Going Deep: Is Brian Dozier About To Wake Up?

Brian Dozier has long been a difference-maker for fantasy teams down the stretch. Is this year any different? Daniel Port tries to find out.

Every year in fantasy baseball, there have always been certain inevitabilities that always show up in the second half: Extreme BABIPs come back down to earth. At least one rookie is brought up and wins fantasy leagues. And very specific hitters start turning it on like clockwork.

Every single time, you see the same pattern. They start off struggling in April and May, slowly start looking like rosterable players in June, and then come July, they turn into unstoppable hitting machines. Guys such as Carlos Santana and Edwin Encarnacion were always great examples of players who would drag down your team for 2.5 months and then flip the switch and play like superstars in the second half.

The king of this player type, though, is Brian Dozier. Like clockwork, year after year, Dozier would struggle through the first few months of the season, and then once the calendar turned to June, he’d start making up for lost time with a vengeance. In fact, Dozier has hit 41% of his career home runs in June and August. That number gets bumped up to 58% if you add in July as well. Owning Dozier in fantasy was always about enduring the early months because until last year, once you got to the heat of summer, there wasn’t a second baseman you wanted on your team more than Dozier.

Last year, though, the clock broke as the second half surge never came. Struggling through a severely bruised knee sustained early on in the season, Dozier never going again and barely put up a .215/.305/.696 line with a scant 21 home runs over 632 plate appearances. The leg and core strength that had always been the major source of his power were stolen by the knee injury. Most folks saw his age (31 at the time) and assumed this was the dreaded Father Time catching up with Dozier, which was understandable considering we didn’t really find out about the bruised knee until after the season was over.

Coming into the fantasy season this year, Dozier still garnered some respect in drafts as he went on average in the 12th round, but it was a far cry from the ADPs of the past. Then, seemingly everyone forgot to be patient because when he struggled early on in 2019, and most people jumped ship as evidenced by his current ownership numbers across the major sites:


Site Yahoo ESPN CBS
% Owned 32.0% 51.4% 51.0%


It’s not really that I’m surprised that Dozier’s ownership is that low. It’s more that I’m surprised it hasn’t started to pick up since the All-Star break. Dozier is healthy, and this is the time of the year where he makes his bread! My suspicion is that some people were staying away because of 2018, which is understandable considering there would be no way to confirm Dozier was back in business until June or July.

Many most likely dropped him either out of necessity or with the intention of picking him back up once he got going. The thing is, he did get going. In fact, to a certain degree, he’s making that summer surge better than ever, and we all missed it. This may be burying the lede, but first, I want to give a real idea of what we’re talking about in terms of Dozier’s past performance in the second half so we can put his 2019 season into the proper context and then make the determination as to whether Dozier is on track to win us some fantasy leagues.

Let’s start with his base roto numbers over the past five years broken down month by month. First up is average:



If you rule out 2018 because of the knee injury, that’s a pretty distinct pattern you can see there from year to year. Things usually get better in June, drop a bit in July, and then skyrocket in August and September. Except did you notice something about 2019? There was no drop in July in terms of average. Dozier just kept chugging along into August, which is where his average usually explodes into the lower .300s for the month.




On the other hand, his run and RBI production climbs in June and stays pretty consistent each year before spiking in August. I find this fascinating because as we know, counting stats and RBI are dependent variables because they hinge on the performance of his teammates as much as they do Dozier’s performance. Seeing such a consistent pattern from year to year for each month is very rare.



How about the home runs? This is my one area of concern. As you can see, Dozier’s home runs this season aren’t quite on the same pace as previous years, but I still think they’ll spike up in August. More on this when we get to the Statcast data. If nothing else, I feel much of Dozier’s advanced data will help shine a light on just how well he’s performing this year.

Speaking of advanced stats: What do they tell us about Dozier’s 2019 season compared with years prior? Let’s look at walk rate, strikeout rate, wOBA, and wRC+.




One of Dozier’s underrated strengths has always been in his high walk rate. It stays pretty consistent even through the lean months, and that allows those in points and OBP leagues to make it to the productive summer without tanking too hard to get there. Ditto for the strikeout rate if your leagues count strikeouts.




The wOBA and wRC+ numbers follow the same pattern as the base stats, especially when it comes to the absence of a July slump in his 2019 performance. This makes sense that it would mirror the other numbers, but it’s worth noting because it lends credence to what we were seeing above. I also would like to point out that since the start of June, Dozier has put up a 130 wRC+ with a .375 wOBA and .241 ISO. That time period also includes a .271/.383/.895 slash line with a 14.3% walk rate and nine home runs. It’s been a really solid run for Dozier. Over this stretch, here’s where he ranked among second basemen in several key categories:


6th 6th 15th 4th 7th 4th 12th 16th


If you were questioning whether Dozier was starting to turn things around this season, I’d like to think the rankings listed above give you a pretty clear answer. At a position as shallow as second base, it’s criminal to leave Dozier on the waiver wire right now, especially because all his career trends indicate we could be seeing an even bigger August. This feels pretty conclusive, but I want to really nail this argument down. So I want to take a look at his Statcast information for this year as well and see if it supports our conclusion that way we can really drive the point home.


