Many experts predicted Stephen F. Austin shortstop and former Denton Bronco Hunter Dozier was going to be drafted. It was only a matter of when.
That matter was resolved faster than almost anybody had anticipated.
On Thursday night, the Kansas City Royals selected Dozier with the eighth overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft.
With the selection, Dozier becomes the highest Denton ISD prospect and highest SFA player to be drafted. The new Royal said he has agreed to terms with Kansas City and will finalize the deal in the upcoming days.
“Honestly, it’s beyond my wildest dreams,” Dozier said. “I’ve worked as hard as I can to get to this point, and you know, a lot of people helped me and God looked down on me and it’s been amazing. It’s hard to describe it right now.”
According to Baseball America, the bonus amount awarded to the Royals’ first pick is $3,137,800. The Royals have $8,290,700 to spend in bonus money for their picks in their first 10 rounds without incurring a fine from the commissioner’s office.
Dozier declined to say whether the deal he agreed to had a bonus below or above the slotted amount for the pick.
In his junior year, Dozier finished with a batting average of .396, 17 home runs and 52 RBIs.
Dozier was named the Southland Conference’s player of the year and hitter of the year.
The previous highest drafted DISD players were two Ryan products, Javy Guerra and Curtis Petersen. Guerra was drafted in the fourth round by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004, while Petersen was drafted in the fourth round by the Florida Marlins in 2008.
The last Bronco to be drafted was Abel Baker, who went to the Los Angeles Angels in the seventh round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
When the Royals were on the clock Thursday, Dozier was with his family and received a call from his adviser. Dozier was asked if he would accept a deal from Kansas City. When Dozier agreed, he awaited a return phone call for more information.
But that phone call was beaten out by commissioner Bud Selig, who announced Dozier’s selection from the MLB Network studios in Seacaucus, N.J., to a national television audience.
Dozier’s room erupted into cheers and hugs as the selection was confirmed and the journey for the former second-team all-district selection — in his senior year of high school — continued.
By the time Denton head coach Glen Harrison tuned in to watch Dozier’s selection, he was two picks too late.
Harrison, who was an assistant coach when Dozier was a Bronco, said kids like Dozier don’t come around very often.
“Everybody’s proud that has Denton associated with it,” Harrison said. “Whether you’re from Ryan or from Guyer, they’ve either played with him or against him and they knew how talented he was, whether it was football or baseball.”
Dozier was a quarterback at Denton. As for his position within the Royals organization, Dozier said he wasn’t told where he was going to play in the field.
No matter where he plays or if he ever plays, Dozier for now will carry the distinction of being the highest drafted prospect in city history.
“It’s a huge honor, definitely, with the kids that have come out of Denton,” Dozier said. “Getting drafted is the first part. Now I just have to go prove to everyone why I got drafted at No. 8 and just work as hard as I can and start reaching my next goals.”