Thursday, December 29, 2011
#13 Prospect - Alex Dickerson
Dickerson was originally drafted out of high school by the Nationals in the 48th round in 2008. Three years later, in 2011, the Pirates drafted Dickerson out of Indiana University in the 3rd round. Dickerson chose to forgo his senior season as a Hoosier and signed about a month before the deadline for $380,700, which was close to slot money. By signing early, Dickerson was able to start his pro career last summer, accumulating 173 plate appearances in 41 games for the State College Spikes.
In those 173 appearances, Dickerson played well. However, that's less a revelation and more to be expected; Dickerson was a draftee out of a major college and had already turned 21 when started his pro career. Still, even though he was playing against competition that was his age or younger, Dickerson's .313/.393/.493 line was nothing to sneeze at. His peripherals were solid across the board as well, showing no red flags. Dickerson's .313 average was more than solid, although it was boosted by a (most likely) unsustainable .363 BABIP. Dickerson also walked at a 9.2% rate, a more than acceptable number, and only struck out at a 16.2% clip, also more than acceptable. That gave Dickerson an excellent .393 OBP and his .180 ISO showed his above-average or better power potential. It should be noted that most of his ISO came from doubles (16 of his 27 hits) rather than HR's (only 3), but doubles are also very useful, and despite being a college player, Dickerson is only 21 so he should still grow stronger physically as he ages.
As noted earlier, Dickerson's success is a good sign, but also to be expected, especially considering his college career. Dickerson put himself on the map as a sophomore at Indiana with an excellent season. Standing at an impressive 6'3, 225 lbs, Dickerson won the Big Ten Conference triple crown that year with a .419/.472/.805 line that included a very impressive 24 HR's. Dickerson struggled in his junior year, only managing a .367/.440/.540 line with 9 HR's. Dickerson's woes can be tied back to three main causes. First, all of NCAA changed to different metal bats, which dampen power. This could be a cause for concern with Dickerson, especially considering he only hit 3 HR's at State College. Second, Dickerson had an ailing back, which is also a concern considering he had surgery in high school to remove a bulging disk. On the plus side, Dickerson was apparently healthy while playing for the Spikes. Finally, as Indiana's best hitter, he was often pitched around, which isn't a future problem.
Dickerson is a below-average athlete who the Pirates have already moved to 1B, despite him playing the outfield at times for Indiana. At 1B, he should probably be about average, and has the size to make a good target for throws. It's also that size that the Pirates hope will allow Dickerson to become a prototypical, power bat at first base. Dickerson has plenty of pure hitting ability, which should allow him to hit for a solid or better average as he progresses. He also shows good plate discipline, that should allow him to maintain an excellent OBP if his average stays up. What is left to be seen about Dickerson is his power potential. Reports are mixed if it's only slightly above-average or true plus power potential. If it is the latter, Dickerson could have a pretty special bat, even at 1B. That's why Alex Dickerson is my #13 Pirates Prospect.