Dozier, Strahm named Royals' MLB Pipeline Prospects of Year

Dozier, Strahm named Royals' MLB Pipeline Prospects of Year

KANSAS CITY -- Third baseman Hunter Dozier and left-hander Matt Strahm have been named MLB Pipeline's Royals player and pitcher of the year.

Both should figure prominently in the Royals' future.

Strahm, 24, was a 21st-round Draft pick in 2012 and was used primarily as a starter in the Minor Leagues.

Royals' Top 30 Prospects list

But Strahm, called up by the Royals on Aug. 1, burst onto the scene in the bullpen and finished with the best ERA (1.23) of any pitcher on the team. He had a 1.09 WHIP in 21 appearances.

"He became one of the guys we could count on," manager Ned Yost said. "Just very impressive what he did."

Strahm was so effective out of the bullpen that it may change the organization's short-term view of his role.

Top 100 Prospects list

The Royals will entertain the notion of having Strahm work as a starter next Spring Training. But as the Royals attempt to shore up their bullpen, it is possible Strahm eventually will reside there.

Strahm can reach 97 mph with his fastball and possesses a wipeout slider.

"To have a power arm like that down in the 'pen is an advantage," Yost said. "But we'll see how it plays out. He has the ability to be both (a starter and reliever)."

Dozier, 25, was the team's first-round pick (eighth overall) in the 2013 Draft.

He enjoyed a breakthrough season, splitting time between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha. Combined, Dozier hit 44 doubles and 23 homers with 75 RBIs. He hit .296 with a .899 OPS.

"That was the type of season we were hoping he would have," Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo said. "Very solid year, production-wise."

In a brief September call-up, Dozier went 4-for-19 (.211) with the Royals.\

Dozier's first career hit

Dozier has been learning to play right field over the past season, and Yost said he is making progress there.

"There are some things he still needs to learn," Yost said. "He needs to position himself a little better when he comes up throwing. But those are all things you learn with experience. It'll come."

Dozier was drafted as a shortstop and switched to third base in the Minors. His path at third base is blocked at the moment by Mike Moustakas and Cheslor Cuthbert.

Cuthbert, in fact, is going to the instructional league to take repetitions at second base, as Moustakas is expected to make a full recovery from knee surgery and be ready for Spring Training.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.