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Tribune file photo Hunter Dozier makes a throw to first during the 2012 season as a member of the Willmar Stingers. Dozier was selected eighth overall by the Kansas City Royals in the 2013 MLB draft on Thursday.

Kansas City selects former Stinger Dozier eighth overall

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WILLMAR — Hunter Dozier has gone from the Northwoods League to a Top 10 draft pick in less than a year.

The Kansas City Royals selected the former Willmar Stingers shortstop with the eighth overall pick in the 2013 MLB draft on Thursday.

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He became the highest pick in Stingers’ history, besting Jordan Smith’s ninth-round selection to the Cleveland Indians in 2011.

Dozier said the Royals had some discussions with him before the draft.

“We were talking back and forth,” he said. “We were talking about

numbers and different deals that could play out. When they got on the clock I knew it was a possibility and they called me and asked if I would take this deal, and I said yes.”

Teams often negotiate signing bonuses with their picks, but MLB’s slot value for eighth overall is $3,137,800.

Dozier was a Northwoods League All Star for the Stingers in 2012 when he hit .257 with 6 home runs and 40 RBIs. He broke out this season for Stephen F. Austin, becoming one of the best hitters in Division I with a .396 average, .482 on-base percentage and .755 slugging percentage. He was tied for fifth in the nation with 17 home runs.

Dozier also easily surpassed Stephen F. Austin’s previous highest-drafted player, Bryson Myles, who went in the sixth round in 2011, also to the Indians.

His tenure in Willmar was short compared to his time at Denton (Texas) High School and Stephen F. Austin, but he said his Northwoods League experience was a positive one.

“It was a great place to play summer ball,” Dozier said. “I give a lot of credit to that organization, the team I played with and the coaches. I got a lot of at bats and playing time and just grew as a player.”

The pick was somewhat of a surprise, as most experts had Dozier projected to go in the late first round or early second round. Baseball America had him tabbed as the No. 39 player in the nation. They compared him to a Jeff Kent-type of player who could hit 20 to 25 home runs in the big leagues, though he may need to switch positions to third base.

Dozier said he’s not sure what team he will be assigned to but he’s eager to get started in the pros.

“It’s been crazy, very exciting,” he said. “I’m ready to make a deal and get up there as soon as I can.”

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Ben Brewster

Ben Brewster covers the Willmar Stingers and other area sports, as well as laying out the daily sports section cover for the West Central Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @benbrewster.

(320) 214-4332
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