Brian Dozier is far from a household name in the world of sports. In fact, if you don't follow baseball you're guaranteed not to know that he was one of the best college baseball players in the nation while at Southern Miss, and he's been in the Majors for six seasons.
But 2016 is turning out to be the year that Dozier puts his name on the map, as the Minnesota Twins second baseman is on a hitting streak of historical proportions. Dozier blasted three homers against Kansas City Monday then followed that by hitting another on Tuesday, bringing his season total to 39, just two behind MLB leader Mark Trumbo.
Dozier has hit 8 home runs in the past week, and 25 since the all-star break. According to his Wins Above Replacement (WAR) numbers, he's been MLB's most valuable player in the second half of the season. And here's another stat you've probably never heard of; Dozier's .298 ISO, a stat which measures a batter's raw power, is the highest unadjusted number in baseball history. Since the expansion era (1961-present), that is. Dozier's power output numbers also put him in some pretty elite company. Not since Ryne Sandberg in 1992 has a second baseman hit for power the way he has this season.
To give this all some sort of context, the second half of the season has been Dozier's eureka moment—-a moment of clarity in which he's finally figured out what previously seemed undecipherable. Simply put, in his five previous seasons leading up to this one, Dozier posted 75 total home runs. That's an average of 15 a season. He's already more than doubled that and he's still got 23 games left to play.
Moreover, last season around this time Dozier was a below average hitter, batting .199 with 4 home runs. Now, he's working on joining even more elite company; players who've hit 30 home runs in the second half of a season. Only 12 other players have been there, including Babe Ruth, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Albert Belle, Barry Bonds, Ryan Howard, and, most recently, Jose Bautista in 2010.
Asked about his transformation recently, Dozier chalked it up to understanding yourself as a player.
"You have to figure out what type of player you are, what type of hitter you are," he told fangraphs.com. "Once you find that, you stick with it. You can try to make adjustments throughout your career, but you should never lose sight of your strengths."
Looks like Dozier's perseverance is finally paying off .
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