The Royals announced they have assigned six players to minor league camp, including top hitting prospect Hunter Dozier. Dozier, who hit .296 with 23 home runs across AA and AAA last year, had played well in camp, hitting .409 (9-for-22) with two home runs. The former first-round pick was a long shot to make the team, being blocked at third base by both Mike Moustakas and Cheslor Cuthbert. He has played outfield and first base in an effort to get more playing time.
The Royals also reassigned outfielder Jorge Bonifacio, who had a great camp, hitting .414 (12-for29) with three home runs. Bonifacio is blocked in right field by newly acquired outfielder Jorge Soler as well as Paulo Orlando. Yost had talked up Bonifacio as a player that could be up if an opening presents itself.
"We look at him very comfortably. If we have an injury or something, we know he is there. If we have to bring him up, we know he'll be fine, and we'll be fine. I feel like he's ready to play in the big leagues. He just needs the opportunity."
Outfielder Bubba Starling was also sent down, although he had shown signs of promise by hitting .300 with four strikeouts in 20 plate appearances. The former first-round pick struggled mightily last year, hitting .183, but already shows plus speed and defense. Infielder Ramon Torres was sent down after a strong spring where he hit .300 with a home run and showed solid defense. Also going down were catcher Cam Gallagher and pitcher Andrew Edwards.
The moves leave 45 players left in camp. Ned Yost said today that the team will carry 12 pitchers on the Opening Day roster, with Peter Moylan, Scott Alexander, Yender Caramo, and Eric Stout in the running for the last spot.