1.) Hunter Dozier 3B
The Kansas City Royals’ first-round selection back in 2013 out of Stephen F. Austin has had an interesting journey through the minors. When Hunter Dozier was drafted back in 2013, he was almost immediately moved from shortstop to third base, which blocked his path to the majors until Mike Moustakas became a free agent. To me, this meant that the Kansas City Royals were willing to take their time with Dozier and let him develop at his own pace until Moose departed at the end of 2017.
Well, the time is here.
In 2016, between Double-A and Triple-A, Dozier slashed a combined .296/.366/.533/.899 with 23 home runs in 486 at-bats. If we’re being perfectly honest with each other, I didn’t realize how monstrous of a season Dozier had last year until it was over. I knew he was hitting well, but holy crap. He destroyed the ball. I got really excited for the potential for Dozier to get some at-bats with Kansas City in 2017.
Unfortunately, Dozier just couldn’t stay healthy this year. He hit the ball OK across three levels in 2017 but only registered 111 total at-bats. Luckily for the Kansas City Royals, Dozier ended the year healthy and appears to be ready to go for 2018.
What about Cuthbert?
A lot of what I’ve read about the Royals seems to suggest that Cheslor Cuthbert is going to be the man to play third base in 2018. I say, not-so-fast. Dozier’s impressive 2016 season still has him near the top of most Kansas City Royals prospect lists, and the kid is still just 26. Dozier has Whit Merrifield 2.0 written all over him, in my opinion.
There’s a chance that Dozier starts out with Triple-A Omaha next season, but I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Dayton Moore felt comfortable enough with his bat to give him a chance to be on KC’s Opening Day roster.
Hunter Dozier could be a huge piece in the middle of KC’s lineup in 2018. I wouldn’t be surprised if—with a full season of at bats—Dozier hit .270 with 20 homers next year for the Royals. He’s still a guy that I am really high on. He may not be Mike Moustakas just yet, but remember that Moose didn’t have his career year until the age of 28. There’s still plenty of time for Dozier, and I think he can be a very solid addition to this Kansas City lineup in 2018.