Usually when you see a player go on a hot streak, the first thing people think is “when will he move up?”, regardless of whether the hot streak is a week long, a month long, or half a season. For the most part, I try to take a patient approach, preferring to see success over the long haul, rather than promoting a guy at the first sign of success. The question is, where does that line exist? Is “the long haul” a month? Is it two months? You might get two different answers from two different people on that question.
Alex Dickerson might be one of my exceptions. Dickerson was drafted in the third round of the 2011 MLB draft this year, and signed a few weeks ago. Since signing, he’s gone on to hit for a .368/.400/.632 line in his first 38 at-bats. That’s mostly fueled by an 11-for-20 performance in his last five games, with four doubles, one triple, and one homer. Normally 38 at-bats wouldn’t be nearly enough to make a judgement call on a guy. Dickerson might be a special circumstace.
In the draft, Dickerson was rated pretty highly, coming in at number 42 overall in Baseball America’s rankings. He fell to the third round, partly because of a history of back troubles. His value is primarily based on offense and power, and that area has looked strong in the start of his career. He’s starting off in the New York-Penn League, which is typically dominated by college talent. The question is, when is he ready to move up?
I wouldn’t put him in Bradenton this year, but what about West Virginia? If Dickerson would have been selected 42nd overall, no one would have questioned his eventual move to West Virginia. There’s not a huge jump in talent between the NYPL and the South Atlantic League, as most of it boils down to experience. Dickerson has shown the ability to beat up on the type of talent you’d find in the NYPL this year, with a .419/.479/.805 line in 2010, and a .367/.440/.540 line in 2011. It wouldn’t really be much of an aggressive push to move him up to West Virginia by the end of the year, and if he was taken where he was projected in the draft, there probably wouldn’t have been any question about whether he would arrive in low-A this year. Ultimately, it would be nice to see Dickerson in Bradenton at some point next year, and a promotion this year probably won’t change the approach for 2012. Still, if he keeps hitting like he has been, it would be nice to see him move up to try and prove himself at a slightly better level in the South Atlantic League.