our blueprints, and so much more.
    This article was originally published in blog: Don't forget Dozier started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 37 Comments
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      After watching Dozier play, I think his future is at second base. If he can hit some. I don't think he's got the range or the arm to make it as a shortstop long-term, but I wouldn't give up on him as a possible contributor in the near future.
    1. nick5253's Avatar
      nick5253 -
      I seem to be in the minority, but I am fine with Florimon at short. I think either Span or Revere is going to be moved this offseason, so that will open a spot for another power guy in RF so the Twins would really only have the 8/9 spots in the lineup as a weekness which could be reserved for the middle infielders. And given the pitching staff, I would trot out the best middle infielders possible and sacrifice offense.

      This would be my lineup (assuming a Span trade):
      Revere (CF), Mauer (C), Willingham (LF), Morneau (1B), Doumit (DH), Parmelee (RF), Plouffe (3B), Dozier (2B), Florimon (SS)

      Or if Carroll is your guy at 2nd base, he could hit 2nd or 8th.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      After watching Dozier play, I think his future is at second base. If he can hit some. I don't think he's got the range or the arm to make it as a shortstop long-term, but I wouldn't give up on him as a possible contributor in the near future.
      Fangraphs lists Dozier's range at .796. That puts him between Aybar and Reyes. Florimon at .757.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      After watching Dozier play, I think his future is at second base. If he can hit some. I don't think he's got the range or the arm to make it as a shortstop long-term, but I wouldn't give up on him as a possible contributor in the near future.
      Fangraphs lists Dozier's range at .796. That puts him between Aybar and Reyes. Florimon at .757.
      Fangraphs lists lots of things, including numbers that are meaningless or can be misleading.

      Dozier's UZR was -1.2 and Florimon's was 1.4.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post

      Fangraphs lists lots of things, including numbers that are meaningless or can be misleading.

      Dozier's UZR was -1.2 and Florimon's was 1.4.
      Yeah, I thought we were talking range...but yeah, I get that a lot of people throw out stats as meaningless when they don't support their views.

      In any event, we also have Florimon who averaged 40+ errors per 162 games in the minors...and jumped right on board with making errors when he was brought up. I don't really judge people on errors or fielding percentage, but that's still a huge amount. Couple that with poor range, and I doubt he's good enough to be a major league starting shortstop.
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      RZR stands for revised zone rating. It is the percentage of balls hit into a player's zone that are turned into outs. Dozier's was .796 (n 207), Florimon's was .757 (n 111), Carroll's was .810 (n 105) last year (at SS).

      Dozier, Florimon, and Carroll made 39, 29 and 18 plays out of their zone, respectively (at SS). For comparison, JJ Hardy made a mlb-high 109 OOZ plays last year compared to 409 balls hit into his zone. That was a career high for him. But Florimon's OOZ plays as a percentage of balls hit into his zone was virtually the same as Hardy's - .261 to .260, although Hardy has been much better at converting balls in zone into outs.

      Small sample sizes for Dozier and Flormon, maybe meaningless. If not meaningless, then Flormin would seem to be slightly rangier. Possibly a Starlin Castro type defender.

      If only he could hit like Castro.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      key words in above comment--small sample sizes....

      lets give Dozier and Florimon the opportunity to play middle IF at spring training. If one stands out (or maybe both) go with them next season with Carroll as a backup. I admit to being a big Dozier fan--I think he can be a decent MLB SS...maybe Florimon too...but give them a shot...look at how many shots Alexei has had.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      'Florimon's OOZ plays as a percentage of balls hit into his zone was virtually the same as Hardy's - .261 to .260'

      Plays outside of zone (OOZ) aren't including in the RZR at all...it's to be looked at separately as part of the overall defensive measure. Florimon had 111 balls hit into his zone. He made 84 plays, but those plays were made on ball in zone (BIZ). That gives you the .757 RZR.

      His 29 plays OOZ aren't included in the 84 plays. It's a separate issue. OOZ is purposely excluded. So that 29 plays made OOZ isn't part of the 84 plays and therefore isn't a percentage of overall plays he made in his zone.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      I don't think either Dozier or Florimon has played enough for us to be able to look at their defensive metrics and be convinced that they are or aren't good defenders.

      I think that putting Dozier at 2B would give him a somewhat better chance at being successful, at least defensively. But he still has to hit.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by DAM DC Twins Fans View Post
      key words in above comment--small sample sizes....

      lets give Dozier and Florimon the opportunity to play middle IF at spring training. If one stands out (or maybe both) go with them next season with Carroll as a backup. I admit to being a big Dozier fan--I think he can be a decent MLB SS...maybe Florimon too...but give them a shot...look at how many shots Alexei has had.
      It would be nice if, for once, we actually had a spring training battle where the winner was labeled the starter...
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Plays outside of zone (OOZ) aren't including in the RZR at all...it's to be looked at separately as part of the overall defensive measure. Florimon had 111 balls hit into his zone. He made 84 plays, but those plays were made on ball in zone (BIZ). That gives you the .757 RZR.
      Yes but the absolute value OOZ doesn't provide much context. I debated using Innings instead of BIZ but figured that would be less meaningfull to most people.

      Unfortunately there's no stat OOZ opportunities.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      If the Rangers lose Hamilton and need a CF would a Span for Andrus trade work?
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      I keep hearing Andrus' name brought up. Is he on the trading block and I've missed it?
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      I keep hearing Andrus' name brought up. Is he on the trading block and I've missed it?
      He's got Jurickson Profar breathing down his neck.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      and that's good, they have depth, but is there any word, they're going to move Andrus out. Profar will be 20 next season?

      I mean, heck, I'd like to get him...just not sure Texas would trade him...at least not yet.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      profar and olt , the 2 who are being eyed as trade bait
    1. Jack Torse's Avatar
      Jack Torse -
      Most rookies, especially shortstops, struggle badly when forced to play in the majors. Both offensively and defensively. It wasn't all bad either in 2012. It's not like the Twins are going to compete next season so I have no problems with playing Dozier and I think they should. I'm shocked by reading his 2011 minor league totals. Actually those numbers are absolutely outstanding and I'm suprised he wasn't a bigger prospect based on them alone. That's better than anything Hicks or as good as anything Arcia has done and people in these parts are almost universally high on them. Very good article Seth.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      I wouldn't give up on Dozier just yet. Not sure I'd plan on him either. I think I'd sign Kelly Johnson and Stephen Drew to 1 year prove it contracts and let Brian start in AAA.
    1. twinswon1991's Avatar
      twinswon1991 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
      If the Rangers lose Hamilton and need a CF would a Span for Andrus trade work?
      If you throw in Sano and Rosario with Span you might be able to get Andrus. Otherwise, the best you will get for Span is a single A pitcher with upside. Too many good CF on the market and Span isn't an upgrade for most teams over their incumbant.
    1. righty8383's Avatar
      righty8383 -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinswon1991 View Post
      If you throw in Sano and Rosario with Span you might be able to get Andrus. Otherwise, the best you will get for Span is a single A pitcher with upside. Too many good CF on the market and Span isn't an upgrade for most teams over their incumbant.
      Did you really just suggest it would take Sano Rosario and Span to get Andrus?
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.