• Terry Ryan Thinks Brian Dozier Was Rushed In '12


    TwinsFest is one of the most fun weekends for fans of the Minnesota Twins and this past weekend was no different. There is excitement building for the new season, fans can gather to talk about their passion, and the players are happy to interact with fans of all ages.

    During the last couple of years, one of my favorite parts of the weekend has been the fan question and answer session with Terry Ryan, Jim Pohlad, and Dave St. Peter. It offers fans the opportunity to ask any of these men a question about the offseason changes and the team's new direction. It is still a very unique opportunity to interact with the Twins organization's top men.

    One of the more interesting quotes to come out of this session surrounded next year's middle infield. Ryan was asked a general question about the four men that will be fighting to play shortstop and second base. He talked about Pedro Florimon, Eduardo Escobar, and Jamey Carroll but he made one statement about Brian Dozier that stood out.

    Ryan said that it was his fault for Dozier's poor rookie year performance. He thought Dozier was rushed to the big leagues and the team pushed him too hard to find success at that level. He added that the Dozier that fans saw in 2012 was not the player that the organization knows he can be.

    Let's turn the clock back a year to last year's TwinsFest. At that point, Dozier had to be sitting pretty. He was coming off of his best season in professional baseball and he was named the Twins inor league Player of the Year. Ron Gardenhire had spoke well of Dozier to the press and it seemed that his stock would continue to rise.

    Fans of the team wanted to forget about the disaster that was Tsuyoshi Nishioka. This might have gotten hopes higher for Dozier than they should have been but he was coming off of a very good season. A lot of faith was put into him before he found success at a level higher than Double-A.

    He started the 2012 season in the middle infield for the Rochester Red Wings and things didn't exactly get off to a roaring start. He hit .232/.286/.337 with 14 extra-base hits over 48 games. There were also a few issues in the field as he had six errors in 159 chances at shortstop. As a 25-year old player, he hadn't found success at Triple-A but that didn't stop the Twins from calling him up at the beginning of May.

    As I wrote in an article featured in the Twins Prospect Handbook, his first year in the big leagues didnít go exactly as planned. There were plenty of struggles as he tried to adjust to the pace of MLB action. When Dozier did find his swing, there was some pop in his bat but his inconsistency on the defensive side of the ball was tough to take for the club. By the end of the year, he was demoted to Triple-A and a little luster had rubbed off of his once promising stock.

    2013 is a new season and the Twins have another opportunity to help Dozier find success. It now seems much more likely that he'll settle into second base. This might help him to become more successful on the defensive side of the ball and hopefully that good vibe would transfer to his time in the batter's box.

    He turn 26 years old near the beginning of next season and there might not be a whole lot of time left for him find success in the minor leagues. The Twins need him to put it all together with the big league club and for him to take hold of a middle infield position.

    If Ryan was right and the Dozier on the field last year wasn't the true version of that player, it could be a bounce-back season for the player whose stock was so high one year ago.
    This article was originally published in blog: Ryan thinks Dozier was rushed in '12 started by Cody Christie
    Comments 23 Comments
    1. lee_the_twins_fan's Avatar
      lee_the_twins_fan -
      I briefly met Dozier at Twins Fest. I think he'll do fine at 2B
    1. Doc Freiermuth's Avatar
      Doc Freiermuth -
      Hmmm...if you substitute the name Aaron Hicks for Brian Dozier it almost sounds like the same story. Hope Terry doesn't ruin Hicks the same way and for the same desperate reasons he ruined Dozier.
    1. Alex's Avatar
      Alex -
      Quote Originally Posted by Doc Freiermuth View Post
      Hmmm...if you substitute the name Aaron Hicks for Brian Dozier it almost sounds like the same story. Hope Terry doesn't ruin Hicks the same way and for the same desperate reasons he ruined Dozier.
      I agree. The difference is Hick's age, of course. Dozier has always played well when he was a the top end of the age spectrum in the minor leagues, which is why a lot of us predicted his numbers wouldn't hold. I do have the same fear of Hicks, though, but I think he's got more chance to succeed and at least his defense is top notch.
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      I hope that Dozier proves Ryan correct. The Twins could really benefit from more offensive production at 2B.
    1. mlhouse's Avatar
      mlhouse -
      Again, I am going to bring up my central thesis: WHO CARES IF HE STRUGGLED. We were a 95 loss team without any other real alternatives. Let a guy like Dozier struggle at the major league level. Let him work out his problems and errors. Use a coaching staff and manager that will work with him to improve. To quote Hilary Clinton, what difference does it make.

      Sure, he was not "ready". Very few major league players are in their first year of exposure to that level. But, then, the guy is 26 years old. What is the Twins real plan with him? Bring him up when he is 30?

