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