KC Royals: 2 biggest surprises, 2 biggest busts of 2021

(Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals, Hunter Dozier
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A player who signed a lucrative extension is struggling for the KC Royals.

This has not been the kind of season Hunter Dozier, or the Royals, anticipated when the club suddenly gave him a reported four-year, $25 million contract extension over the winter. The magnitude of the pay increase—he’d signed a one-year, $2.72 million deal in December, a move that enabled player and franchise to avoid arbitration—signaled the Royals expected great things from their third baseman.

But great things aren’t what Dozier has accomplished. Through Tuesday, his .159/.230/.371 line reflects the struggle his 2021 has been. He’s hitting .150 (8-for-53) with five RBIs over his last 15 games; although he has seven home runs, four of them came in the first 23 of his 43 games.

Some will argue the concussion Dozier suffered last month is to blame. Yes, he did miss two weeks, but he was hitting .139 when the injury occurred.

Is Dozier pressing too much after signing his extension, pushing and trying too hard to justify the money the Royals decided he’s worth? Only he knows, and only he can change the situation if that’s what underlies his difficulties at the plate.

Related Story. Dozier is under the microscope. light

If Monday’s game against the Angels is any indication, there may be light at the end of Dozier’s tunnel. He’d hit in four straight games until last Saturday; he went 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI Monday and looked just fine doing it.

Whether Dozier turns disappointment into surprise this season remains to be seen.