The Dodgers finally acquired second baseman Brian Dozier from the Twins before Tuesday’s July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. Dozier a player the Dodgers have long coveted made his Dodger debut on Wednesday night playing second base and batting fifth in the Dodger lineup. Dozier who has primarily played second base throughout his career in Minnesota will become the Dodger’s everyday second baseman with the slumping Max Muncy shifting to a more part-time role. Or so the Dodgers have stated.
Dozier’s debut was a success as the second baseman smashed his first home run as a Dodger, a long solo home run over the center field wall to tie the score against the Brewers in the bottom of the fifth inning. He also singled and doubled tallying three hits scoring twice. Dodger fans were so excited they requested Dozier for a curtain call after his home run, which he happily obliged.
Muncy has been mired in a terrible slump since he participated in the 2018 home run derby at the all-star game. Muncy was playing a lot of second base and has shifted between the keystone, first base and third. Dozier has never played third and has only a handful of games at shortstop. We know that Dozier is going to get the majority of playing time at second. The question I have is where does Dozier fit into the Dodger lineup?
Dozier has been having a down year. He comes to the Dodgers with a .224/.305/.402 slash line in 462 plate appearances. Dozier has posted a .706 OPS and has an OPS+ of 91 which means he’s been slightly below average at the plate in 2018. The 31-year old veteran has hit 16 home runs and driven in 52 runs. He’s drawn 46 walks and struck out 96 times. Dozier seems to hit better against left handers (.872 OPS) then against right handers (.737 OPS), and appears to be a better hitter in the second half (.803 OPS) than in the first half. He’s only had 13 at-bats at Dodger Stadium and is 2 for 13 at Chavez Ravine.
Historically Dozier has hit the best in the number five spot. According to the numbers Dozier is slashing .327/.391/.545 (18 for 55) with a .936 OPS and three home runs. His next best spot is the cleanup spot. In that spot in the order Dozier is slashing .261/.348/.488 (55 for 211) with 10 home runs and an .836 OPS. But the spot where he’s had the most at-bats has been in the lead-off spot. At the top of the lineup he’s slashed .253/.328/.484. In 2400 plate appearances batting lead-off Dozier has smacked 114 home runs.
So the Dodger management looked at the numbers as they always do and discovered that Dozier does best when batting fifth. Low and behold you know what he did in his first game as a Dodger? Take a wild guess…… I’m guessing this is going to work out pretty well for the Dodgers.