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Fangraphs doesn’t think Brian Dozier will hit 40 home runs again this year

Sep 4, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier (2) hits a RBI double during the fifth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Twins did not trade Brian Dozier this winter.

It feels like that needs to be written again and again to serve as a counterweight to all the trade rumors surrounding their popular second baseman between the end of October and spring training report date.

We outlined the list of reasons for and against trading Dozier from the perspective of the Twins, and one thing seemed to appear again and again in these discussions. For a star player, Dozier sure is volatile.

That was the line of thinking, anyway.

Despite significant slumps at the end of the 2014 and 2015 seasons – and an incredible slump to start 2016 followed by an even more incredible power surge – Dozier’s numbers always seem to be there at the end of the season.

Year Runs RBI SB AVG OBP SLG HR wRC+
2014 112 71 21 .242 .345 .416 23 117
2015 101 77 12 .236 .307 .444 28 102
2016 104 99 18 .268 .340 .546 42 132

Source: Fangraphs.com

(A note on Weighted Runs Created Plus: It’s a stat designed so that 100 is average, and, for example, 110 is 10% better than average. The MLB average for second baseman the past three years has been 88, 93 and 101, respectively, so Dozier’s performance compared with his peers has always been impressive during this stretch.)

So you can call him a streaky hitter if you want to. The numbers are there.

Dozier staying put? Dodgers trade Jose De Leon for another second baseman

Will he hit 42 home runs again though? That’s tougher to answer. And we’ll enlist the help of FanGraphs author Gerald Schifman, who tackled the issue in a recent blog post.

At this site, we’ve written about his extreme pull tendencies and his home run rate on fly balls. We’ve written about the Twins’ apparent decision not to trade him to the Dodgers for a trade package including young starting pitcher Jose De Leon.

This FanGraphs post goes deeper, using Statcast data and other information to fit a linear regression to predict home run rate (HR/PA).

It goes pretty in depth and you should read the post if you’re interested in this stuff. The short answer is that Schifman sees Dozier as a 30-homer guy more than a 40-homer guy. I think that’s a fairly non-controversial opinion. Dozier gets dinged a little bit because his batted-ball distance is not as far as other sluggers and the ball doesn’t jump off his bat quite as quickly as other feared hitters.

Wetmore’s 2017 Twins outlook: Brian Dozier’s approach makes the most of what he’s got

But as I’ve written before, Dozier is incredible in that he has a special approach that squeezes every ounce of value out of his ability. If you walked by him in the street your first reaction wouldn’t be to assume he’s a big power hitter in Major League Baseball.

But that’s what he is. And if he stays in a Twins uniform and hits 30 home runs, that’s a pretty good return on investment. We could quibble over whether or not the Twins could maximize their return even further, but it only seems fair to stop short of criticizing Dozier for being ‘only’ a 30-home run hitter.

Wetmore: The arguments for and against trading star slugger Brian Dozier

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  • ogredragon

    trade or extend, while the could save money trading. Don’t sit on him and wait like they did with Plouffe. Gordon is said to be a 2nd baseman and Polanco projects best there too. so 2 of them should be out the door if they ever find a SS.

  • Mike Link

    We have watched a lot of players have that one big surge year and then fall off. Career years are like that and there is no reason to think that it might not happen to Dozier. At this point it does not matter any more, the Twins may have overplayed their hand in the trade not it will be interesting to see what they do with him, his contract, his trade value. If they want to keep him I would extend his contract, but not by much. We have seen too many drop in value with the big extensions.

  • Dozier will hit between 30 and 40 HRs this season – the biggest question is whether they will all be hit with the Twins or will he get dealt before the trade deadline?

  • butownboy

    He may NOT hit 4o this year or any other year. But very good chance he hits between 25-30 and 40. And thats excellant for a second baseman. He deserves better than Twins although THEY can benefit with him as a mainstay. Hope they bring in better talent.





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