Monday, April 21, 2014

Should Brian Dozier Move Back to Shortstop?

It has been rough start to the season for Pedro Florimon. He's collected six hits over 40 at-bats and he has two extra-base hits to his name. There weren't high offensive expectations for Florimon when the season began but he has clearly under-performed. He is a defensive first middle infielder but his offensive has become painful to watch. It's hard to know where the line should be set for Florimon to stay on the field.

One of the biggest holes for the Twins moving forward could be the gap at shortstop. Florimon was never meant to be a long-term solution but Minnesota's future at shortstop is a little cloudy. Danny Santana is lurking at Triple-A but there are questions about his defensive skills. Niko Goodrum is in the lower levels of the minors and it will likely be multiple years before he is ready for big league action.

So what could the Twins do to improve their shortstop situation in the short term?

An option that might not have been considered yet by the Twins could be moving current second baseman Brian Dozier back over to shortstop. Dozier played all but a handful of games in the minor leagues at shortstop and he played there for his entire rookie season in 2012. Because of his poor performance in his first season, the Twins decided to shift Dozier to the other side of the infield.

In the minor leagues, Dozier was never lights out when it came to defense at shortstop. As he moved up the ladder, he was able to improve his fielding percentage and cut back on some of his defensive miscues. The 2011 season was his last full season in the minors and he only had nine errors in close to 400 chances at shortstop.

When the Twins brought Dozier up in 2012, people wanted to see some promising signs after suffering through the poor play of Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Dozier struggled in the field with 15 errors in 413 chances. His offense wasn't nearly enough to overcome his defensive flaws so the Twins were forced to try something different.

Last season was a breakout campaign for Dozier as he smacked a team record 18 home runs from his new position at second base. He also played terrific defense and it looked like the Twins might have solidified one of their middle infield positions for the foreseeable future.

The Twins aren't likely to make a major position switch like this with Dozier in the middle of the season. It's more convenient for the player and the team if they have an entire offseason to adjust to the switch. If Minnesota were to move Dozier, he wouldn't get to every ball but he could be passable and his power from the position would be a welcome upgrade.

There are other second baseman working their way through the Twins minor league system and it might be nice to have Dozier back at his original position. For now, the Twins are scoring plenty of runs even with Florimon in the line-up on a regular basis. A drastic move might not be necessary...

at least not yet...

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