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  • In the path that Brian Dozier blazed: A 2014 breakout candidate for the Twins

    I think that it is fair to say that Brian Dozier's 2013 season (especially his power numbers) was not expected by many, based on his fairly disappointing 2012 rookie season and his fairly flat minor league career. But was there anything is his path through the minors that could have acted as a leading indicator potentially predicting his 2013 breakout season?
    After he was drafted in the eighth round of the 2009 draft Dozier moved in a pretty typical path through the Twins organization for a 22 year old: Rookie leagues in 2009, split between A and high A in 2010 and split between high A and double AA, in his age 24 season. That was the season when Dozier finally got it all together. Here is a graph of his OPS and ISO throughout his career.

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    Originally published at The Tenth Inning Stretch
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    His age 24 season shows a noticeable increase in his OPS and, especially, his ISO which doubled from previous marks and was approaching the .200s . His power (but not his OPS - which means that he still potentially has ways to go in the major league level) was very similar to that exhibited in his age 26 MLB season (2013).

    Also to be noted is that Dozier, after his 2011 season, continued the success in the AFL: .296/.358/.454 (.821 OPS, .158 ISO). He did have a setback in 2012, but that entire Twins' season was a setback.

    Let's compare the above chart with a chart that shows the OPS and ISO numbers per season of another Twins' player and align them for age:



    As you can see, this player has started his professional career earlier that Dozier did and had similar moderate success. However, like Dozier, in his age 24 season (at AAA instead of Dozier's A/A+), had a major breakthrough with increases in OPS and ISO to close to all-star levels. Actually, at the same age and at a higher level of competition, his OPS and power numbers were better than Dozier's, which makes me believe that he will potentially have a season similar to Dozier's 2013 next year. The player?

    Eduardo Escobar
    Also of note is that Escobar (like Dozier in 2011) is continuing his breakthough 2013 season in the Venezuela Winter League: .302/.348/.519 (.867 OPS, .217 ISO) at the time this was written

    How about fielding which was another strong suit of Brian Dozier's ?

    Here are the MLB career numbers for Dozier:

    .992 FP% 2B (1255 Inn), .964 FP% SS (732 Inn),
    UZR/150: -0.7 2B, -5.0 SS,
    RZR .832 2B (MLB best 2013: .842), .796 SS (MLB Best 2013: .876; Florimon .838)

    And Escobar:

    1.000 FP% 2B (149.7 Inn), .951 FP% 3B (287.7 Inn), .959 FP% SS (281.2 Inn)
    UZR/150: -6.0 2B, -16.2 3B, 5.1 SS.
    RZR: .813 2B (MLB best 2013: .842), .641 3B, .814 SS (MLB Best 2013: .876; Florimon .838)

    Neither Dozier nor Escobar make many errors. UZR/150 does not like Dozier and Escobar at 2B and 3B, but likes Escobar at SS. Revized Zone Rating has Dozier near the MLB top at second base and Escobar above average at both 2B and SS (but not that great at 3B). Note that Escobar's defense at SS is close to Florimon's as far as UZR/150 and RZR are concerned, but he is making fewer errors than Florimon.

    Could Escobar be the Twins' SS of the near future and Escobar and Dozier the Twins double play combination for a while? Time will tell, but if Dozier's very similar career is an indicator, it looks like a very true possibility, starting with the 2014 season.

    This article was originally published in blog: In the path that Brian Dozier blazed: A 2014 breakout candidate for the Twins started by Thrylos
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. Dman's Avatar
      Dman -
      That is very interesting. I really liked Escobar last year as he was hot with the bat early in the season and then got very, very cold. Then I really liked Florimon and he tailed off as well. I really do like Florimons defense though and I think he likely starts next year so when or where would Escobar get his chance to prove he might improve like Dozier? I think it might take an injury or extremely poor play from Florimon at this point. I like the analysis though as it gives me hope that the middle infield is set for a while.
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Very interesting indeed. I'm not sold on Florimon's bat, and if Escobar can show more consistency offensively while giving up very little on defense, we may have a nice asset on our hands.

      I guess we'll have to see how things play out with Florimon. I have little faith, but what the heck do I know?
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      If anything, Dozier's 2013 breakout suggests that his 200 AAA PA the year prior were not that meaningful of a sample. What was more instructive was the 1400 PA that preceded it.