Year BBL% Launch Angle Exit Velocity
2016 8.3% 18.4 87.5
2017 8.4% 16.5 87.5
2018 6.3% 17.8 86.7
2019 7.1% 18.4 88.5


Off the cuff, I think the big thing to notice here is that his 2019 full-season numbers so far nearly mirror his 2016 numbers, when he hit for a .268/.340/.866 with 42 home runs. Now, most of his xStats show he likely got a bit lucky in 2016, but still, it gives hope that he can put together some semblance of that prior performance. By the way: Of those 42 home runs he hit in 2016, 13 of them came in August.

This brings me to the main thing I want to look at in Dozier’s Statcast data, namely his past Junes and Augusts and compare them with his current performance in June and July. If they match up, I think we can begin to fully get excited by the possibilities August might hold for Dozier.

Let’s start with the June numbers:


Year BBL% Launch Angle Exit Velocity
2016 6.5% 17.0 87.5
2017 3.0% 16.6 86.9
2018 0.0% 20.7 87.4
2019 7.5% 23.0 90.4


This blew me away. Throughout June this year, Dozier has actually hit the ball better than has in the entirety of the three years preceding it. The results may not reflect this, but it’s hard to argue with the idea that he made better contact than he did in his breakout 2016 season. Now how about July?


Year BBL% Launch Angle Exit Velocity
2016 10.5%3 22.4 88.7
2017 6.2% 11.5 87.2
2018 9.3% 16.1 83.8
2019 7.5% 20.8 87.8


Now, this isn’t as clear cut, but you could pretty easily say that 2019’s June was likely his second-best June of the past four years of Dozier’s career, narrowly getting beaten out by 2016. Last but not least, let’s check out his past August numbers and see what what we can find.


Year BBL% Launch Angle Exit Velocity
2016 11.9% 16.4 91.1
2017 11.3% 14.8 86.0
2018 8.6% 20.0 88.4


Looking at the past three years, it’s hard to resist getting excited for what the future holds for Dozier. Even during last year, when he was injured and having the worst year of his career, he still hit the ball harder and with a better launch angle that most of his Junes and Julys. That’s how good he’s been in August throughout his career. That should give us all sorts of reasons to be picking him up left and right just to see what he has in store for us the last few months of the season.

One of the hardest parts of this piece is that I’m not really sure how to predict what exactly he does the rest of the season. I know that based on his track record we should expect good things from Dozier, but can I give more exact answer than that? Earlier I mentioned that Dozier hit 13 of his 42 HRs (31%) in 2016 in the month of August. Perhaps we can see if there is a consistent percentage of his home runs he hits in August each year and what his average was each of those years and use it to draw a conclusion about what to expect from Dozier this August.


Year % of HRs in August AVG in August
2016 31.0% .302
2017 26.5% .319
2018 19.0% .227


One of the reasons I listed Dozier’s 2018 Statcast data is it supports the idea that much of his struggles last year were because of the knee injury, especially the major drop in exit velocity. The knee injury sapped him of the leg strength and core strength necessary for hitting the ball hard, and you can see the results.

With that being said, he still hit a large percentage of his home runs in August that year, and I think it’s fair to err on the side of discounting his 2018 results and giving more weight to his healthy 2016 and 2017 seasons. If you average the three years together, you get 25.5%. Given that Dozier has already hit 16 home runs, he should hit five to six more home runs over the month of August. That level of output would have put him in the top 10 in home runs for a month among second basemen in any given month. At a position as shallow as second base, that’s huge.

If he hits somewhere around .275 with his typical 15-plus runs and 15-plus RBI, you’re talking about a player who could make a real difference for your fantasy team down the stretch. If you factor in his elite walk rate, he becomes a must-add player in points and OBP leagues.

Dozier is available in most leagues, and if you’ve got the roster spot available, I cannot recommend enough that you go get him before he starts raking and that ownership rate goes soaring through the roof. It’s just what he does every single August. There’s no good reason to miss out on it.

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@FreshMeatComm on Twitter)

Daniel Port

Daniel is a Fantasy Baseball writer, Brewer, and Theatrical Technician, located in Denver, Colorado. A lifelong fan of baseball and the Cleveland Indians since before Albert Belle tried to murder Fernando Vina, he used to tell his Mom he loved her using Sammy Sosa's home run salute, has a perfectly reasonable amount of love for Joey Votto and believes everything in life should be announced using bat flips. If you want to talk baseball, beer, or really anything at all you can find him on twitter at @DanielJPort !

5 responses to “Going Deep: Is Brian Dozier About To Wake Up?”

  1. Thomas says:

    Would you play Dozier over Muncy or Albies?

    • Daniel Port says:

      Probably not. I know Muncy struggled mightily in July but it looks like he might be back on track here in August so I’d stick with him for now unless he starts slumping again. Ditto for Albies, He’s on fire here in August having already hit two HRs and stolen three bases in August I think you have to ride the hot hand here too.

  2. Wes says:

    I just dropped Scooter Gennett for a streamer, I had been trying to have him be my everyday 2B until Mondesi comes back. I’m now filling in with Carpenter. It is a keeper/dynasty, h2h, daily lineup league with standard 5 plus OBP and SLG. Should I look to drop someone, boot Carp to the bench and roll bullDozier out there until Mondesi comes back or should I drop Carp for him, I have Goldie/Vogey at 1B and Arenado at 3B, might not need Carp anyway? Thanks!

    • Daniel Port says:

      I would do that. I think Dozier will have more power ROS and he does what Carp does best which is walk a ton so I’d say it makes a ton of sense to gamble on Dozier who I think has way more upside ROS

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