• Gardenhire: Dozier will start in Rochester

    After sending Tsuyoshi Nishioka to Rochester, many fans began to think that Brian Dozier may have done enough this spring to entice the powers that be to include him on the major league roster. On Tuesday, manager Ron Gardenhire squelched that notion.

    According to the Star Tribuneís Joe Christensenís tweet which paraphrased Gardenhireís comments on the situation, the Twins will not be bringing Dozier northward but rather sending him to Rochester to start the season. The Twinsí manager added that the team would not hesitate to summon Dozier if anything should happen to either Jamey Carroll or Alexi Casilla. This would allow for Dozier to be a starter rather than a utility player for the parent club.

    Dozier, 24, made offensive progress in 2011 after his promotion to Double-A New Britain. There, he worked with hitting coach Tom Brunansky to develop more power. Said Dozier of the former Twinsí instructions:

    "When I got to Double-A, my swing kind of changed,'' Dozier said. "I started to develop into my swing. I worked with Tom Brunansky and it really took off for me. I developed more power and was driving balls more than I was used to.''

    Unfortunately, no video exists of Dozierís post-Double A swing so we cannot provide a full breakdown of his mechanics. What we can see statistically is that whatever changes that were made, it resulted in much improved power numbers although at the small expense of his on-base percentage and batting average.

    While in High-A Fort Myers, Dozier hit a solid .322/.417/.472. Once he was moved to New Britain, he hit a very good .318/.376/.502. While the walk rate dropped (from 12.4% to 8.0%) and the strike out rate grew (from 9.2% to 13.1%) his power output increased substantially (his isolated power swelled from .150 to .184). This might be something that you would expect from working under Brunanskyís tutelage as Bruno himself had a lot of all-or-nothing type swing in him (leading to a low-batting average/on-base percentage and high-slugging combination over his career).

    Of course, that is not to say that Dozier is following in Brunanskyís footprints, after all, the change in competition level may have as much to do with the shift in his peripheral numbers as anything. However, the change in the way the ball was coming off his bat may be the biggest outcome of the swing modification. Pre-New Britain, Dozier was knocking the ball into the ground closer to the 50% mark over his career. For a speedy middle infielder, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Since his time in New Britain, that ground ball rate has dropped to below-40%, meaning he is elevating the ball far more often than usual and, hence, the sudden increase in home runs (seven in 351 plate appearances) and extra base hits.

    So whatever adjustments were made, so far, it has paid off.