      Escobar's AAA "breakthrough" last year was 188 PA. Do we trust that, or his 2500 PA prior (including almost 700 in AAA)? His career minor league OPS is now .675, and .688 at AAA (and that includes his "breakthrough" last year).

      Also, when Dozier struggled in AAA, he almost equally struggled in MLB, which suggests that the level wasn't affecting him as much as something else (swing mechanics? psychology?). In other words, Dozier himself might have been the limiting factor. Escobar raked in AAA while he put up his typical poor MLB numbers, suggesting he was simply taking advantage of the weaker competition (like Parmelee, Colabello, Clete Thomas, etc.).
    1. Twins Twerp's Avatar
      Twins Twerp -
      Don't get mad…Joe Mauer. I am going to say 20+ bombs and (if possible) even more doubles.
    1. Sconnie's Avatar
      Sconnie -
      Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
      If anything, Dozier's 2013 breakout suggests that his 200 AAA PA the year prior were not that meaningful of a sample. What was more instructive was the 1400 PA that preceded it.

      Escobar's AAA "breakthrough" last year was 188 PA. Do we trust that, or his 2500 PA prior (including almost 700 in AAA)? His career minor league OPS is now .675, and .688 at AAA (and that includes his "breakthrough" last year).

      Also, when Dozier struggled in AAA, he almost equally struggled in MLB, which suggests that the level wasn't affecting him as much as something else (swing mechanics? psychology?). In other words, Dozier himself might have been the limiting factor. Escobar raked in AAA while he put up his typical poor MLB numbers, suggesting he was simply taking advantage of the weaker competition (like Parmelee, Colabello, Clete Thomas, etc.).
      Well put!
    1. Paul Pleiss's Avatar
      Paul Pleiss -
      I don't trust Eduardo to make the jump to being a successful MLB hitter. He's a utility man without any bat skills, and after this season he probably shouldn't have a 25-man roster spot with the Twins. A better comparison for Escobar, IMO, is Sexi Alexi. Solid glove, especially at 2B, but no use at the plate or as a PH.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Parm is my pick for breakout player.

      If he gets a chance?

      Escobar breaking out ala Dozier would be huge.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      I think a Punto type path is more likely with better pop a fewer walks.

      Like Punto, he has a good glove at 3 positions which should keep him in the majors. He will have plenty of time to grow the bat skill.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      I don't agree with Escobar/Casilla comparison. Casilla only has demonstrated above average fielding skills at second, Escobar at second and short for sure and probably third. As an offensive player, Lexi had one very much above-average skill--the ability to steal bases. Escobar doesn't have that skill, but looks like he could have decent power for a middle infielder. It would be great to have two guys in the middle infield, both under thirty, both with OPS+ above 100 and both above average defensively. Oh well, we can dream.
    1. Major Leauge Ready's Avatar
      Major Leauge Ready -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      Parm is my pick for breakout player.

      If he gets a chance?

      Escobar breaking out ala Dozier would be huge.
      He seems like a decent candidate to put it together. As long as we are wishing... Let's hope Plouffe has a big 1st half and gets traded for value at the deadline making room for Sano after Sano has a big 1st half in AAA. I am pulling for Florimon to have a break out year with the bat because I love watching him play defense and how great would it be to solidify that position. Could Hicks be the most likely candidate?
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by Major Leauge Ready View Post
      He seems like a decent candidate to put it together. As long as we are wishing... Let's hope Plouffe has a big 1st half and gets traded for value at the deadline making room for Sano after Sano has a big 1st half in AAA. I am pulling for Florimon to have a break out year with the bat because I love watching him play defense and how great would it be to solidify that position. Could Hicks be the most likely candidate?
      With Parmelee... To me it seems... It's the high fastball he has trouble catching up with. He seems to be quite good with the low pitch... I think that can be fixed... the more fastballs he sees. I just worry he won't get to see a bunch of pitches this year.

      With Plouffe... The guy is just in my doghouse. He has 30 homers pop so I pray for him t put it together but he just seems lollagaggie! I thnk he is going through the motions and doesn't realize that he is.

      If Plouffe doesn't get some mental focus for X-mas this year and an acute sense of urgency for Valentines day. He will be run over like Kevin Klein in "A Fish called Wanda" by a steamroller driven by Sano.
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