• Dozier's Disastrous Rookie Season

    Late in Sunday's game against the Rays, the Twins reached their breaking point with Brian Dozier.

    With the game tied and runners on the corners for Tampa in the 10th inning, the rookie shortstop scooped up a ground ball and took the sure out at first rather than throwing home to cut down the go-ahead run or attempting a tough inning-ending double play.

    After the game, Ron Gardenhire seemed to let Dozier off the hook:

    "I talked with him about what his thoughts were and he had good thoughts," Gardenhire said. "He knew the runners and the speed at third base. All we talked was situational baseball late in the game like that. Your two options are to try to turn the double play in my opinion or go home. But he had good thoughts. He got kind of screened by the runner after he caught the ball so that was his play. I just want to know his thoughts on the play. He's out there. We're not. Everybody has an opinion on where he should've thrown the ball.

    "But I'm going to back my player here. He did what he thought was right. He saw the speed, the whole package and got the out at first base. He's the one out there playing the game."
    And yet, Dozier sat on Monday. He sat again on Tuesday, and after the game it was announced he'd been demoted to Triple-A, with Pedro Florimon (and his .654 OPS in Rochester) coming up to replace him on the roster.

    It's a perplexing strategy for the Twins. Dozier will almost certainly be back up when rosters expand in September, making this a two-week demotion. How much good can that really do?


    At the same time, Dozier has been roundly awful for a full three months, so the move is easily justifiable. The only reasons he's lasted this long are because Gardenhire fiercely supports him and because he may be the organization's only hope for an internal solution at shortstop next year. Unfortunately, even those factors couldn't protect him after committing 15 errors (most for any AL shortstop despite the fact that he's only played in 84 games) while hitting .234/.271/.332, including .152/.237/.273 after what appeared to be a breakout three-hit game in Boston on August 2nd.

    Only one qualifying player in the majors (Justin Smoak) has a worse OPS than Dozier. In addition to his league-leading error total, he's had a number of misplays in the field – including Sunday's questionable and costly decision – that don't show up on the stat sheet. His plate discipline, which was a primary strength in the minors, has been dreadful, as he's drawn only 16 walks against 58 strikeouts in 340 plate appearances.

    Granted, the 25-year-old showed a few positive signs, namely some home run power and base-stealing proclivity, but this was an overwhelmingly discouraging major-league debut. At this point it's extremely difficult to look at him as a realistic starting option for next year. He just doesn't have any substantial strength to fall back on.

    Being sent to Triple-A after struggling in a major-league stint has been known to help young players in the past – look no further than Chris Parmelee for a recent example – and we can only hope that will happen here.

    But when you consider that Dozier was given an incredibly long leash, isn't all that young and was never an exceptional prospect to begin with, it's pretty tough to dismiss his initial struggles as a fluke. More than likely, he'll be another suspect among many others vying for a middle infield spot next year.

    Just another passenger on Minnesota's never-ending shortstop carousel.
    This article was originally published in blog: Dozier's Disastrous Rookie Season started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 55 Comments
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      There he is, Brian Dozier, at short for Rochester tonight. This is just straight dumb as hell. There is a clear path for him at 2B. A solid defensive 2B with a bit of power and baseball smarts would be good in 2013. Casilla only had one of those qualities and Carroll two of them. They actually moved Escobar to 3B at Rochester!!!! Florimon deserves a chance, yes, but that has to come why Dozier is playing 2B in Rochester. This is obvious.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Rantz needs to be fired. This is clear. There was zero reason to promote Dozier given his AAA performance. This organization should view AA and AAA differently. AAA time does good things for players (see Parmelee and Revere this year, FINALLY). Stagnating them at AA and them jumping them to MLB without adequate AAA experience has demonstrated an incompetent approach to the Minors on the part of Rantz and company. Dozier is merely more evidence for my claim that significant AAA time is valuable (hopefully Hendriks continues this).
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Quote Originally Posted by shanewahl View Post
      Rantz needs to be fired. This is clear. There was zero reason to promote Dozier given his AAA performance. This organization should view AA and AAA differently. AAA time does good things for players (see Parmelee and Revere this year, FINALLY). Stagnating them at AA and them jumping them to MLB without adequate AAA experience has demonstrated an incompetent approach to the Minors on the part of Rantz and company. Dozier is merely more evidence for my claim that significant AAA time is valuable (hopefully Hendriks continues this).
      Blah, blah, blah, fire the bums!

