• 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. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      I assume the Rangers will bring back Murphy to play CF. He is fine. What they seem to want is more starting pitching.

      They are a little backlogged at 1B and 3B with Beltre, Young, Moreland, and Olt. They will likely not make a qualifying offer to Napoli.

      I really think Napoli would be a perfect fit for the Twins.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      I don't believe Florimon's reputation in the minors was that of an elite defender.

      He went unclaimed when the Twins DFA'd him last spring. Someone would have claimed an elite defender.
    1. twinscowboysbulls's Avatar
      twinscowboysbulls -
      I think a lot of people are forgetting how important this lasik surgery is. Dozier will probably automatically turn into a .330/.420 type hitter, I mean look at the drastic impact it had on Span when he got it!!!!
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by jorgenswest View Post
      I don't believe Florimon's reputation in the minors was that of an elite defender.

      He went unclaimed when the Twins DFA'd him last spring. Someone would have claimed an elite defender.
      Twins brass sure touted him as such...did so in the stories on the Twins site...and so did the announcers...not sure what they were seeing...was it his lack of range or his huge amount of errors that made them scream, WOW...he's a top flight defender
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      The way I read RZR, is the efficiency a defender converts into outs those balls he should convert into outs, as define by baseballinfosolutions' "zone."

      It is given that over a large enough sample, all defenders field virtually the same number and type of batted balls to their zone. Likewise, we can also assume defenders will have the same opportunities to field balls outside their zone.

      So, given these assumptions, I calculated out of zone plays made per inning. These are your 2012 leaders at SS (min 300 innings).




      I comped to Castro not because Castro's an elite defender (he's average), but he has good range as defined by this measure, yet is below average at fielding in-range balls.

      It is mostly semantics, outs are outs. I am only quibbling about the argument that Florimon has limited range, because based on what little data we have, I think the opposite is true.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      'It is given that over a large enough sample, all defenders field virtually the same number and type of batted balls to their zone.'

      I don't think it's a given at all, and if you look at innings played, BIZ and Plays on Fangraphs, it shows that isn't true. In any event, the amount of Balls in Zone (BIZ) is used to calculate their RZR, along with the amount plays made in the zone. The zone for shortstop is set for everyone and the amount of balls that go into that zone is used in the calculation along with the amount of the balls in the zone the player converted to outs.

      ' Likewise, we can also assume defenders will have the same opportunities to field balls outside their zone.''

      I don't see how this could be assumed either.

      In any event, RZR measures the range. OOZ measure the amount of balls fielded outside of the position's set range. ZR used to have RZR and OOZ combined, but they felt it wasn't giving us accurate info, so it divided the two. You need to take a look at both to get a good view on the overall skill of the defender, but range is RZR.

      Your 'given' and assumption seems to suggest you wanna discount RZR all together as all the numbers needed to calculate it will equal out if you project out far enough. Seems you just want to use OOZ as the measure of range, which is cool if that's what you wanna do...but that's not the stat for normal range of the player.

      And if you wanna just go by what you see, I didn't see exceptional range by any means. He came in on balls well, but his side to side was nothing special
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      'It is given that over a large enough sample, all defenders field virtually the same number and type of batted balls to their zone. Likewise, we can also assume defenders will have the same opportunities to field balls outside their zone.'

      I don't think we can say the above is true, or everyone would have the same amount of Balls in Zone (BIZ) used to calculate their RZR.
      That is a bedrock assumption, and even in a small sample like this, BIZ correlates well with innings.

      Attachment 2557

      I assume that balls out of zone correlates similarly. But no, I don't have that data.

      Edit: you can also look at the names at the top of that leaderboard, they are the usual suspects.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      'It is given that over a large enough sample, all defenders field virtually the same number and type of batted balls to their zone. Likewise, we can also assume defenders will have the same opportunities to field balls outside their zone.'

      I don't think we can say the above is true, or everyone would have the same amount of Balls in Zone (BIZ) used to calculate their RZR.
      That is a bedrock assumption, and even in a small sample like this, BIZ correlates well with innings.