      Rebuilding takes patience. It takes dealing with losses. I question if the current Twins leadership really knows what htey are doing at times because they cannot seem to understand where this team stands.
    1. Alex's Avatar
      Alex -
      Quote Originally Posted by mlhouse View Post
      Again, I am going to bring up my central thesis: WHO CARES IF HE STRUGGLED. We were a 95 loss team without any other real alternatives. Let a guy like Dozier struggle at the major league level. Let him work out his problems and errors. Use a coaching staff and manager that will work with him to improve. To quote Hilary Clinton, what difference does it make.

      Sure, he was not "ready". Very few major league players are in their first year of exposure to that level. But, then, the guy is 26 years old. What is the Twins real plan with him? Bring him up when he is 30?
      Dozier's experience shows the danger of bringing up some players before they are ready. He got worse once he reached the majors as the season went on, and the organization ironically lost faith in him after putting him in a position where he couldn't succeed.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      So much baloney about "rushed"/ "brought up too soon". Most players struggle at the MLB level early on, only to improve. The rest never succeed. It happens. This is just another part of "The Twins Way"--endless years in the minors. Read the artcles on top prospects by position and find out that most of these guys skipped levels along the way--and somehow succeed! Other teams routinely have MLers that were called up by age 22.
    1. notoriousgod71's Avatar
      notoriousgod71 -
      How can you rush a 25 year old?
    1. ericchri's Avatar
      ericchri -
      Maybe the biggest "What If" player (along with Parmelee and Hicks/Benson) going into the season. He's definitely one of the guys who could put up a surprisingly good year if things go well.

      Defensively at SS, the team always said he was playing too deep. I doubt that will be much of an issue if he's at 2B, that position seems to lend itself to playing fairly deep naturally. I also recall a lot of his errors being throws sailing high and off-target. Again, if he's at 2B that hopefully becomes less of an issue because of the shorter throws. So if he's at 2B, I could see him actually being good defensively, at least adequate. And if he's good defensively, maybe he's not so panicked at the plate trying to save his job.

      He's got some pop, if he plays regularly I expect him to get double-digits in homeruns and actually get a tolerable amount of walks. His numbers could go up drastically. Or he could flail away at pitches he can't hit again and play terrible defense. I don't have a crystal ball, so far now I'll choose to be hopeful he's gonna be our 2B for the next few years and be decent or better at it.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      So they rushed him last year and he flopped, didn't bother to call him up in September and now they seem prepared to just hand him the 2nd base gig, based pretty much on the fact that the only other alternatives are Escobar and a 39 year old utility player. Why am I not all that confident?
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsnorth49 View Post
      So they rushed him last year and he flopped, didn't bother to call him up in September and now they seem prepared to just hand him the 2nd base gig, based pretty much on the fact that the only other alternatives are Escobar and a 39 year old utility player. Why am I not all that confident?
      Haha, exactly. Everything they did with Dozier last year was wrong. And it was *obviously* wrong, which is terrifying.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by notoriousgod71 View Post
      How can you rush a 25 year old?
      Too many people say this... but in reality, I think he was rushed in two ways. 1.) he debuted in the big leagues less than two years after he was drafted. That is very fast. 2.) When he was promoted from Rochester, he wasn't playing well.

      I get that he's not a 22 year old. However, he was a four-year college guy, so he didn't even sign until he was 22. He debuted as a 24 year old. That's fast. No one expects him to be a Hall of Famer, just a solid regular. So, debuting at 24 is not old. Neither is 25.
    1. PopRiveter's Avatar
      PopRiveter -
      " To quote Hilary Clinton, what difference does it make."
      I think it was Morrissey who sang that, not Hilary Clinton.
    1. Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
      Oldgoat_MN -
      What Doc said. This is exactly my fear with Hicks, too. A little time in AAA just to make sure he is adjusting well there.
      It is a rare player who goes from AA to MLB without some genuine struggles. Please try to remember how rare a Mauer type of player is.
      The guy I think most likely to handle the jump is Arcia, but he doesn't play CF.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Oldgoat_MN View Post
      What Doc said. This is exactly my fear with Hicks, too. A little time in AAA just to make sure he is adjusting well there.
      It is a rare player who goes from AA to MLB without some genuine struggles. Please try to remember how rare a Mauer type of player is.
      The guy I think most likely to handle the jump is Arcia, but he doesn't play CF.
      It's rare a player hits the majors without geniune struggles, period.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Those people that say it never hurts to keep a player longer in AA, because you can promote from there.....this thread reminds us why it does matter that players are promoted slowly and not given a September callup.....
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Those people that say it never hurts to keep a player longer in AA, because you can promote from there.....this thread reminds us why it does matter that players are promoted slowly and not given a September callup.....
      Speaking of a September callup, I think that should have been Dozier's only time with the Twins last year unless he started to really heat up in AAA earlier than that.

      Of course you can rush a 25-year-old if they haven't been past AA by that time!!!! Dozier had things to learn and AAA would have been good for that. And even after the demotion how he wasn't a second baseman the rest of the year is completely beyond my comprehension.
    1. Alex's Avatar
      Alex -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      It's rare a player hits the majors without geniune struggles, period.
      There are "struggles" and then there is just being overmatched.

