Blue Rocks third baseman Hunter Dozier at the plate on April 13, 2014 (Jen Nevius).

Royals Prospect Hunter Dozier Rumored to be Promoted

According to this tweet from Hunter Dozier‘s older brother Devin, the Royals’ top third base prospect has been promoted to Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

Dozier’s brother goes on to say he isn’t sure when Hunter will debut, but I think it would make sense to see him in a Naturals’ uniform before this weekend. The Royals have not confirmed this report. As I mentioned last week, Dozier has been destroying Carolina League pitching lately, as he’s hitting .329/.427/.510 since May 1st, including a 1.066 OPS in June.

For a while, it didn’t seem like Dozier was showing much power, but that trend seems to have corrected itself recently. In the month of May, Dozier hit 7 doubles and 2 home runs in 114 plate appearances. In June, Dozier has hit 7 doubles and 2 home runs in 57 plate appearances. He’s got the same number of extra-base hits this month in exactly half as many plate appearances as he had last month. I’m a fan of numbers and extra-base hits, so that statistic is especially fun for me.

It’s clearly gotten to the point where Dozier has figured out the pitchers at this level. As a 22-year old, promoting him to Double-A certainly wouldn’t be misconstrued as rushing him, so this move makes perfect sense. Dozier is one of the organization’s top prospects, and he’s making a case to be one of the top 50 prospects in baseball. He’s making a mockery of a pitcher-friendly league, and now he’ll be moving to a hitter-friendly league in a hitter-friendly home ballpark. Needless to say, the gaudy numbers may get even gaudier.

There is the question of how the Royals will handle the Dozier/Cheslor Cuthbert situation at third base for the Naturals. The latter is still just 21 years old, though, so it would be somewhat surprising if the Royals shifted him to a part-time role, but then again, Dozier is undoubtedly ahead of Cuthbert in the organizational rankings, so he’s going to be put in the best position for his development.

There are other solutions the Royals could look to – shifting one player to another position seems logical – but that’s not terribly important right now. The important thing is that Dozier has earned a promotion to Double-A, and it appears he’s received that promotion. More than likely, he’ll finish out the year there, but his quick development could put him in a spot to make his major league debut at some point in 2015.

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  • unclejesse40

    Makes me wonder if it wouldn’t make sense to see if one of them could play right field. I have not been the huge fan of Aoki that I thought I was going to be and since he isn’t probably going to be around next year, we have issues in RF. Just a little outside the box thinking on a Tuesday morning.

    • jessanders

      We already have Bonifacio the Younger as our RF prospect. What we don’t have is anyone at 2B really in the minors. Moving Cuthbert to 2B could be a good solution as he will be 25/26 when Infante is in the last year of his contract. That gives him plenty of time to develop at the position, and his experience at 3rd would make him a good candidate for a UI position in a year or two if he is able to hit at this level.

      • jimfetterolf

        Royals have plenty of SS who will be able to play 2nd, Calixte most obvious. Dozier is progressing ahead of Cuthbert and Bonifacio so they shouldn’t be a concern.

  • dremus

    Aoki has struggled, the announcers say because of the change in leagues. Through the same date in 2012, his first year in the majors, he was hitting .293 with 9 doubles, 2 triples, 3 home runs with 5 sbs and 2 cs. This year he is hitting .259 with 11 doubles, 2 triples, 0 home runs with 7sbs and 4 cs. Production is down as far as his average but otherwise he is basically the same guy. I just don’t think he is as good as the Royals thought he was going to be. He appears to be average on defense with only a so-so arm.

  • jimfetterolf

    I agree with Jess, Dozier has the size, speed, arm, and stick to be RF and Aoki will be gone next year, so at least give him reps in the OF and some at 3rd so he can compete for a big-league spot next year. Not sure but I might promote him to Omaha instead at this point.