by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Brian Dozier was a player we hyped significantly prior to the season and, thus far, he’s delivered. Through Thursday he was hitting .234 with 8 HR, 14 RBI, 31 R and 11 SB. Outside of the average, he has been tremendous so, of course, the question on everyone’s mind is if he can sustain it or not.
First of all, I still believe that the average is going to rise. He’s not striking out an excessive amount (19.9%) and, while the line drive rate isn’t tremendous (18.4%), he should be carrying better than a .242 BABIP. It all looks even better when you see his SwStr% of 5.5%, well below the league average of 9.3%.
Sure, he likely won’t maintain his current 16.0% walk rate. However, an improved average will help keep him on base and lead to continued runs scored.
Can he maintain his current 18.6% HR/FB? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean the power is simply going to disappear either. His power was consistent last season, with HR/FB rates of 9.0% and 10.9%. The pace is going to fall off, but it is realistic to expect him to finish the season in the 20-23 HR range at this point.
We can say the same thing about his speed. While he’s not likely to maintain this type of pace (he never stole more than 24 bases in the minors), at this point the Twins have proven they are willing to let him run. It would be foolish to think that he’s not going to go, and suddenly 25+ SB is for real.
Prior to the season we talked about him as a 15/15 option, but at this point he looks primed to surpass that. From this point forward, even if he were to simply go 12/12, he’s well worth owning thanks to the likelihood of an improved average and his ability to score runs.
That’s not to say that he shouldn’t be traded, especially if someone comes in with an offer like he’s an elite player. Still, from a middle infielder, even the outlook from this point forward is strong.
While he may seem like a sell high candidate, I would rethink that approach.
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Reference