Prospect Dozier has hot bat as DH in AFL win
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Hunter Dozier got a day off his feet Saturday, but he made sure to pack his bat. Dozier, the No. 86 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, served as the designated hitter for Peoria and he delivered two doubles in a 6-3 victory over the Salt River Rafters.
Dozier scored twice in the victory for the Javelinas, and his two doubles raised his Arizona Fall League batting average to .184 through his first 13 games. Dozier, the fourth-ranked prospect in the Royals' farm system, generally plays third base but was happy to have a day from defense Saturday.
"Those days are always nice," said Dozier of his rare afternoon in the DH slot. "It's kind of hard to stay locked in. You've got to keep warm in the dugout, but it gives your legs a little break."
Dozier struck out in his first at-bat, but he came back later to give Peoria an insurance run. The Javelinas held a 2-0 lead when he led off the fourth inning with a double to center field. Dozier moved up to third base on a grounder and scored on a sacrifice fly to give the road team a 3-0 lead.
The game was a little tighter in his next at-bat. Dozier came up in a 3-3 game in the sixth inning, and he drilled a ground-rule double to left-center off reliever Edgar Olmos. That shot scored the go-ahead run and Dozier came home on a single and an error by Salt River shortstop Justin Bohn.
"I watched some good fastballs go by. I got behind in the count and wound up striking out," said Dozier of his strategy in his first at-bat against Salt River starter Mark Appel. "I had to change my approach. I was just hunting fastballs and I got some good fastballs to hit. And I hit them pretty well."
Jaime Schultz started for Peoria (5-10) and was charged with three earned runs. The Javelinas' bullpen -- relievers Ryne Harper, Nate Hyatt and Sam Tuivailala -- allowed just two hits to Salt River.
Appel, the top overall selection in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, came into the game with a 0.00 ERA through his first three starts of the AFL campaign. The Houston prospect's scoreless streak ended in the second inning, when Francisco Lindor tripled in one run and scored on a two-out single.
Trevor Story tripled in the first run for Salt River in the fourth inning, and Joe Sclafani and Eddie Rosario both added run-scoring singles in the game-tying fifth-inning rally. Salt River (12-4) owns the best record in the Arizona Fall League thus far and had won five straight games prior to Saturday's loss.
Peoria, meanwhile, has won two straight games after an eight-game losing streak.
"We've lost some close games," said Dozier of Peoria. "We're playing well and playing hard. It's a good group of guys right here, and those standings will turn around. We're playing pretty well."
Dozier, the eighth overall pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, was planning a bit of a baseball doubleheader Saturday. The Peoria and Salt River game ended in the afternoon, giving the 23-year-old a couple hours to prepare to watch the Royals play the Giants in the World Series.
"Absolutely," he said when asked if he'd watch Game 4 of the World Series. "It's real exciting. I'm so happy for those guys. ...They definitely deserve it. The whole organization is really fired up."