KC Royals: Ten Things That Have Gone Right In 2016
By John Viril
10. Hunter Dozier And Jorge Bonifacio
Hunter Dozier and Jorge Bonifacio both fell off the prospect radar due to two seasons without much progress before 2016. Both had hit a wall at AA, and many analysts doubted their ability to progress to the major leagues despite coming into the league as highly-regarded prospects.
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2016 has been a breakthrough season for both players.
The Kansas City Royals picked third baseman Hunter Dozier no. 8 overall in the 2013 draft. He hit well in the lower minor leagues, but got stuck at AA NW Arkansas in 2014 and 2015, slashing .209/.303/.312 and .213/.281/.349.
Dozier began his third go-around in AA in 2016, but this time he dominated. This spring, Dozier hit .305/.400/.642 with 8 home runs in 95 at bats. His performance earned him a quick promotion to AAA Omaha where he has slashed .303/.365/.513 with 14 home runs and 46 RBIs.
The 24-year-old Dozier appears ready for the major leagues and is a prime candidate for a September call-up when rosters expand to 40.
Twenty-three year old corner outfielder Jorge Bonifacio was a seven-figure international signing in 2010. Bonifacio hit the bottom of top-100 lists in 2014 after advancing three levels to hit .301/.371/.441 in his first taste of AA action at age 20 in 2013.
However, he stalled in 2014 and 2015. Bonifacio slashed .230/.302/.611 in 2014 and .240/.305/.416 in 2015 as he disappeared from prospect lists. But, Bonifacio has rebounded to hit a much-improved .269/.341/.457 with 17 dingers at AAA Omaha in 2016.
The KC Royals have a horde of position players hitting free-agency after the 2017 season. Hunter Dozier and Jorge Bonifacio stand to become cheap replacements to help fill out the Kansas City Royals lineup as “second wave” prospects.
Next: No. 9