    With Brunansky moved to Rochester to handle the teamís most ready minor league prospects, sending Dozier back to work with the man who helped improve his swing and continue to put the final touches on it is not the worst outcome.
    This article was originally published in blog: Gardenhire: Dozier will start in Rochester started by Parker Hageman
    Comments 25 Comments
    1. Fanatic Jack's Avatar
      Fanatic Jack -
      I believe it's very fitting to say manager Ron Gardenhire has set the Twins organization back 10 years. And 10 years is being nice. The guy is a class A bum and could screw up a wet dream.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      This should surprise no one. It's just not the Twins' way to promote a guy like this.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      As a fan of Twins prospects, I am really happy to see Joe Benson, Chris Parmelee, Brian Dozier and Liam Hendriks are giving the Twins front office plenty to think about this spring!!
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      That said, the decision for all of them to start in AAA this year is pretty easy, but it's great knowing that they're pretty close if needed!!
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      So does this mean Nishioka starts at 2B? I thought they were saying they wanted to send him down to work on his SS mechanics, specifically learning how to backhand grounders in the hole.
    1. gil4's Avatar
      gil4 -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      So does this mean Nishioka starts at 2B? I thought they were saying they wanted to send him down to work on his SS mechanics, specifically learning how to backhand grounders in the hole.
      Nishioka has already been sent down.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I don't know if I'm right on this or not... I don't think Nishioka will be in the organization terribly long. Clearly Dozier's going to be the starting SS. I would think that Florimon, Chang, Hollimon, Burroughs or others will get their playing time. Nishioka may get a game a week at SS (with Dozier moving over to 2B), but I suspect that he'll eventually be released or quit... I could be wrong.
    1. J-Dog Dungan's Avatar
      J-Dog Dungan -
      To truly make sure that Dozier is ready for the bigs, it only makes sense that they send him down to AAA. He hasn't even played an inning at AAA before, anyway. If we rush this guy too much, we might set ourselves back even farther with a long-term solution at short. Let him get some time at AAA, maybe not even call him up till September so he can have a full year at AAA and see how concrete the proof that he is about to break out is.
    1. Ultima Ratio's Avatar
      Ultima Ratio -
      Quote Originally Posted by gil4 View Post
      Nishioka has already been sent down.
      I believe "nicksaviking" is referring to the AAA positioning. You have both Dozier and Nishi playing short. This is the issue: who starts at SS at AAA?
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Nishioka will not get in the way of Dozier...
    1. Twins Fan From Afar's Avatar
      Twins Fan From Afar -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Nishioka will not get in the way of Dozier...
      Correct. Dozier will be playing every day at AAA. I'm sure the Twins' thought is that Dozier is going to be starting on the major league team for the next several years, while Nishioka is a headache (unless he gets better) for the next two seasons who will not stand as an impediment to other prospects' development.
    1. Dilligaf69's Avatar
      Dilligaf69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      That said, the decision for all of them to start in AAA this year is pretty easy, but it's great knowing that they're pretty close if needed!!

      Agree it's the right move from a baseball perspective.
    1. Dilligaf69's Avatar
      Dilligaf69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Fanatic Jack View Post
      I believe it's very fitting to say manager Ron Gardenhire has set the Twins organization back 10 years. And 10 years is being nice. The guy is a class A bum and could screw up a wet dream.


      WOW!
    1. ben's Avatar
      ben -
      Quote Originally Posted by Fanatic Jack View Post
      I believe it's very fitting to say manager Ron Gardenhire has set the Twins organization back 10 years. And 10 years is being nice. The guy is a class A bum and could screw up a wet dream.
      You're right, that is being nice. In 2002 the Twins won the division with 94 wins.
    1. WJ's Avatar
      WJ -
      It's 2010 and Danny Valencia all over again. Is Dozier really "too good to be a utility infielder" or did they spend too much on Jamie Carroll for him to be the utility guy? In 2010, it was more important to find a starting job for Nick Punto to justify his $4M contract than to go with Valencia at 3B out of spring training.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Nishioka will not get in the way of Dozier...
      Well that would be a first. He's always in the way, ask Nick Swisher.
    1. nokomismod's Avatar
      nokomismod -
      I was hoping for Casilla at 2b and Dozier at SS on the big league roster (with Carrol backing up both).
    1. Coach J's Avatar
      Coach J -
      Lets not forget Carroll is 38 and Casilla has never been able to produce a full productive season. The longer Dozier stays in AAA, that probably means both our middle infielders are performing pretty well. This has to be looked at as Casilla's last shot at a big league job with the Twins, so once Dozier does get called up, lets hope it is for good.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      You know Fanatic Jackass, Gardenhire has more baseball knowledge in his Class A bum than you have the capacity to accumulate in an entire lifetime. What's more, he's actually nice.
    1. eagle's Avatar
      eagle -
      Quote Originally Posted by Fanatic Jack View Post
      I believe it's very fitting to say manager Ron Gardenhire has set the Twins organization back 10 years. And 10 years is being nice. The guy is a class A bum and could screw up a wet dream.
      Fanatic Jack,

      I am pretty sure Terry Ryan has a lot to say on player promotions along with the entire Minor league staff. Gardenhire has stated many times that he would like to see Dozier up with the big club but to skip a level doesn't happen very often. I have a feeling if Dozier plays well in AAA, there may be a call up but not until after the date to avoid the super two, sometime in May.
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