The Kansas City Royals might be 7-12 to start the 2019 season, but the bats aren’t the problem. In fact, their offense has been doing well, and Hunter Dozier has been one of the hottest hitters.
In 2013, the Kansas City Royals took Hunter Dozier with the eighth overall pick out of Stephen F. Austin. After three years in the minor leagues, Dozier finally got an opportunity in the majors in 2016, but hit just .211 in limited action.
An injury sidelined Dozier for the entire 2017 season and he was underwhelming again in 2018, batting just .229 in 388 plate appearances. That’s why 2019 was important because the Royals need to see what they have with Dozier and figure out the long-term plan at third base.
So far, Dozier is doing incredibly well at the plate for the Royals and that’s good, considering his job was all but safe a few weeks ago. In 67 plate appearances through the first 16 games, Dozier is slashing .279/.366/.672 with five home runs and ten RBI. He’s also walked eight times.
Even with Hunter Dozier’s hot hitting, there could still be some drama for the Kansas City Royals.
The “drama” is Royals prospect Kelvin Gutierrez, who is absolutely raking in AAA for the Omaha StormChasers. As of Thursday, Gutierrez was slashing .395/.500/.558 with two homers and nine RBI in 52 plate appearances in Omaha.
If Dozier got off to a slow start, his third base job could have been in jeopardy. Fortunately, Dozier’s doing well, and the best thing for Gutierrez right now is to continue giving him consistent at bats, which he wouldn’t get in Kansas City. That leads to Dozier being safe and likely being the third base option moving forward.
Now this isn’t to say that Gutierrez won’t get a chance at some point to prove himself this year. The Royals could eventually DFA Lucas Duda or Chris Owings and will likely be selling off some trade pieces this summer, paving the way for Gutierrez to get to the bigs.
More from Kansas City Royals
- This Plus-Money Bobby Witt Jr. Prop Bet is on Fire (Hit in 15/21 Games)!
- The Royals Need to Extend Bobby Witt Jr. Immediately
- DraftKings + FanDuel Kansas Promos: INSTANT $150 Bonus Plus Two Chances to Win!
- 3 Royals Players Who Won’t Be on the Roster Next Year
- LAST CHANCE to Claim $250 GUARANTEED Bonus With FanDuel and DraftKings Kansas Promos!
Anyway, back to Dozier.
Ryan Sanders of Call to the Pen wrote a great post about Dozier and how he’s finally looking like the player the Royals expected to get when they drafted him six years ago. Sanders notes that one of the most impressive parts of Dozier’s game is his improvement at the plate from a season ago.
"In addition to mashing at the plate, Dozier is also showing improved plate discipline. In 2018, Dozier struck out 28% of the time and walked 6%, which helped contribute to a batting line that was 20% below league average."
Even when Gutierrez does get to the big leagues, Dozier’s production has made it tough to take him out of the lineup. The best idea would be to put him as the designated hitter whenever Gutierrez is at third, so that both bats are in the lineup.
Make no mistake – This is a good problem for the Kansas City Royals to have, and it’s nice to finally see Hunter Dozier looking like the player we all expected to see when he was the eighth overall pick in 2013.