KC Royals: Predicting the 2022 Opening Day lineup

(Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports) /
6 of 9
KC Royals, Hunter Dozier
(Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports) /

Batting sixth for the KC Royals: Designated hitter Hunter Dozier.

They have to be there, whispers about Hunter Dozier that undoubtedly turn to louder grumblings from time to time. And with good reason.

Kansas City suddenly signed Dozier to a contract extension last spring, an out-of-the-blue deal securing his services for four years at a cost of $25 million. His performance didn’t match the money, however—although he hit 16 home runs, he struggled to a .216 average and .285 OBP, hardly numbers worthy of his new arrangement. And the fact Dozier candidly blamed himself for mishandling and trying to play through a thumb injury doesn’t entirely excuse his performance.

So it is that Dozier and the club hope for a return this season to his form of 2019, when his 20 doubles, 10 triples, 26 homers, 84 RBIs and .279 average put him squarely on the Royals’ map for the future.

Dozier should get every chance to redeem himself. He’ll be KC’s primary designated hitter and fill in occasionally in the outfield and at third base. The Royals will try hard for a return on their investment.

Sixth in the order seems a good place for Dozier. The spot doesn’t carry as much pressure as fourth or fifth and he hit more homers (seven) and drove in more runs (25) there than in any other slot last season.