      I'd argue that Ben Revere "struggled" in his first nearly full season in 2011. His play was a mixture of darn right terrible to solid starter type numbers. He had a rough May (34 AB), an excellent June (.294 AVG/.333 OBP), an awful July (.218/.280), an improved August (.255/.300), and a excellent Sept. (.311/.342). This, after a short stint in AAA that proved he was ready for the majors.

      Dozier, by contrast, didn't really have those ups and downs and didn't put together more than a couple of consecutive games of what looked like major league talent . His numbers did get slightly better, but his best full month was an OPS of .611 and he never cracked a .300 OBP. His last month started out better in terms of SLG % because of a couple of HR, but AVG and OBP were both down again. (I'll add that even though I didn't think the Twins should have called him up when they did, I don't think there was a reason to send him down at that point either and would have liked to see him finish the season).
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
      I agree. The difference is Hick's age, of course. Dozier has always played well when he was a the top end of the age spectrum in the minor leagues, which is why a lot of us predicted his numbers wouldn't hold. I do have the same fear of Hicks, though, but I think he's got more chance to succeed and at least his defense is top notch.
      Aaron Hicks's age is one difference, but another huge difference is that the Twins have several options in the outfield this year. They already know that Darrin Mastroianni can handle CF duties if Hicks has trouble out there. Masto isn't a great hitter, but he brings a fair amount of skill as a lead-off man and base runner. If Hicks has trouble handling major league pitching, they can bring up Joe Benson, especially if Benson looks good this spring. That's probably plan A or A1 anyway. They could even bring up Oswaldo Arcia in a pinch. The Benson/Hicks competition should make an exciting storyline this spring. Whoever hits better may well start in CF for the Twins, and the runner up will play CF for Rochester.

      Contrast that with the situation in the middle infield last year. After Nishioka flopped, they brought up Brian Dozier, even though he wasn't hitting very well in Rochester. Problem was, neither was anybody else. They probably figured that Dozier at least would bring some defensive stability at SS or 2B, but then Dozier let his hitting woes affect his fielding, and then his whole rookie season started looking bad. A rookie's confidence can be ruined by early failure. The numbers say they're not making it, and the fans booing tells them they're not making it. Sending Dozier down may have rescued his career.

      What Terry Ryan said does sound plausible, and I hope it's true. Brian Dozier seems like the kind of scrappy, max effort player that every team needs. I'm hoping he develops into another Nick Punto, but with more pop in the bat. This 2013 season will definitely reveal what kind of player Dozier is.
    1. mlhouse's Avatar
      mlhouse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
      There are "struggles" and then there is just being overmatched.

      I'd argue that Ben Revere "struggled" in his first nearly full season in 2011. His play was a mixture of darn right terrible to solid starter type numbers. He had a rough May (34 AB), an excellent June (.294 AVG/.333 OBP), an awful July (.218/.280), an improved August (.255/.300), and a excellent Sept. (.311/.342). This, after a short stint in AAA that proved he was ready for the majors.

      Dozier, by contrast, didn't really have those ups and downs and didn't put together more than a couple of consecutive games of what looked like major league talent . His numbers did get slightly better, but his best full month was an OPS of .611 and he never cracked a .300 OBP. His last month started out better in terms of SLG % because of a couple of HR, but AVG and OBP were both down again. (I'll add that even though I didn't think the Twins should have called him up when they did, I don't think there was a reason to send him down at that point either and would have liked to see him finish the season).
      And, if they are overmatched, they are overmatched. Again, look back to a historical precedent and the 1982 Twins. When they broke camp that year, they inserted Lenny Faedo as their starting shortstop. He was a former first round draft pick and was just 22 years old. Guess what? He wasn't good enough so during the rebuilding process they had to find someone else that was, And, that meant that in 1983 they brought up a 21 year old Greg Gagne and installed him as their starter in 1985.

      True evaluation is critical in the rebuild process. Is it a case of being overmatched? Is it a case of further development? We are not committed to Brian Dozier at all, but by bringing him up NOW we can make some true observations, rather than waiting another year or more into the future.

      And, I will reiterate. This team needs to commit to the concept of developing players at the major league level. We already have had two consecutive 95+ loss season, and if we continue on the one step at a time minor league development process we are going to have several more. It worked in 1982, as the young players they essentially plugged into that lineup became the nucleaus of two World Series teams. Some of the players worked, some of them did not. But, again, THE CRITICAL FACTOR WAS that by the time these players all hit their peak performance we had dumped all of the failures and had an opportunity to find replacements, such as the aforementioned Gagne, and Kirby Puckett who replaced Jimmy Eisenreich when he could not handle the majors.

      Lenny Faedo could not hit, and after 1984 he never had another major league at bat. Brian Dozier may be following hte same path, but we NEED TO FIND OUT, just as we found out about Faedo.
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