It wasn't quite as shocking as Prince Fielder making an appearance in ESPN The Magazine's "The Body" issue, but Dozier's selection comes as a bit of a surprise, given his relatively humble beginnings as an eighth-round pick out of the University of Southern Mississippi.
In 2011, Dozier was listed by Baseball America as the Twins' No. 30 prospect, and he was praised for his fundamentally sound approach at the plate and his ability to hit to all fields. "His biggest weakness is his lack of power," BA wrote, "as he doesn't project to hit more than five to 10 homers annually."
Dozier hit all of 16 homers in 1,613 minor league plate appearances, but he's found his power stroke in Minnesota. Since June 1, 2013, he ranks 20th in the majors with 32 home runs. Seven players who trail him, with 31 homers each: Freddie Freeman, Anthony Rizzo, Adrian Beltre, Jay Bruce, Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes and Troy Tulowitzki.
Against all odds, Dozier will try to make a statement before a supportive crowd in the Twin Cities next week. Fortunately for him, no one at the Home Run Derby cares how far they go. It all comes down to how many.