Bounce Back Candidate: Brian Dozier
Each week I’ll be looking in to a bounce back candidate at each position. These are going to be more of a stat based, analytical deep dive on a specific player. The projections next to the player names are an average of THE BAT, ATC, Steamer, and ZIPS projection systems found on Fangraphs. NFBC ADP data is from the date range 2/01/2019-02/19/2019. Is this the new normal for Dozier?
Brian Dozier, WSH (ADP 133): 578 PA, 77 R, 25 HR, 77 RBI, 11 SB, .244/.329/.454/.783
In 2016 and 2017, Brian Dozier was a fantasy superstar, slashing .270/.350/.522/.872 and averaging 38 HR and 17 SB in those two seasons. Those are phenomenal numbers from a second baseman and dynasty owners felt no need to worry going into 2018. The problem is Dozier’s 2018 was a disaster on the surface.
Dozier hit just .215/.305/.391/.696 but still managed 21 home runs and 12 steals. He was traded mid-season from the Twins to the Dodgers and performed even worse after the trade (.182 batting average). The home run and stolen base numbers were his lowest since his first full season in 2013. It was only his age 31 season and there were no signs of slowing down prior to the 2017 season, so the question is: what went wrong?
In looking at Dozier’s stat profile, there were only a few negative peripheral stats I noted. He had a a .240 BABIP in 2018 and has a career .271 BABIP (.300 is average). He pulls the ball over half the time and gets shifted on, so we should expect lower than average BABIPs. But .240 is extremely low and implies that he got unlucky. His HR/FB% was also his lowest since 2013. That’s really it. Other than those two stats everything else in his profile was comparable to 2017.
Dozier’s walk and strikeout rates were nearly identical to his 2017 numbers. He actually had the highest hard hit rate of his entire career. The batted ball profile was essentially identical. Dozier is currently slotted in to play everyday and bat in the middle of the lineup for the Nationals. If he has any BABIP and HR/FB% luck, he’s going to meet his projections at the very least. There’s a good chance he even exceeds them. If he merely meets them, he’s a bargain at pick 133 with upside for more.