Found August 14, 2013 on
Fox Sports North:
MINNEAPOLIS -- Terry Ryan saw this coming. The timing of it, however, was not as he envisioned it.
The Twins' general manager knew Brian Dozier could be a solid big league player. That's what Dozier has turned out to be in 2013, his first full year at second base for Minnesota.
Ryan, however, expected it to have happened one year ago. That wasn't the case, as Dozier struggled in his first season in the minor leagues and wasn't brought back up as a September call-up at the end of the year.
"I was a little surprised at that and I was a little disappointed in myself. Maybe I pushed him too hard," Ryan said. "But now things are starting to come together."
Indeed, Dozier has become one of Minnesota's best players in just his second season in the majors. Prior to Wednesday's game against Cleveland, Dozier had a 3.1 WAR (wins above replacement), which was second among all Twins players behind catcher Joe Mauer (4.6). Dozier's 3.1 WAR was tied for sixth among American League second baseman.
Not bad for a guy who was hitting just .214 with a .558 OPS (on-base plus slugging) through the end of May.
"I got in a big funk early in the year," Dozier said. "I'm not really worried about numbers or where they're at or anything."
Where they're at now is a .241 batting average and 49 RBI after going 1-for-6 with a run-scoring single in Wednesday's loss to Cleveland. Dozier's 49 RBI are second most on the Twins after Justin Morneau's 67. The power has also developed for Dozier, who is second on the team (behind Morneau once again) with 12 home runs in 104 games. That's more than he's hit at any level of baseball; in fact, he had just 16 combined home runs in four minor league seasons.
Dozier isn't concerned about the home run numbers, though, nor is he trying to hit them. Minnesota has put him in the leadoff spot since the beginning of July. It was a bit of a default move as the Twins didn't really have many options at the leadoff spot. Dozier has seemed to thrive there, though. Nine of his 12 home runs and 36 of his RBI have come in 58 games in the leadoff role.
Still, Dozier doesn't consider himself one of the team's big bats or a guy who is expected to drive in a lot of runs. He leaves that up to Mauer, Morneau or Josh Willingham.
"I feel like I'm comfortable in the leadoff spot. I like the one or two hole," Dozier said. "I feel like (RBI are) for the big knockers. But you don't want to lose sight of that if there are people in scoring position when I'm up, I have to be the RBI guy."
Defensively, Dozier has been brilliant at times at second base, a position that he's still learning. He didn't play it at all in 84 major league games as a rookie last year and spent just 47 of his 356 minor league games at second base. He's a shortstop by trade, having played that position in college at Southern Miss and predominantly in the minors.
The transition to the other side of the infield has appeared natural for Dozier, though. His arm strength plays well at that position and he's gotten the hang of making the turn at second base on double plays, communicating well with shortstop Pedro Florimon on anything hit in the middle infield. Dozier has been a part of 84 double plays this year, the third-most among big league second basemen.
"It's an adjustment if you hadn't done it, but he'd played a number of days at short and a number of days at second down there," Ryan said. "That isn't going to affect him. He's played enough at both spots in the minor leagues that it shouldn't affect him up here."
Dozier made a mechanical adjustment in his swing back at the end of May after he was missing fastballs and just slightly getting under pitches. He felt his swing was starting late due to his footwork, which created a domino effect. Now he's seeing the ball better and is getting on base at a higher clip.
This was something the Twins hoped would have happened for Dozier in 2012. For whatever the reason, it just didn't work out for him as a rookie when he hit just .234 with six homers and 33 RBI in 84 games. Now after a slow start to 2013, Dozier finally looks like he's found his groove in Minnesota.
"I thought he was going to do this last year, and of course it didn't happen. He was over on the other side of the diamond. That might have had something to do with it," Ryan said. "He'd always shown some pop in his bat. He'd always shown some range. He was certainly athletic enough. He can run. ... It's not a huge surprise to anybody, because we thought it was maybe a year last year that he was going to do that and didn't. It's good to see him do it this year."
Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Ok, let's get the obvious out the way right up front - he's had two starts, one he he lasted 8 and 1/3 innings and gave up no runs, and another was a complete game shutout. That's pretty crazy. He's just the 63rd pitcher to give up zero runs in his first two career starts, and the combined 17.1 innings is the 17th longest scoreless streak ever by a starter to...
