When Brian Dozier hit his 40th home run of the season on Monday, it was definitive announcement of change for the Minnesota Twins.
The club could potentially hit 200 home runs this year while scoring 4.5 runs per game, thus far.
But what Dozier represents, especially as the leadoff hitter, is someone who can lead this team back to competition.
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He’s been the clubhouse leader and even sounded melancholy when asked about his historical 40th home run.
The numbers are nice but he admitted it would mean more if the team was in a position to compete.
But perhaps things aren’t that simple. It’s easy for the captain to take it the hardest if the team struggles but what’s he has done for the Twins has been incredibly important for the future.
By taking over the leadoff spot and producing, Dozier has taken the pressure off Byron Buxton.
Since the rookie’s return to the majors at the beginning of the month, Buxton has seen his average increase by 30 points and gain some much needed confidence.
It’s also probably no coincidence they both returned after June 1st when Dozier started dominating.
Obviously, this is all speculation that the players started hitting better after Dozier’s hot streak but as the old saying goes, hitting is contagious.
Looking at the splits, the Twins were hitting .239 from April to May. After June hit, the team’s batting average climbed from .257 to .269 to .270 (June through August).
Not to mention, the Twins are averaging about five runs per game. During the first two months, they put up a measly 3.75 per game.
Again, it’s tough to say this is all due to Dozier but when a certain leadoff hitter starts turning things around and the team follows suit, it’s tough to argue otherwise.
As mentioned in a previous post, the chance of Dozier getting any major recognition outside of the organization for his performance seems unlikely.
But the numbers don’t lie, he has had a profound positive impact on the club.
And honestly, he shouldn’t feel bad about that.
Yes, he started off slow but so did everyone else on the team.
What he needs to focus on is continuing this into the start of next season for the Minnesota Twins.
With a pitching staff that may continue to struggle, the offense will have a lot of pressure to perform.
And who better to lead this young but talented offense into the future than Dozier?
Not only is he the captain but also the BEST single season power-hitting second baseman in AL history.