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Prospect Notes: Hunter Dozier, D.J. Peterson

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Ed Zurga

Two of the more powerful bats available in the 2013 draft came from the college ranks: Hunter Dozier, drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the first round out of Stephen F. Austin State University, and D.J. Peterson, selected by the Seattle Mariners in the first round from the University of New Mexico. Here's an update on where they stand.

Hunter Dozier: Dozier had a strong first half for High-A Wilmington in the Carolina League, hitting .295/.397/.429 with 35 walks and 56 strikeouts in 224 at-bats over 66 games. That comes out to a wRC+ of 136. He got off to a slow start in April (.628 OPS) but heated up in May (.867) and has been blistering in June (1.066). Reports indicate solid performance on defense at third base. Twitter rumors indicate that Hunter had been promoted to Double-A, but as far as I can tell that isn't official yet. I'm assuming it will be later today.

The promotion is deserved and my guess is that Dozier may actually show more home run power at Northwest Arkansas and in the Texas League than he did at Wilmington, which is a tough place to hit. He had a .759 OPS at home and .899 on the road, fitting well with the power-killing reputation of that park.

D.J. Peterson: Like Dozier, Peterson is a right-handed power hitter with a good first half in High-A under his belt. However, his circumstances were entirely different: he is playing at High Desert in the California League, which is about as opposite from Wilmington as you can get. He's hitting .315/.366/.575 with 15 homers, 19 walks, and 61 strikeouts in 254 at-bats over 60 games.

Peterson has an extremely sharp home/road split, posting a 1.108 in his friendly home park but just .785 on the road. Compared to Dozier, Peterson has a higher wRC+ at 144, but his BB/K/PA ratio is weaker. He's also considerably less refined on defense and there's a much higher risk that he'll have to move to first base. The consensus is that Dozier can stay at third. His range is better and his footwork more reliable, giving the Royal a more valuable defensive profile than the Mariner.

Peterson will continue destroying the Cal League and on his own merits a promotion to Double-A could come at any time. Roster considerations at Double-A Jackson are a factor, however, given that Generals third baseman Patrick Kivlehan is a good prospect in his own right and having a fine season. Mickey Wiswall and Dan Paolini have been splitting the playing time at first base but are much more marginal as prospects, so if Peterson moves up he could snare at-bats from them.