Brian Dozier" />
Ok, I know what you're thinking: what kind of person has the audacity to call themselves the "King of the Rockies", and anyway, why the hell would we want to sign Brian Dozier who, by all statistical measures, was pretty "meh" last year?
To answer the first question, I am a first time poster, long time reader (always wanted to write that), and the name is less about ego and more about the fact that I was drafting different usernames and didn't realize that it couldn’t be changed more than once, oops.
But let's get back to Brian.
Brian Dozier is a 31 year-old, right handed second baseman and former Twins All Star who was traded to the Dodgers on last season’s July 31st non-waiver deadline. Dozier slashed a combined .215/.305/.391 (OPS .696), carried a below-average OPS+ of 88 (100 is average), was worth .8 fWar, and by any other measurements had a pretty poor season for a player of his All Star reputation. So you may be asking yourself why the Rockies would want to throw money at a struggling right handed veteran, when we’ve got one that I think we would all like to get rid of. *cough* Desi.
Well, the reason is simple: it’s all in his potential for a tremendous bounce back season. From 2013-2017, his five seasons as a full time starter for the Twins, he averaged .252/.333/.465 (OPS of .798) owned an above average 116 OPS+, and the 21.7 fWAR he created in that 5 year period was third among all second baseman in the MLB (behind Jose Altuve and Robinson Cano.) Throw in the 145 homers he mashed during that period (which was the most in the MLB for second baseman), and you have one of the premier offensive second basemen in the entire MLB.
The risk in signing Dozier is determining whether his struggles this year were the product of bad luck and a down year, or if they were due to a deterioration of his skills. My first look at his numbers suggests the former. His BABIP of .240 is lower than his five year average of .273, meaning some bad luck was in play. Dozier had a BB% of 11.1 and his K% was 20.4, which is in-line with his five year averages of 9.9 BB% & 19.7 K%. Based on his under performance relative to his average batted ball performance, and his steady plate discipline numbers, it seems to me that Dozier struggled from an unlucky year, and that he possesses significant upside in terms of a bounce back campaign -- throw in the added motivation that would come with a one year, "prove-it" type of deal, and we could have the makings of a throwback season from Dozier in 2019.
I understand the downside to signing Dozier is that he is defensive downgrade from DJ; however, I think Dozier’s offense and power in Coors Field will mask some of the defensive deficiency. Also, I’m aware that we have Garrett Hampson (a player I’m personally fond of), who is faster and probably a better defender at second. But the option to have Dozier for a year (assuming he plays well) will protect us from the ups and downs that all young players face and give Hampson the flexibility to be a speed and defense bench player with the option to play as an outfielder, where his speed will be a major weapon against the monstrous Coors outfield. A one year deal with Dozier would also allow Brendan Rodgers a full year of seasoning in Triple-A as preparation for 2020. When he would be ready to take the place of either Dozier or Hampson, provided that neither player works out.
But enough with all the nerdy numbers, and the prospect stuff. The real reason we should be interested in acquiring Dozier is because of the successful history the Rockies have of reincarnating former Twins left for dead. Whether it be the lovable Cuddy winning a Batting Title in the purple and black or Justin Morneau’s own bounce back 2014 campaign, former Twins seem to regain their powers in the Mile High City. Plus, the naive fan in me believes there’s gotta be some magic in taking a former Twin and putting him on Blake Street.
Fan Cred Sport’s Jon Hayman has Dozier taking a one-year deal between $6.5 and $9 million, I say we split the difference and give him a one year deal worth $7.75 million. I mean what could go wrong?
TL;DR: Rockies + former Twins all-star = Recipe for Success
Editor's Note: this post was originally published on November 8, 2018