Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dozier, this year's Luke Hughes

Are the Twins seriously considering keeping Brian Dozier on the roster? If you are reading the local beat writers you would think so. But most of this seems to be their own speculation. Terry Ryan says they would consider having a guy bypass AAA. But Terry Ryan has always said that when asked about some young prospect in camp. Usually the comment is combined, as it was here, with some statement about the prospect needing to play every day.

Last year the story of the spring was Luke Hughes. As expected, despite the beat writers stories, Hughes was sent to the minors to start the season. He was called up when Nishioka got hurt.

Dozier is very likely the same story. The Twins seem to think Dozier can play shortstop in the big leagues, which makes him a better prospect than Hughes. But they just signed Jamey Carroll to provide themselves with veteran stability. It seems unlikely that they are going to jump in an entirely different direction based on a good spring training.

The apparent motivation for making that move, according to the bloggers and beat writers, would be to strengthen the utility infielder position. This idea gained credence when they sent Nishioka to AAA. But it is hard to imagine the Twins weakening themselves at shortstop in order to patch a weakness at the end of the bench.

Of course, its possible they will become convinced Dozier is better than either Carroll or Casilla and give him a major league job. But that has nothing to do with Nishioka or any need for a utility infielder. If Dozier wins a spot on the roster, its because the team is convinced he is already the best shortstop in camp. I think that is an longshot, at best.


Jim H said...

I agree with this. The thing is somebody must think Dozier is awful close to being ready to start as a major league SS or why is he still in camp? It makes no sense to bring him up as a backup, and there were statements this winter/early spring from Twins officals that Dozier had thing to work on.

I am trying to figure out why there are 6 middle infielders(7 if you count Hughes) still in camp. If Dozier has no chance to make the 25 man roster, send him over to the minor league camp. It isn't that far away if someone gets hurt.

By now you should be able eliminate at least one of Florimon, Chang, or Hollimon. Unless you are playing a bunch more B games you would think the projected starters should be getting the bulk of the AB's. I don't quite see what the Twins are doing here. I just don't see that there are that many innings to divy up, if people are still competing for jobs.

Which may be the real answer, the Twins know what they are going to do, and just want a little more look at others if that doesn't work.

TT said...

Jim -

Over the next couple weeks the competition is going to approach major league quality. If you think Dozier might be your AAA backup shortstop, then seeing what he can do against that level of competition makes sense. Its also a chance for the coaching staff to work with him.

There are two different questions here. Is Dozier ready to play shortstop in the major leagues? Is he better than Carroll or Casilla? Those are not the same things. They may still be trying to answer the first question, even if they are settled on the second.

As for the utility infielder competition, the same issues apply. They have two more weeks to see players against better competition. I think that is why non-roster players like Carson and Dinkelman are still around. Its a long season and even if the Twins are healthy relative to last year, they are going to need to bring players up from AAA. This is the major league staffs last chance to see what they can do against major league competition.

Jim H said...

You make good points with your reply but here's the thing. If Carroll and Casilla ARE set as the starters, which is likely, they should be getting almost all the starts between now and opening day. They won't necessarily finish many games, and they won't start EVERY game but they should start most.

If that is true, then where are the innings for Dozier? Hughes has to get starts here or there. Whoever is in competition for the backup at least needs innings if not a bunch of starts.

He isn't going to see many major league quality starters at the end of games. I don't think he can get ready to play AAA, not playing.

I get where the major league staff wants to see more of him. I also see benefit in working with the major league staff.

I think either they want Dozier to start in the majors, which means Carroll starts working at other positions and they start Dozier every other day(at least) at short. Or they send Dozier down within a couple of days.

TT said...

Jim -

I don't think the Twins are worried about Dozier being ready for AAA. The point of AAA is to get him ready to play in the major leagues.

Jim H said...

Having him hang around major league camp and get maybe a half dozen bats wouldn't get him ready for anything.

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