2 KC Royals likely to improve, 2 who probably won't, in 2023

Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
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Getting better for the KC Royals will be an uphill battle for Hunter Dozier

Not at all unlike Brad Keller, Hunter Dozier's Kansas City stock has fallen. After breaking in with the Royals for eight games in 2016 and going 4-for-19, then hitting .229 in 100 games for them two years later, he thrilled the club in 2019 when, with less than a full major league season's number of games under his belt, he tied for the big league lead in triples with 10, clubbed 26 homers to go with 29 doubles and 84 RBIs, and slashed .279/.348/.522.

But the bright light that suddenly represented Dozier's future quickly dimmed. He's now homered only four more times than he did in all of 2018 and struggled to bat .228 in 2020, .216 in 2021, and .236 last season, when only the .264 he hit in May saved him from a sub-.220 campaign.

Fair to say now is that despite the four-year, $25 million contract KC gave him before the 2021 campaign that on its surface might suggest otherwise, Dozier's story is one of regression. Like Keller, little of his most recent pair of seasons (we gave him a "D" for 2021 and the same grade for 2022) provide much hope that this campaign will be significantly, if any, better.