Stop Sleeping on Brian Dozier

Sep 17, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier (2) throws the ball to first base for an out in the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

One of the best fantasy options at second base this past season was Brian Dozier of the Minnesota Twins, but he was largely ignored coming into 2014 even after a solid 2013 with 18 homers and 14 steals.  Dozier rewarded smart owners this past season by contributing across the board with his very impressive counting stats.

Brian Dozier’s 112 runs were the second best among Major League players in 2014.  Dozier only trailed Mike Trout’s 115 runs scored in that category.  Besides runs, Dozier led the second base class with 23 home runs, which tied Neil Walker for the best at their position.  Brian Dozier also recorded 71 RBI’s and 21 steals ranked seventh and fifth among second basemen, respectively.  Furthermore, his .762 OPS was seventh among full-time 2B.

To be clear, Brian Dozier finished seventh or better in the four counting stats of fantasy baseball in 2014.  In fact, he led the position or tied for the lead in two of those four categories (runs and HR).  It is fair to say that Brian Dozier established himself as a premier second baseman in 2014.

That being said, he will still probably be drafted lower than Robinson Cano, Jose Altuve, Anthony Rendon, Jason Kipnis, Ian Kinsler, Dee Gordon, and Dustin Pedroia.  Only the first three names on this list should be drafted among Dozier in my opinion.  You have already seen my opinion on Jason Kipnis here.  Kinsler is a Dozier clone with a higher price tag.  Dee Gordon is very intriguing, but a serious candidate for major regression.  Dustin Pedroia is another overpriced name.

Instead of being frustrated at your under producing second bagger, why not draft a guy who will offer strong contributions in all of the counting stats?  His 2014 run production was elite.  Plus, 23 home runs and 21 steals puts Brian Dozier in a pretty exclusive 20-20 club.  The only players to reach that milestone this season were Carlos Gomez (23 HR/34 SB), Ian Desmond (24 HR/ 24 SB), Michael Brantley (20 HR/ 20 SB), and Todd Frazier (29 HR/ 20 SB).

Beyond Dozier’s 20-20 membership and rare value at a thin fantasy position, he is also getting better by the year.  Brian Dozier is currently 27 years old, which means he is in his prime.  Since his MLB debut in 2012, he has seen his walk rate jump from 4.7% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2013 to a now impressive 12.6% in 2014.  With a relatively constant career K% of 18.4%, Dozier now features a .69 K/BB.

I was fairly impressed by Brian Dozier in 2013, but I did not remember that on draft day in 2014.  After missing on a bargain value elite second baseman, I do not want to pass up this opportunity again.  Of course, the cost of Brian Dozier is still shockingly reasonable.

Based on the limited data and predictions available in November, it seems that Brian Dozier should be a top 75 pick.  However, I see no reason not to take him in round five of a 12-team league if he is still there.  For two years in a row, Brian Dozier has provided fantasy baseball owners with very solid numbers for a 2B.

He continues to make adjustments and improvements at the plate as he enters his prime.  Brian Dozier is the unique second baseman that is both elite for his position and undervalued.