      Attachment 2557

      I assume that balls out of zone correlates similarly. But no, I don't have that data.

      Edit: you can also look at the names at the top of that leaderboard, they are the usual suspects.
      Ramirez played 142 MORE innings than Escobar, but they had the same amount of Balls in Zone. Exactly the same amount. Barmes had one less ball in zone than Ramirez and Escobar, in almost 100 LESS innings than Escobar. So you have 3 defenders there, and Barmes had 1 less ball in zone than Ramirez even though he played in 233 less innings.

      Additionally, Reyes had one more Ball in Zone than Ramirez and Escobar, but he played in 18 more innings than Ramirez, 160 more than Escobar and 251 more than Barmes. Yet, Reyes had less plays made than Ramirez, Escobar AND Barmes.

      But you say 'all defenders field virtually the same number and type of batted balls to their zone' That's not what the info above says. If it was true, everyone would have the same RZR...since that's an average.

      Edited for typos...I'm a horrible typist
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      Over a large enough sample, that is the predicate.

      I admit, 300 innings is a small sample. But if you're going to dismiss those 300 then you can neither conclude that Florimon has limited range.

      The principle is sound though.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      Over a large enough sample, that is the predicate.

      I admit, 300 innings is a small sample. But if you're going to dismiss those 300 then you can neither conclude that Florimon has limited range.

      The principle is sound though.
      I appreciate the effort you put into your given, but the info I showed above kind of hurts that given. And the guys I used finished 3-6 in innings played at shortstop, so it's a strong sample size.

      In any event, if your given was true...that if spread out far enough everyone would have the same amount of balls in zone and the same of plays made on them....then their RZRs would be the same...since RZR is the average. If your given was true, they wouldn't even use the RZR, it'd be meaningless.
    1. Montecore's Avatar
      Montecore -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      Over a large enough sample, that is the predicate.

      I admit, 300 innings is a small sample. But if you're going to dismiss those 300 then you can neither conclude that Florimon has limited range.

      The principle is sound though.
      I appreciate the effort you put into your given, but the info I showed above kind of hurts that given. And the guys I used finished 3-6 in innings played at shortstop, so it's a strong sample size.

      In any event, if your given was true...that if spread out far enough everyone would have the same amount of balls in zone and the same of plays made on them....then their Rherwould be the same...since RZR is the average. If your given was true, they wouldn't even use the RZR, it'd be meaningless.
      They're likely to lose 90 plus again. There's gotta be somebody other than Dozier or Florimon.
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      that if spread out far enough everyone would have the same amount of balls in zone and the same of plays made on them
      That is not the assumption. The assumption is only the first part, that BIZ will normalize over a large enough sample, not that all defenders would make the same number of plays.

      3 years of full time duty is an often sited figure for when defensive metrics start to become meaningful. So a .757 RZR after two months of play is no more an indication that his range is weak, than his high proportion of OOZ plays is an indication that his range is actually strong. That is all the point I'm making.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      That is not the assumption. The assumption is only the first part, that BIZ will normalize over a large enough sample, not that all defenders would make the same number of plays.
      But you wrote: 'It is given that over a large enough sample, all defenders field virtually the same number and type of batted balls to their zone'

      I interpreted 'field' as making plays. As in he fielded the ball. Was that a bad interpretation?
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      I apologize for the confusion. I meant field in the sense that "Jr fielded 10 questions, and answered 7 of them."
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      I apologize for the confusion. I meant field in the sense that "Jr fielded 10 questions, and answered 7 of them."
      Ah...well that kind of negates the whole debate doesn't it :-)
    1. Fire Dan Gladden's Avatar
      Fire Dan Gladden -
      Dozier who?

      Does anybody really think he has a chance to make the roster out of ST given he wasn't even called back up in September?
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Fire Dan Gladden View Post
      Dozier who?

      Does anybody really think he has a chance to make the roster out of ST given he wasn't even called back up in September?
      I hope so
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