Projecting the KC Royals’ Opening Day starting lineup

KC Royals, Whit Merrifield (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
KC Royals, Whit Merrifield (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals
Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images /

Right field: Hunter Dozier

One of the lone bright spots in an otherwise dark 2019 season was the emergence of Hunter Dozier as a premier talent at the plate. He played 102 games the year before and had not shown much promise. The KC Royals gave him an extended look last year and it absolutely paid off.

Despite Dozier being a poor defender at third base, he more than made up for it with his year as a hitter. His approach was mature, as evidenced by his .279/.348/.522 slash, 26 home runs and 84 RBIs. Dozier also finished tied for the league lead in triples with 10 and had a 125 OPS+. Striking out 148 times was less than ideal but when combined with 55 walks, it’s a lot easier to accept.

With the addition of Franco, Dozier now moves to right field seemingly on a full-time basis. This should lead to his defense improving in the process, something that will be a welcomed sight on the Royals’ behalf.

Dozier is 28 years old. He fits the timeline of the Royals contending in the future, but only by a slim margin. He’ll be 29 in August. That means his best baseball is here now — and might not stay for long. We should see another terrific season from him and with his athletic profile, don’t be surprised to see him excel in right field as well.