Monday, January 28, 2013

#13 Pirates Prospect - Alex Dickerson

Buried Treasure Top 30 Prospects
#13 - Alex Dickerson

Measurables: 6'3, 225
Bats: L, Throws: L

Position: 1B
Acquired: 3rd Round (91st overall), 2011
Bonus: $380,700
DOB: 5/26/1990
Buried Treasure 2012 Top 20: #13




2011

Until this past draft class, Neal Huntington had a tradition going in the third round of the draft each June.  For four years in a row, the Pirates third round pick was a college positional player.  Alex Dickerson was the last player selected in that streak.  The Indiana University outfielder - the Pirates immediately made a necessary move and shifted him to first base - was part of a ridiculously exciting draft class as the consensus top 50 draft prospect was gobbled up by the Pirates with the 91st overall pick.  Dickerson signed fairly quickly - in mid July - for slot money.  That allowed him to get into several games for the State College Spikes.

At State College, Dickerson performed well. He received 173 plate appearances in 41 games and posted a strong .313/.393/.493 line in those plate appearances. In terms of his hit tool, Dickerson hit .313, although a .364 BABIP most likely provided him a bit of luck.  In terms of power production, Dickerson slugged 3 home runs and put up a .180 ISO.  In the plate discipline category, Dickerson walked a strong 9.2% of the time while only striking out 16.2% of the time.  Ultimately, as a college player picked in a high round, Dickerson should have done well in short season ball, so his performance in 2011 told little about his prospect status.  2012 would tell more as Dickerson was slated to start in Bradenton.

2012

2012 started with Dickerson finding himself in the Florida State League after skipping a level.  That made sense considering Dickerson's profile as an advanced college bat.  For Bradenton, Dickerson had another strong season, although it was far from prolific.  He played nearly a full minor league season, participating in 129 games.  In those games, Dickerson took 541 plate appearances.  The result was a .293/.351/.449 tripleslash.  Dickerson again showed a good hit tool and his BABIP wasn't incredibly favorable in his favor, bringing his average into question.  In addition, Dickerson again had acceptable plate discipline ratios, although his walk rate did drop a bit to 7.2%.  His strikeout rate rose a small amount to 17.2%.

The issue with Dickerson was his power. He did hit 13 home runs, but his ISO was only .156.  It is worth nothing that in the FSL, Dickerson was tied for 7th in home runs on the year and he lead his own team, the Bradenton Marauders in home runs as well.  In fact, he was the only player on the team to reach double-digits in dingers.  Still, over the course of nearly 500 plate appearances, Dickerson's home run, while decent, was nothing special.  At this point, he's relegated to first base -  he's able to handle himself defensively just fine - and so his bat will need to be excellent to stick in the major leagues.  A big aspect of that is power and Dickerson's power is in question.  He'll turn 23 in May and he's already pretty filled out, so a significant power increase would be unexpected.  Still, he's got the chance for a modest increase as he matures further.  Plus, his left-handed swing will play well in PNC park and Dickerson also adds a strong ability to hit for average and has the plate discipline that suggests he could put high OBP numbers.  It's doubtful Dickerson will ever be an all-star at this point, but with slight improvements in each aspect of his game, he could be a valuable major league starter at first base and sooner rather than later.

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