Mother effing Brian Dozier. Am I right?
Currently the team's leader in WAR, usurping the title of "best player" from Joe Mauer, Brian Dozier has turned into quite the player on the Minnesota Twins roster. Nobody could have expected this after his ho-hum 2012 debut season when he hit only .234/.271/.332 with subpar defense at shortstop. Although his batting average has hovered right around .240 ever since, he learned how to draw a walk and hit for more power while making a smooth transition across the diamond to second base.
In spite of his improvements on the field though, there was still one weakness for Dozier: hitting against righthanded pitching. Over his first three seasons in the bigs, here were his splits.
Up until this season, Dozier had primarily been a lefty masher. Last season was a bit different as he improved significantly against righties, which was buoyed by walking 14% of the time, or just two percentage points less than Miguel Sano has walked this year.
Last year was a huge step forward for Dozier minimizing his platoon split. This year, though it's not quite as extreme as cutting a 300 point difference to 60 points, he's still taken yet another step forward.
We've seen a huge jump in power for Dozier this season and the culprit is lying right there in that last table. Dozier is finally hitting for power against righties.
Another way to exemplify that fact can be shown by his isolated power (ISO) against lefties and righties. This number is simply a player's slugging percentage minus his batting average. League average over Dozier's short career has ranged from .135 to .150.
|ISO vs. LHP||ISO vs. RHP|
You can see that even in Dozier's poor 2012 showing, he still managed to batter around lefthanded pitchers. Meanwhile, his bat has been a little slower against righties, but it appears that he has now found his power stroke against them, which has helped propel him to a career-high 27 home runs and a reasonable chance to end the season at 30.
It will be interesting to see if Dozier can continue his positive trend towards being a hitter without a platoon split, because it will make him a more consistent threat in the lineup day in and day out. Of course, there's a chance that this season is simply random fluctuation and that next year he'll return back to the ~.700 OPS hitter that he was over the past two seasons. However, I'm willing to buy in that Dozier is getting better with more experience and although he may not show a power output similar to this year, that reaching the 20 HR plateau should be no problem again next year.