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Prospect Talk: Musings on Hunter Dozier

As a disclaimer, I’ll begin by saying that my opinion on Hunter Dozier wasn’t formed in ideal conditions  and for reasons I will outline it should be taken with a grain of salt.  I committed a few cardinal sins that further hampered my ability to glean the maximum amount of information.

First and foremost among those sins, I took my girlfriend to the game with me and promised that I wouldn’t write anything down. She had never seen a live baseball game at any level and had little to no grasp of the of the game (she is an American citizen, so I have no real explanation for this). I dutifully answered her questions and explained to her why I felt it necessary to remove my shirt whenever I caught a glimpse of Raul Adalberto Mondesi. I was eventually able to distract her with snacks and laissez faire attitude toward Twitter use at the ballpark , but my ability to completely hone in on the action on the field was severely curtailed.

The second is that I wasn’t allowed the opportunity to sit on the entire series. I’ve seen Lexington play 10-12 times this season, most of those games very early in the season, and none of them since Hunter Dozier was promoted to Low-A. Obviously, the more you see a player live, the better equipped you are to formulate an opinion on them.

Factor in the five cups of rat poison Bud Heavy I imbibed over the course of the game and you could make the case to completely toss out my opinion.

Based on all of that information, it would be rather arrogant and foolhardy for me to present my findings on Hunter Dozier as gospel, but I will share with you, the internet, my initial thoughts on Dozier and the opinion I have developed on him after double checking myself by speaking to friends and contacts like Craig Goldstein (Not a scout) and Zach Mortimer (Scout).

The first thing that jumps out at you about Hunter Dozier is his size. At 6’4″, 220 lbs, Dozier looks like he’d be more at home under center in the NFL than manning the hot corner as an everyday third baseman in MLB. Think Troy Tulowitzki, only a bit taller. He’s built solidly and his frame suggests he could add some more power to his game. As impressive and projectable as his frame looks, it’s even more of a surprise that Dozier went undrafted out of Denton (TX) High School and wound up playing shortstop at Stephen F. Austin University.

In the field, Dozier’s arm looked to be a stand out tool, but didn’t appear have the type of fast twitch athleticism required to play third base well at the major league level. I feel that it’s necessary to stress that I’m not saying Dozier is unathletic. While he’s not a burner, he’s got enough speed to swipe a bag every now and then and he’s seemed to have good situational awareness. Again, this is just based on seeing him for one night in late August, after a full college season and 60 or so games at Rookie and Low-A level. Even Mondesi looked off in the field that night, to the point that he was heckled by some idiots sitting behind me.

The batter’s box is really the place where Dozier won me over. His swing is short and compact, and while his bat speed isn’t elite, it certainly appeared to be above average. As I touched on above, he’s big and strong, and he looked particularly strong in the wrists and forearms. In conjunction with a polished approach at the plate and Royals really have something to be excited about. In 250 PA for Idaho Falls in the Rookie-level Pioneer League, Dozier walked in 14% of the time, while striking out in just 12.4% of his PAs. Granted, that’s an incredibly small sample size.

Just going off what I saw with my own eyes, Hunter Dozier looked like a future corner outfielder to me. With his arm and athleticism, he could add a lot of value defensively in the outfield. However, I didn’t read any reports or speak to anyone who expressed the same concerns about Dozier sticking at third base that I currently hold. The bat, however, looks like it will play wherever he winds up. For those of you in leagues which are yet to make players drafted in 2013 roster eligible, Hunter Dozier is someone I highly recommend targeting when you have the opportunity.

All stats courtesy of Fangraphs unless otherwise noted.

Ryan Potter also writes for Beyond the Box Score and co-hosts a weekly podcast, Born on Third, with fellow TDG contributor Craig Goldstein. You can find him on Twitter @80GradeWant.

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