MINNEAPOLIS -- Chris Herrmann, Doug Bernier and Chris Colabello had played in a combined 78 major league games before Thursday's series opener against the White Sox. Sure enough, the Twins players with the least big league experience all contributed to the winning run in the 4-3 victory over Chicago.
Colabello drew a one-out walk and Bernier came into the game to pinch run for...
MINNEAPOLIS -- Ron Gardenhire has had his share of run-ins with umpires about calls the Twins skipper felt were made incorrectly. While he admitted Thursday he hadn't heard much about the rule changes to instant replay, Gardenhire will likely enjoy the new system.
Major League Baseball announced a proposal Thursday that would allow managers the ability to challenge calls they...
The Minnesota Twins have placed first baseman Justin Morneau on revocable waivers.
If Morneau is claimed before Wednesday's deadline, the Twins can work out a trade with the claiming team, let that team take his contract or pull him back and keep him in Minnesota. If he is not claimed, the Twins are free to negotiate with any team.
Morneau was drafted by the Twins in 1999 and...
Minnesota Twins catcher Ryan Doumit exited a game early last week after experiencing concussion-related symptoms. Soon after, the Twins placed him on the seven-day concussion disabled list. It wasn't initially clear how long it would take Doumit to get over the effects of the concussion and be cleared to return, but Twins general manager Terry Ryan told reporters -- including...
While the Minnesota Twins have fared very well against the Chicago White Sox this year, Mike Pelfrey hasn't had much to do with that success.
Looking to snap a season-worst four-game losing streak, Pelfrey goes for his first win in four tries against visiting Chicago in the opener of a four-game set Thursday night.
The Twins (53-65) entered this year having dropped 22 of 28...
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins first baseman Justin Morneau knows it's out of his control whether or not he gets traded. That was his approach leading up to the July 31 non-waiver deadline, and he's taking things the same way as the Aug. 31 waiver deadline approaches.
On Tuesday, however, baseball analyst Peter Gammons reportedthat Morneau was placed on waivers. Earlier this month...
Kieth Allison The fantasy season is hitting the stretch run and in this article I will attempt to offer some suggestions to help you secure your league championship. Every team need is different, so I will separate each intriguing player into the category that they can help you in. The suggested players are available in over 50% of ESPN leagues. Remember flags fly forever and fortune...
With the way the all-or-nothing Minnesota Twins have been performing at the plate, the Cleveland Indians figure to be in good shape as long as they can keep them in the park.
Carlos Carrasco takes on that difficult task as he tries to avoid his 10th straight defeat Wednesday while handing Minnesota consecutive losses for the first time in August.
Josh Willingham went deep Tuesday...
Chris Herrmann's pinch-hit single in the bottom of the ninth scored pinch-runner Doug Bernier and lifted the Minnesota Twins to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night.
The Twins trailed 3-2 heading into the eighth, but Joe Mauer doubled and scored on a base hit from Justin Morneau to tie it. Herrmann came through against Ramon Troncoso (1-4) in the ninth...
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins announced the completion of the Drew Butera trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In exchange for Butera, the Twins received left-hander Miguel Sulbaran from the Dodgers.
Sulbaran is a 19-year-old pitcher from Venezuela who pitched this year for the Class A Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest League. In 23 games (16 starts) this year, Sulbaran was 6...
The Minnesota Twins have placed first baseman Justin Morneau on revocable waivers, according to MLB Network's Peter Gammons. A lot of players get placed on waivers, but Morneau may draw the attention of a few teams. Here are some of the teams who could show interest in the 32-year old Morneau:
The Pirates had shown interest in trading for Morneau before...
The White Sox start a two-city road trip this weekend with a four game series against the Twins at Target Field. They went 6-4 on the last homestand, winning five out of six games against the Yankees and Tigers, but losing three out of four to Minnesota. As usual, baseball makes perfect sense.
Minnesota is in the midst of an eight-game homestand and dropped two of three...
Home runs have powered the Minnesota Twins' recent surge.
Superb pitching, however, is the main reason they're on the verge of their longest home winning streak in 14 months.
That successful combination may be on display again Tuesday night as the Twins go for another victory over the struggling Cleveland Indians.
Minnesota (53-63) has won four of five games thanks to the...