Our method for determining our top 100 Royals prospects came from an aggregate of three separate top 100 lists. These lists were compiled by three members of our writing staff: Patrick Brennan, Alex Duvall, and Drew Osborne.
4. Hunter Dozier, 3B/OF
Levels Played, 2017: A+ (Wilmington), AA (Northwest Arkansas), AAA (Omaha)
Acquired: 2013 MLB Draft, 1st Round
2017 Stats: 24 G, .226/.313/.464, 19 H, 6 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 11 R, 12 RBI, 1 SB (Omaha), 6 G, .250/.400/.313, 4 H, 1 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 4 R, 0 RBI, 0 SB (Northwest Arkansas), 3 G, .364/.462/.455, 3 H, 1 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 0 SB (Wilmington)
Time might be running out on one of the better hitters in the Royals minor league system. The 2017 season was not ideal for the 2013 1st round pick, crawling throughout most of the year with numerous injuries. In limited time, Dozier was inconsistent with the bat, but still flashed that prospect status in him. The stat that matters here is in August, the only full month that Dozier played in the 2017 season, he hit a stellar .258/.364/.500 in 20 games. This might suggest that maybe there wasn’t much lost during his injury-riddled season.
After a rollercoaster start to his minor league career, Dozier finally cemented himself among the Royals top prospects in 2016 when he slashed .296/.366/.533 in 129 games between AA and AAA.
The main key to his successful 2016 were some changes he made to his overall approach. After a 2015 season that saw him hit an ugly .213/281/.349 in 128 AA games, Dozier decided to put in the work over the offseason. He looked to simplify his stance more, work on changing his leg kick, and tried an overall more simplified approach, rather than trying to crush the ball 750 feet every time. As shown above, with an improved timing in his approach, the slashline dramatically improved, but the underlying plate discipline factors really told the story.
- 28.9% K% in 2015, 22.6% K% in 2016
- 8.6% BB% in 2015, 9.9% BB% in 2016
The swing is one of the prettier strokes in all of the system, as he combines a nice compact swing with his strength to allow power to all fields. Something that has clearly improved since he altered his approach at the plate after a disastrous 2015 campaign.
This can also be shown in form of GIF, using his strength to crush a ball to the opposite field.
Along with his strength, Dozier possesses great athletic capabilities all over the diamond. Dating back to his college career, Dozier has seen significant time at 3B, SS, 1B, RF, and LF. At the major league level, I’d expect him to at least adequately contribute at the corner infield and corner outfield positions, showing a good arm and decent speed and range.
There’s a great chance we see Hunter Dozier playing some type of role on the major league club in 2018, whether it be at third base, first base, outfield, or DH. He’ll be one of the more important players to watch next season, especially early on. He should get his fair shot of an opportunity come March.
Photo Credits: Jason Hanna—Getty Images