Ya know, they scouted and drafted him as a pedestrian solid middle infielder, not a power hitter. Now the Twins have first serendipity and second Brian Dozier to credit for Brian Dozier being this type of player he is. Third they can give themselves some credit with their coaching say. It’s not a credit to scouting, not really. Dozier wasn’t scouted for this:
They drafted Dozier with their 8th pick in 2009. What is that overall…. 8 times 30, plus a few supplementary picks…. Like 250th overall. Now those guys in that tranche are ‘real’ prospects, but it’s not assumed they necessarily make the big leagues like you tend to assume 1-5 rounders will. They are not discerned as ‘impact’ players.
Twins drafted Dozier as something of a ‘solid’ big public college shortstop. Nice, but meh. Not toolsy I’m saying, not really standout speed, power, contact, arm, or glove. Not Byron Buxton. Just ‘solid’. ‘’Meh solid’.
Most desirable 4 year college players are in fact drafted and then sign as juniors, skipping their senior year. This is a matter of leverage and signing bonuses, and the rules on who can enter the draft (4 yr freshman and sophomores are not eligible). As a practical matter, with juniors having an option to stay in school and play their senior year, juniors have some leverage to cajole teams to give them bigger draft signing bonuses, sometimes significantly bigger. Which is weird kinda, because that leverage can evaporate if they do in fact go on to play their senior year in college rather than sign. But this is the dance teams and college draftees do.
Dozier wasn’t drafted at all as a college junior…. No doubt he had been scouted, but there wasn’t any impetus to draft him as a junior, he just wasn’t very high on anyone’s list that particular year compared to the players that were drafted. Cuz he was as I say, kinda meh solid and not toolsy.
I’m not even reviewing college stats… I’m sure he had a fine senior year and the scouting was, yeah, this is a pro player. Twins draft him 8th, and the slot money you’re supposed to pay an 8th rounder is like over $500k, but Dozier signs for $30k because he’s a meh solid college player coming out of his senior year. IE, he either signs for a diminished amount or doesn’t play pro ball. Which is to say, the Twins drafted him 8th because they like ‘meh solid’ players and they could underpay in the 8th slot to get one in Dozier.
So, he played a little more than 2 seasons in the minors and was about a 6 HR a season guy, punch and Judy hitting infielder. He’s an elite-elite power guy now, what’s gone on there.
So, he’s a 5’11, 180-190 lb man, smallish for a power hitter…. what’s gone on there.
I don’t think its roids. I think Twins were lucky. They drafted for organization depth, took a pedestrian 22 year old big college shortstop who had a much higher ceiling than anyone could discern based on, ya know, assumptions scouts make based on superficial appearance / player morphology. AND… you probably got a guy who along with his coaches decided that his swing was ideal for hammering the inside pitch…. and he’s since tried to do nothing else, and gotten very good at it. Most of this is on Dozier, as ballclubs try to teach all their ballplayers useful things. It’s that it only takes with the ones who can actually do it given the inherent difficulty of the pro hitting challenge. You look at this guy…. no one is too fast for him right now, and he’s driving some pitches that are armpit high. No one really does that.
Pretty normal sized man playing middle infield and on his way to a 45 HR season. That happens, of course. Has happened in the past, with some noteworthy examples, Hall of Famers and other memorable players. But it’s a bit strange and very out of the blue for this particular player, such that progress over a few years can be called “out of the blue”.
I’d assert an observation that for the modern, archetypical 6’ 4”slugger, a lot of relatively obliquely hit fly balls go over the outfield fence by virtue of a quick swing with a lot of, ya know, emc(squared) unstoppable force shit behind it. I’m thinking Barry Bonds and McGwire from those years, but David Ortiz now and some others… this type of large, big swing player hits HRs with steroids or without. Sano will be this type of player. Dozier is not mimicking a large, big swing player, he hits 400+ foot line drives, which will go out for HRs anywhere in left or left center.
Been done with this size man. I think we’re inclined to recall Killebrew say as this huge man, but its not true. He was stocky, but was 5’ 11 and actually regarded as the speedy type when he was in his early 20’s. It might be that Dozier and Killebrew are the same player morphology, or more similar than dissimilar. Powerful but not towering.