Since the beginning of the 2014 season, Brian Dozier has been the best second baseman in Major League Baseball. Oh, and it’s not that close. Since last April, Dozier has the highest WAR among qualifying major league second basemen 7.7 (a comfortable lead over second place Jose Altuve). Additionally, Dozier leads in HR (18 ahead of Kolten Wong), runs scored (27 ahead of Ian Kinsler), ISO (the only player above .200 at .203), and wOBA (weighted on base percentage at .350). All this whilst putting up just the 14th best batting average (.251), striking out the most (19% of plate appearances), and having the 3rd lowest BaBIP (batting average for balls in play, a mere .277). In conclusion, Dozier is a line drive hitting machine.
What is perhaps all the more remarkable, is breaking down Dozier from the beginning of the 2015 season. Dozier is currently second in the league in WAR after the remarkable Jason Kipnis, who, will not sustain his BaBIP of almost .400 but is having an incredible season nonetheless. Dozier on the other hand, is taking his superlative hitting to new heights. In 2015, he leads MLB second basemen in runs scored (60), RBI (40), SLG (.535) and ISO (.262 through July 3rd). Dozier’s isolated power is so prodigious; it’s good for 10th in the entire league. Here is a list of players who have a higher ISO in 2015: Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton, Nolan Arenado, Todd Frazier, Albert Pujols, Mark Teixeira, Paul Goldschmidt, Joc Pederson, and Mike Trout. That’s a mighty impressive list for a second baseman to be a part of.
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The greatest travesty of Dozier’s remarkable season is that he is highly unlikely to be an All-Star. He was not voted as a starter. The honor fell to Jose Altuve, who overtook the pedestrian Omar Infante with a remarkable run of vote getting at the very end of the voting cycle. Altuve I can live with, although he is clearly the third best American League choice behind Kipnis and Dozier. Dave Schoenfield recently penned an article for ESPN highlighting the possibility of either Ian Kinsler or Dustin Pedroia receiving the player vote and Kipnis gaining a managerial nod for an open roster spot from AL skipper Ned Yost. This would essentially force Dozier from consideration as it would be highly unlikely for the AL to carry four second basemen on their roster.
To me, this simply highlights the injustice of the All-Star process. Everyone knows the voting process is extremely flawed. The All-Star game as a ‘popularity contest’ narrative is well worn and does not need to be reiterated. One of the real issues here is there is no fool-proof system to ‘catch’ deserving players like Dozier, who, by almost any metric worth considering, is in the midst of a remarkable two season run.
Pedroia and Kinsler are fine choices who are both having solid seasons but are being discussed in this race on name recognition alone. While the fan voting system inherently disadvantages small market teams like the Twins, the other systems in place have similar flaws. The player vote suffers from similar shortcomings. Sadly, with a lack of championing from the national media, Dozier seems likely to miss out on an All-Star bid which he truly deserves.