      Exactly who do you think was better than Dozier when he was called up? Who is better than Dozier now? Exactly what the **** does Jim Rantz have to do with it?
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      Dozier did ok, give him a little break, he will be back up sept 1.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by 70charger View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by shanewahl View Post
      Rantz needs to be fired. This is clear. There was zero reason to promote Dozier given his AAA performance. This organization should view AA and AAA differently. AAA time does good things for players (see Parmelee and Revere this year, FINALLY). Stagnating them at AA and them jumping them to MLB without adequate AAA experience has demonstrated an incompetent approach to the Minors on the part of Rantz and company. Dozier is merely more evidence for my claim that significant AAA time is valuable (hopefully Hendriks continues this).
      Blah, blah, blah, fire the bums!

      Exactly who do you think was better than Dozier when he was called up? Who is better than Dozier now? Exactly what the **** does Jim Rantz have to do with it?
      It isn't blah, blah, blah. Dozier is better than Alexi Casilla. But that does not mean that Dozier replaces Casilla before Dozier has had a chance to prove himself this year in the minors. He had an excellent 2011 as an MI. But only into AA. I would have liked to see that extend to AAA this year, but the Twins have a ridiculous view about AAA. Dozier was NOT good in his limited time, but they promoted him anyway. I would have preferred him seeing time at both MI positions at Rochester and posting a .720+ OPS before calling him up. Casilla was there all along. Florimon has less upside and could have been the other guy on the roster when Valencia was demoted. Or Burroughs.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Many people have claimed that calling Dozier's debut stint a disaster is hyperbole. Maybe they're right. I might be off the mark, but I'm puzzled when I see comments like "Dozier has been OK" because in my mind he's been a complete mess. Among the worst hitters in the major leagues, and his defense to me has been a liability. I guess you can be generous and say he's got decent range, but for a guy whose polish and intangibles were supposed to make up for a lack of exceptional talent, the rate of misplays has been – to me – unacceptable.

      I'm not passing eternal judgment on him, but given that I've been forced to pin my hopes on him becoming the team's answer at 2B/SS, I can't hide my disappointment over what he showed in a non-tiny 85-game audition.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by shanewahl View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by 70charger View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by shanewahl View Post
      Rantz needs to be fired. This is clear. There was zero reason to promote Dozier given his AAA performance. This organization should view AA and AAA differently. AAA time does good things for players (see Parmelee and Revere this year, FINALLY). Stagnating them at AA and them jumping them to MLB without adequate AAA experience has demonstrated an incompetent approach to the Minors on the part of Rantz and company. Dozier is merely more evidence for my claim that significant AAA time is valuable (hopefully Hendriks continues this).
      Blah, blah, blah, fire the bums!

      Exactly who do you think was better than Dozier when he was called up? Who is better than Dozier now? Exactly what the **** does Jim Rantz have to do with it?
      It isn't blah, blah, blah. Dozier is better than Alexi Casilla. But that does not mean that Dozier replaces Casilla before Dozier has had a chance to prove himself this year in the minors. He had an excellent 2011 as an MI. But only into AA. I would have liked to see that extend to AAA this year, but the Twins have a ridiculous view about AAA. Dozier was NOT good in his limited time, but they promoted him anyway. I would have preferred him seeing time at both MI positions at Rochester and posting a .720+ OPS before calling him up. Casilla was there all along. Florimon has less upside and could have been the other guy on the roster when Valencia was demoted. Or Burroughs.
      I haven't seen the evidence of that yet, sadly.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by shanewahl View Post
      There he is, Brian Dozier, at short for Rochester tonight. This is just straight dumb as hell. There is a clear path for him at 2B. A solid defensive 2B with a bit of power and baseball smarts would be good in 2013. Casilla only had one of those qualities and Carroll two of them. They actually moved Escobar to 3B at Rochester!!!! Florimon deserves a chance, yes, but that has to come why Dozier is playing 2B in Rochester. This is obvious.
      I think what would be dumb as hell would be overreacting to a poor rookie debut and moving a SS off SS until there is more evidence he cant play SS. Or at least until SS is filled by a better option.

      But then again I thought it would have been dumb as hell to overreact to 100 PAs against LHers and platoon Morneau with Danny Valencia too, so what do I know?
    1. Dilligaf69's Avatar
      Dilligaf69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by 70charger View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by shanewahl View Post
      Rantz needs to be fired. This is clear. There was zero reason to promote Dozier given his AAA performance. This organization should view AA and AAA differently. AAA time does good things for players (see Parmelee and Revere this year, FINALLY). Stagnating them at AA and them jumping them to MLB without adequate AAA experience has demonstrated an incompetent approach to the Minors on the part of Rantz and company. Dozier is merely more evidence for my claim that significant AAA time is valuable (hopefully Hendriks continues this).
      Blah, blah, blah, fire the bums!

