Brian Dozier has been a cool customer at shortstop during his brief stint with the Twins this spring. (Duane Burleson / Associated Press)
The Twins are 12-26, so it’s easy to understand how any glimmer of hope could erupt into an enormous pile of hyperbole as we search for that elusive silver lining.
That being said, we’ve really enjoyed the incredibly brief Brian Dozier era. So much so, that we’re willing to pencil him in as the starting shortstop and No. 2 hitter for the next 10 years. But again, let’s not get carried away.
Easier said than done.
There’s just … something about Dozier. Sure, the statistics tell us he’s been pretty dang good during his meager 11-game stint with the big club. He’s hitting .298 with a couple homers and five RBIs. Granted, his on-base percentage is a paltry .327, but that’s to be expected with a youngster getting his ears wet against major league pitching. And, to be sure, those numbers would qualify as rather pedestrian if Dozier played for just about any other team. But for the offensively — and defensively — challenged Twins, the 25-year-old has been a blessing.
Forget the numbers for a minute. If you’ve grimaced your way through any of the Twins’ recent games, you’ve noticed that Dozier has that intangible “it,” a kind of steely confidence that belies his youth. He’s smooth defensively, and he knows it — not to the point of arrogance, however. His is more of a calm that lets you know “I got this.”
He’s a scaled-back version of Danny Valencia, who carried just a tad too much bravado upon his ascent to the Twins in 2010. Thus far, Dozier has played it perfectly. He’s stabilized the shortstop position and looks impossibly comfortable quarterbacking the infield, all the while providing a much-needed jolt at the plate. Conversely, he understands the pecking order, understands that he’s a rookie and that it’s better for rookies to be seen but not heard.
Forgive us for getting too excited, but because the Twins have won 12 times in 38 tries, and because it took until mid-May for them to post their second two-game winning streak, we’re latching onto the little things. And Dozier has been a bright spot worth latching onto.