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What To Watch This Spring: Brian Dozier's Swing

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Last year, as Brian Dozier’s offensive season sank deeper in the abyss, Andrew Bryz-Gornia at TwinkieTown pointed out how many different stances Dozier displayed.

While the frequent changes in his batting stance acted as a visual barometer to his overall hitting struggles – the constant alteration a sign that he never was comfortable at the plate – his front side mechanics may have been one of the sources that led to his poor numbers.

In 2012, Dozier’s swing contained a front foot landing which often remained closed at the point of contact but then was followed up with a delayed and inconsistent heel spin. What was happening was that Dozier’s upper body was pulling off of the pitch or spinning off the ball. Furthermore, the lack of a foot spin may have been a hint that Dozier’s overall mechanics were not entirely fundamentally correct and that he was not maximizing his hip contributions.

The results were a high percentage of pitches pulled. Early on, this played to Dozier’s advantage however, when advanced scouts recognized this, he was pitched away more. Unable to make the in-season adjustment, Dozier’s numbers declined and the changes in his stance increased as frustration mounted while the core problem remained.

Now in Fort Myers and reunited with his former minor league hitting coach, Tom Brunansky, Dozier has worked on improving his mechanics.

MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger captured video of Dozier working in the cage this week with Brunansky providing instructions (nothing of interest, simple baseball jargon like “wait for yours”, “little bingo” and “how now brown cow”). What is shown is Dozier’s swing and the Twins middle infielder has solidified a few things on the front end:

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Admittedly, this is cage work, in Florida, with a pitcher who is probably throwing 75%. That said, in these swings we see a firm front foot that opens with the swing – not after – and remains in place rather than having it fall off the towards the third base line. This is an indication that the hips and hands are working in unison and giving Dozier a more solid foundation to drive the ball. Likewise, with the added stability, that should give him the ability to better control the zone with his swing and drive a pitch on the outer-half to right field as opposed to turning it over to the left side of the infield.

Even though he ultimately homers on this particular swing – a demonstration to his bat speed and strength – you can see that based on his front foot, he was not maximizing his hip rotation in his swing last year.

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From the front view, notice how Josh Willingham’s strong hip rotation forces the front foot open (this is a trait shared by many power hitters in which the front foot rotates open with the swing):

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With seven spring games expected to be broadcasted on Fox Sport North, keep an eye on Brian Dozier’s front leg during his swing.

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