4. 2B Brian Dozier
The Twins fan favorite has spent a majority of his time the last few years in the leadoff role, but with Byron Buxton’s emergence, the time is now to put Brian Dozier in a place he can drive in more runs.
While Dozier is great at giving Minnesota early leads with leadoff home runs, there’s no doubt the slugging second baseman could make an even greater impact by slugging those home runs with more runners on base. Not to mention, Buxton is capable of hitting for power and with the leadoff role, he should hit plenty of leadoff home runs in his career. It’s not like he can’t start games off right for the Twins.
Getting back to Dozier though, placing him in the cleanup spot serves the Twins well, especially with players like Buxton, Mauer, and Sano ahead of him. Additionally, he’s arguably the biggest power threat on the team, even with Sano in the lineup. In turn, teams are likely to pitch to Sano in big scoring situations with Dozier on deck. On the other hand, they’d likely intentionally walk him with anyone else on deck. Although Minnesota is a deep hitting team, there’s no question the Twins want Sano to bat, especially if the game calls for a home run.
Yes, Dozier may not look like your prototypical cleanup hitter, but the numbers definitely show that he fits the role. Particularly, he’s led the team with 42 and 34 home runs, respectively, in the last two years. Heading into next season, it’d be sure fun to see him drive in more runs with those bombs and get his first 100 RBI season in the process.