Dayton Moore and the Royals have made their first pick of the 2013 draft and it definitely qualifies as a surprise. They selected Hunter Dozier from Stephen F. Austin State University. He played shortstop in college, but nearly everyone has him listed as a third base prospect. His size and speed do not fit the shortstop mold at 6’4″ and 220 pounds. Dozier hit .396/.482/.755 with 17 HRs in his Junior season this year, and also stole 12 bases. The reason this pick was a surprise is that most outlets, including Baseball America, had him as an early second round pick (they updated him to #29 at the last second though). What will be interesting to see is if this was the guy the Royals really wanted, or if it is part of a strategy to free up some money for picks down the road where they are planning to pay over slot.
If you want to read the most comprehensive scouting report I could find where no paid subscription is necessary, try this article from Bleacher Report complete with a video of Hunter’s swing. Here is an excerpt:
Due to his early success as a two-sport star (quarterback), Dozier was only lightly recruited as a baseball player and went undrafted out of high school. Three years later, the 6’4”, 220-pounder has asserted himself as one of the top college infielders in this year’s class thanks to his combination of size, athleticism and powerful right-handed bat.
His speed is the weakest tool rated as average, but his athleticism and smart base running seem to help him make up for the speed some. He uses the whole field, and has good power with plus power potential, and since he makes good contact could be a very consistent hitter. Dozier’s defense is rated very highly and his arm is big, which is why third base may make sense. I wonder if the Royals may try him at second though. If the athleticism allows him to play up and he has good hands, maybe they will give up a little bit of range to try and get a quality bat in the line-up at a weak position a la the Cardinals with Skip Schumaker. You should also note that he will be 22 in August, so he is older than you would expect from a college junior draftee.
Hunter Dozier was projected to go before the Royals second round pick, so they may have really wanted him and decided it was worth the reach. Or this is plan B after Trey Ball went off the board one pick ahead of the Royals. Either way, Dozier looks like he could be a solid major leaguer with some upside if he can develop the power potential.