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  • 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 Tribune’s Joe Christensen’s tweet which paraphrased Gardenhire’s comments on the situation, the Twins will not be bringing Dozier northward but rather sending him to Rochester to start the season. The Twins’ 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 Twins’ 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 Dozier’s 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 Brunansky’s 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 Brunansky’s 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 team’s 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. WJ's Avatar
      WJ -
      Baseball managers, coaches, and executives with vastly more baseball knowledge and experience than I will ever accumulate get fired all the time.
    1. OtherHoward219's Avatar
      OtherHoward219 -
      The Twins have nothing to lose but a position on the 40 man roster by keeping him in Rochester. Maybe, just maybe, he'll develop into trade bait. They're on the hook for 2 more years anyway, so keep the guy around and see what happens.
      If they release him now, he'll probably clear waivers and wind up back in Japan with a bunch of Yen in his pockets and the Twins will never know what might have, could have been. I'm not saying he'll develop into a premier or even a journeyman 2B or SS. But, they might be able to get a bucket of balls and a PTBNL right around July 31st of this year or next.
      I really doubt that he'll ever make it back to TF. At least not in a Twins uniform. But with the rather tenuous situation the Twins have up the middle, you never know.
      Casilla gets injured and/or has head somewhere else. Jamey Carrol runs out of gas sometime in June. (Think Adam Everett here). Dozier pulls a hamstring and is out for ??. It can happen.
      Let him ride the bus around for awhile without having the pressure of being a stranger in a strange land. If he gets it together, fine. If not, well that's OK too.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      It's kinda of saddening to see all that venom against Nishioka. Ok the guy did not performed to the par last season (but he suffered a broken leg a week into the season.) And he was (apparently) not up to par this Spring Training, but if you look at the numbers, he was not much off than others. Matter of fact he was better than some non-roster people who are either still in big league camp or were cut after him. And he had a bad off-season personally, so he needs a break. And in his awful debut last season, he was not the worse player on the team. That would be someone who the Twins braintrust will push on the 25-man roster as the 3rd catcher for no good reason...
    1. WJ's Avatar
      WJ -
      The Twins starting middle infield come August will be Dozier and Nishioka.
    1. TwinsFanLV's Avatar
      TwinsFanLV -
      Gardenhire had a Cy Young, an MVP, and a Batting Title on the same team and failed to win a playoff game.

      Can we please drop the "Minnesota Nice" b.s. and hire a real manager?

      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.
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