Six MLB hitters with a lot to prove in 2019

Six MLB hitters with a lot to prove in 2019

Chin Music Baseball

Six MLB hitters with a lot to prove in 2019

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Oct 17, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Brian Dozier (6) hits an RBI sacrifice ground out in the seventh inning against the Milwaukee Brewers in game five of the 2018 NLCS playoff baseball series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Dozier, Free Agent

Judging from how MLB teams have changed the way they value players, Brian Dozier was already at a disadvantage heading into free agency. Pairing that with a lackluster 2018 campaign won’t help the soon-to-be 32-year-old — whether it be this winter or next winter when he likely re-enters the open market.

Dozier has been a steady source of power at the keystone for a number of years, but 2017 and 2018 were on another level. He combined for 11.2 fWAR over this span while enjoying consecutive seasons of 30-plus homers, 100-plus runs scored, 90-plus RBI, and 15-plus stolen bases.

This past year, though? He secured his fifth straight year of at least 20 homers, but slashed .215/.305/.391 with a 90 wRC+ and 0.8 fWAR — numbers that haven’t been that bad since struggling through 340 plate appearances as a rookie in 2012.

The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired him at the non-waiver trade deadline with hopes of yet another patented Dozier second-half hot streak, but it was just the opposite (99 wRC+ in first half, 72 wRC+ in second half). While his batted-ball and quality-of-contact profiles didn’t look much different than recent years, his performance on fly balls suffered.

After posting a 202 wRC+ and 195 wRC+ for that batted-ball event in 2016 and 2017, respectively, it settled in at 89 in 2018. We can see where the changes happened when diving in a little deeper, too — his hard-hit rate (36.4%), infield-fly rate (17.1%), and pull rate (31.6%) were all significant steps backward when compared to his pair of 30-plus homer campaigns.

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