June 9, 2014
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - What better way is there to make your first Major League Baseball All-Star game than to do it at your own ballpark.
That could be exactly what happens for Brian Dozier, the former Southern Miss baseball standout (2006-09) and current Minnesota Twin second baseman, after enjoying the best start of his three-year MLB career.
The year's mid-summer classic takes place Tuesday, July 15, at Target Field, the home of the Twins. It is the first time that the organization has held this event in their five-year home in downtown Minneapolis and the first time the Twin Cities will have played host to the event since 1985.
And Dozier has put up the type of numbers to be one of those players come July.
Heading into Monday night's action, Dozier ranks tied for first in the American League in runs scored with 52, along with Josh Donaldson of the Oakland Athletics, and is third in walks with 40. The Fulton, Miss., native, who has hit either in the leadoff or No. 2 spot in the order all season for the Twins, ranks tied for seventh in the AL in stolen bases (13) and tied for 10th in home runs with 12.
Over the last two seasons, Dozier has collected a total of 30 homers, which is the most by an AL second baseman over that span, one better than current Seattle Mariner Robinson Cano. His 18 home runs during the 2013 campaign ranks as the most homers by a Twin second baseman in a season.
In 2014, Dozier is the only player on the club to start in all 61 games. His home run total is first on the club and his RBI total of 30 ranks second. Dozier has added 11 doubles for a .440 slugging percentage.
In addition to his offensive prowess, his defense has become a regular among the highlight reels on the many national television networks that cover the sport on a nightly basis. He currently ranks sixth among AL second basemen in fielding percentage at .987, committing just six errors in 304 chances and have been a part of 41 double plays.
"With the start he's gotten off to, he should be the starting second baseman," said teammate Kurt Suzuki to Fox Sports North's Tyler Mason recently, who is also vying for a spot on the All-Star roster at catcher. "His play explains it. Not just his hitting, but he goes out there and plays Gold Glove-caliber defense out there."
In just three years with the big club, Dozier - the 2011 Twins Minor League Player of the Year - has become one of the more popular players in the Twin Cities.
For those wishing to help reward Dozier for his great season so far and assist him in making his first All-Star game, they can vote for him at mlb.com (#VoteTwins).
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