Brian Dozier is the best second baseman in baseball

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Trust me, this comes as a shock to me too and I’ve been writing about the Twins multiple times per week for the past dozen years.

Brian Dozier was never considered a particularly good prospect, never put up especially strong numbers in the minors, and didn’t debut for the Twins until at age 25. And he struggled initially on both sides of the ball, posting a .603 OPS while being moved from shortstop to second base as a rookie.

Fast forward three years and he’s the best second baseman in baseball, although the majority of the baseball-watching world hasn’t seemed to notice yet.

Dozier had a breakout 2014 season in which he hit 23 homers, stole 21 bases, drew 89 walks, scored 112 runs, and posted a .762 OPS in 156 games. But the Twins were terrible and his batting average was low, so it mostly went unnoticed. Now the Twins are less terrible, his batting average is a little higher, and Dozier is having an even better season with 16 homers, 58 runs scored, and an .869 OPS through 75 games.

Some people will never stop focusing on batting average, but that’s a very outdated approach to evaluating baseball players and since the beginning of last season Dozier leads all MLB second basemen in home runs, walks, and runs scored while also ranking second in OPS and RBIs. Factor in defense as well and he leads all MLB second basemen in Wins Above Replacement since the beginning of last season:

SECOND BASEMEN     WAR
Brian Dozier       7.6
Jose Altuve        6.7
Dustin Pedroia     6.5
Ian Kinsler        6.5
Dee Gordon         6.1

As a prospect Dozier was a light-hitting, contact-making shortstop afterthought, but he’s turned himself into a power-hitting, walk-drawing offensive force to emerge as the best second baseman in baseball at age 28.

Video: Cubs score run on Pirates’ appeal throw

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2019 has been one long nightmare for the Pirates. They’re in last place in the NL Central, have had multiple clubhouse fights, and can’t stop getting into bench-clearing incidents. The embarrassment continued on Sunday as the club lost 16-6 to the Cubs, suffering a three-game series sweep in Chicago.

One of those 16 runs the Pirates allowed was particularly noteworthy. In the bottom of the third inning, with the game tied at 5-5, the Cubs had runners on first and second with two outs. Tony Kemp hit a triple to right field, allowing both Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward to score to make it 7-5. The Pirates thought one of the Cubs’ base runners didn’t touch third base on their way home. Reliever Michael Feliz attempted to make an appeal throw to third base, but it was way too high for Erik González to catch, so Kemp scored easily on the error.

The Pirates lost Friday’s game to the Cubs 17-8 and Saturday’s game 14-1. They were outscored 47-15 in the three-game series. According to Baseball Reference, since 1908, the Pirates never allowed 14+ runs in three consecutive games and only did it two games in a row twice before this series, in 1949 and in 1950. The Cubs scored 14+ in three consecutive games just one other time, in 1930.