Ball Star

Dozier off to strong start at Lexington

Updated: 2013-08-21T01:17:28Z

By PETE GRATHOFF

The Kansas City Star

So far, so good for infielder Hunter Dozier at Class A Lexington.

On Monday night, Dozier had three hits, including two doubles, scored twice and knocked in a pair of runs as the Legends won at Greenville 5-1.

Dozier, who was promoted earlier this month from Rookie-Advanced Idaho Falls, is batting .300 with three doubles and four RBIs in six games with the Legends.

That’s admittedly a small sample size, but it comes after Dozier hit .293 with 22 doubles and six home runs in 47 games with the Chukars. He had 31 walks and 28 strikeouts.

Royals’ assistant general manager for scouting and player development J.J. Picollo said it was a no-brainer to promote Dozier, who was the team’s first-round pick in this year’s draft.

“He got off to a great start,” Picollo said. “He was among the league leaders in several categories, mainly extra base hits. I think he was third or fourth in home runs, led the league in doubles, he was up there in RBIs, he had more plate appearances than anyone else in the league.

“The most impressive thing, and certainly a clear indication that somebody is ready for another league, he walked more than he struck out. Hopefully, that’s a trend that continues, but when that’s happening, it’s a clear indication that he can handle the pitching in the league he is in and he’s ready for the next step.”

Monday’s starter Miguel Almonte, 5-8, gave up one run on six hits in five innings. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter.

Aroni Nina (one inning, two walks, one strikeout), Zeb Sneed (two innings, one walk, four strikeouts) and John Walter (one inning, two strikeouts) combined on four hitless innings.

Walter continued his dominating season at Lexington where he has appeared in 15 games and thrown 19 2/3 scoreless innings. Yep, zero runs, which equates to an “Animal House” ERA of 0.00. He has 22 strikeouts and two walks.

The 6-foot-5, 225-pound right-hander was a 29th round draft pick in 2012.

“John was a later pick last year out of Penn State, was a stopper in (Rookie) Burlington and was a big part of their playoff run that ended in a tough loss,” Picollo said. “He’s really throwing the ball exceptionally well.

“He’s not overpowering. His fastball is above average, but there’s a lot of deception. Hitters just don’t see the ball well off of him and he keeps the ball down and he’s able to locate. He’s been a pretty consistent performer for us there.”

Class AAA Omaha

Yordano Ventura gave up three runs in five innings and left with a lead, but Memphis rallied for a 7-4 victory against the Storm Chasers.

Ventura allowed seven hits, walked three and struck out seven. He threw 101 pitches, including 61 for strikes.

Omaha led 4-3 after five innings when Everett Teaford relieved. But Teaford, 4-5, was hit hard, allowing four runs on four hits in his one inning of work.

Catcher Brett Hayes and first baseman Ben Broussard each had two hits, while Gorkys Hernandez hit a solo homer.

Class A-Advanced Wilmington

Left-hander Sam Selman gave up four runs on three hits and five walks in 2 2/3 innings as the Blue Rocks fell 5-3 to Potomac.

Third baseman Daniel Mateo hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning. Center fielder Ethan Chapman had three hits, while Mateo, left fielder Tim Ferguson and first baseman Dennis Raben each had two hits.

Rookie-Advanced Idaho Falls

Jake Junis was roughed up to the tune of seven runs (six earned) on nine hits in 2 1/3 innings in the Chukars’ 11-4 loss to Great Falls.

Alexis Rivera, Daniel Rockett and Elier Hernandez each had two hits for Idaho Falls, which trailed 10-0 in the top of the fifth inning.

Rookie Burlington

Reliever Torey Deshazier gave up two runs on four hits and took the loss as the Royals fell 6-5 to Kingsport.

Starter Andres Machado gave up four runs on seven hits over four innings. He walked two and struck out one.

Second baseman Kevin Kuntz, who played at Kansas and is the son of Royals coach Rusty Kuntz, was three for three with two runs scored. In his last five games, Kuntz is six for his last 16 (.375). Alfredo Escalera-Maldonado had two hits, including a double, scored a run and collected two RBIs.

To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to pgrathoff@kcstar.com. Follow his updates at twitter.com/pgrathoff

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