As the 2014 MLB season is set to begin soon, the new-look Minnesota Twins will seek to put a dismal 2013 season behind them and hope to fight for an American League Central Division crown. Minnesota’s 2013 campaign produced only 66 wins and was the team’s third consecutive season with 90 or more losses. However, with as many negatives as the season produced, it also shed light on a handful of bright spots in the Twins’ organization, and Brian Dozier was perhaps the brightest of those.
As the 2013 Twins continued to fall further behind in the standings, Dozier began climbing the rankings in nearly every statistical category. He gave life to a team that had no real reason to live, and when all was said and done, it was hard to argue a better second basemen graced the MLB in the second half of 2013. Post All-Star Game last season, Dozier led all American League second basemen in home runs, extra-base hits and isolated power. He ranked second during the same time frame in total bases, doubles and slugging percentage, and also ranked third in RBI.
Looking at the 2013 season as a whole, Dozier’s batting average and on-base percentage of .253 and .313 respectively, although not flashy, were very respectable for a 26-year-old second basemen with only one full season under his belt. When crunching the numbers further, Dozier’s true value becomes more obvious. His 4.17 pitches per plate appearance in 2013 ranked second among American League second basemen, as did his 18 home runs and 55 extra-base hits. He hit .328 and slugged .570 against left-handed pitching in 2013, and repeatedly came through in the clutch, hitting .315 with runners in scoring position and two outs.
On top of his productivity with the bat last season, Dozier’s defense was outstanding. He committed only six errors and led all second basemen in assists, total chances and range factor. Dozier deserved much more consideration for a Gold Glove than he received, and should have the opportunity to take home several of those accolades in years to come.
At only 26 years old, Dozier has established himself as one of the most valuable and underrated figures in baseball. He’s a young, patient power hitter with a great glove. His growing confidence, along with the suspension of highly touted prospect Eddie Rosario, should help solidify his position at second base with the Twins for the long-term.