      Exactly who do you think was better than Dozier when he was called up? Who is better than Dozier now? Exactly what the **** does Jim Rantz have to do with it?




      I agree it had more to do with lack of options then anything else and most EVERYBODY wanted Dozier on this team in April...now I realize that Nishi was the other option but that's my point. I also do not agree that his entire season so far has been a disaster. Yes he needs to improve his consistency and K/W ratio and be better defensively but he was'nt completely useless. he showed flasehes dfensively and some occasional pop. Ithink the Twins should move him to 2B and find an everyday SS via trade. Dozier still has a bright future with this team IMO and I think many would agree??
    1. Dilligaf69's Avatar
      Dilligaf69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by shanewahl View Post
      There he is, Brian Dozier, at short for Rochester tonight. This is just straight dumb as hell. There is a clear path for him at 2B. A solid defensive 2B with a bit of power and baseball smarts would be good in 2013. Casilla only had one of those qualities and Carroll two of them. They actually moved Escobar to 3B at Rochester!!!! Florimon deserves a chance, yes, but that has to come why Dozier is playing 2B in Rochester. This is obvious.
      I think what would be dumb as hell would be overreacting to a poor rookie debut and moving a SS off SS until there is more evidence he cant play SS. Or at least until SS is filled by a better option.

      But then again I thought it would have been dumb as hell to overreact to 100 PAs against LHers and platoon Morneau with Danny Valencia too, so what do I know?
      Yes....only move Dozier to 2B IF they find a better option at SS!...hence my idea of maybe accuiring a SS this offseason. If Hammer/Justin/Span can't /won't net us a top starter then they can probably net us a starting SS.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      At this point - Carroll and Casilla are both better options than Dozier. Unfortunately, Dozier should have been refining his game in AAA weeks ago and getting an extended trial the last month and a half. As it is, they basically took an entire season to watch him fail miserably and make zero progress towards being a better option.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      At this point - Carroll and Casilla are both better options than Dozier.
      38 yr old Jamie Carroll? How does that help the mythical 2014 Twins team you advocate?

      The same Alexi Casilla who has a lower BA, OBP and SLG than Dozier? Who was given the SS position out of spring training last year but couldn't hold on to it for a month and a half? Who hasnt even been able to hold onto the 2nd base job despite multiple opportunities? That Alexi Casilla?
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      38 yr old Jamie Carroll? How does that help the mythical 2014 Twins team you advocate?

      The same Alexi Casilla who has a lower BA, OBP and SLG than Dozier? Who was given the SS position out of spring training last year but couldn't hold on to it for a month and a half? Who hasnt even been able to hold onto the 2nd base job despite multiple opportunities? That Alexi Casilla?
      Yes, that Alexi Casilla. The one we should cut after this season. The way Dozier has played the position defensively, it's not a stretch to say Casilla would be better right now.

      Anyone who suggests that we should be worried about winning now and next season (as you have) shouldn't be advocating Dozier to be getting significant time until he's actually ready. He's spent the last three months demonstrating that he is not ready and shouldn't be playing. Personally - I think he should have been sent down at the all-star break, worked on things for a month, and come back right around now. He's potentially part of the future so we should've been treating his development with more care.

      But the idea that he's clearly the best SS option we have isn't backed up by his play - defensively or offensively.
    1. BD57's Avatar
      BD57 -
      Greg Gagne hit .225 in 114 games his first year playing any significant amount. Granted, he was 23 at the time .... if that really means anything.

      Dozier has done some good things and has screwed up some things. He has obvious weaknesses - issue isn't "how old are you?", it's "will you learn & improve?"

      Not saying he's going to become a "average or better MLB SS" .... I am saying I think it's a mistake to write hom off.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      At this point - Carroll and Casilla are both better options than Dozier.
      38 yr old Jamie Carroll? How does that help the mythical 2014 Twins team you advocate?

      The same Alexi Casilla who has a lower BA, OBP and SLG than Dozier? Who was given the SS position out of spring training last year but couldn't hold on to it for a month and a half? Who hasnt even been able to hold onto the 2nd base job despite multiple opportunities? That Alexi Casilla?
      Christ, this is like comparing the bottom rung of the ladder to the second rung, pretty sad state of affairs when you're supporting one of these guys over the other. Dozier may have (marginally) higher BA, OBP and SLG than Casilla but if he is the future at one of the MI spots his line better look a whole lot better than Casilla's to make up for his defense. Dozier is only the future on this club if he is a significant upgrade at the plate than guys like Casilla and others who profile like him.
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