May 7, 2012
The Situation: Mired with the worst record in baseball, and arguably not even looking at good at their 7-20 record, the Minnesota Twins will begin evaluating what little talent they have at the upper levels by promoting Brian Dozier, who, according to manager Ron Gardenhire, will be replacing Jamey Carroll as the team's everyday shortstop.
Background: An eighth-round pick in 2009 out of Southern Mississippi, Dozier has never been noted for his tools, but his performances and all-out style of play have won scouts over. He hit just .278/.347/.338 in his full-season debut, but he broke out last year by hitting well over .300 at both Class A and Double-A and finishing with a combined batting line of .320/.399/.491 with 24 stolen bases. He slumped a bit to begin the year at Triple-A Rochester this spring, batting .276/.339/.371 in 28 games.
What He Can Do: Dozier is a grinder who plays the game right and has loads of polish. His best tool is his bat, as he has a simple line-drive swing and outstanding hands that allow him to spray balls all over the field, and he rarely strikes out. His gap power should provide plenty of doubles, but he rarely hits balls over the fence. He's merely an average runner, and while he makes all the plays he gets to at shortstop, he's not especially rangy.
Immediate Big League Future: Dozier should take advantage of what is a golden opportunity. He should be able to hit .270-.280, but the question is what he will do around the batting average. Over a full season, 5-10 home runs and 10-15 stolen bases are realistic expectations, so he's hardly a multi-category contributor for fantasy purposes. Many scouts think his range is questionable a short, but he should be able to play enough games there for the first part of his career.
Long-Term: Because of his tools limitations, Dozier is very much a what>-you-see-is-what-you-get player with little in the way of upside. He's starting for now, but his long term future on a better team is likely more of a utility player.
A version of this story originally appeared on ESPN Insider .