|Brian Dozier turns a double play Sunday over the sliding|
Drew Butera, a former teammate.
(Quick prediction: He won't win.)
Dozier is having a fine season, to be sure. He leads the majors in runs scored, he's already approaching a career high in doubles, game-winning homer Monday night in extra innings, yada yada yada. I have no problem with the fans voting Houston's Jose Altuve in as the starter -- he hit .341 last season, led the league in batting average, hits and steals, and is the lead figure on the team with the best record in the American League. And as good a season as Dozier is having, Jason Kipnis of Cleveland is having a better one.
Dozier is unique in the Twins lineup in this respect: Of all the returning position players, he's the only one hitting better this year than last. Batting average up slightly, slugging percentage up sharply -- almost a hundred points higher than in 2013 or 2014 -- but with a lower walk rate, his on base percentage thus far has receded slightly in the first half.
He's 28 now, and signed through 2018. The Twins clearly regard him as a cornerstone piece. Which, I think, turns Jorge Polanco into a trade chip. Polanco, just elevated to Triple A, has been playing mostly shortstop the past couple of seasons, but my sense remains that he's a future second baseman -- a good second baseman. That's something to watch this month as the Twins look to shore up their obvious flaws. They shouldn't give Polanco away by any means, but if Dozier's the second baseman, Polanco is more valuable traded.