COREY DICKERSON, CORNER OUTFIELDER
|Born: May 22, 1989
Drafted: 8th round, 260th overall pick, 2010 (Rockies)
How Acquired: Trade (from Rays for Daniel Hudson and Tristan Gray)
College: Meridian CC
Agents: Excel Sports Management
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Dickerson fits a profile in which the Pirates showed virtually no interest prior to 2018: He’s a corner outfielder with modest speed and on-base ability whose main asset is power. He put up a lot of huge numbers in the minors and with Colorado, although he was helped substantially by very friendly hitting environments. As a major leaguer, he’s had high but not alarming K rates and low walk rates. In Colorado, he had good OBPs thanks to high BABIPs, which stopped after he was traded to Tampa Bay before the 2016 season. Prior to 2017, he didn’t face LHPs very much and didn’t hit them well when he did. In 2017, though, he got more opportunities against lefties and had no platoon split. He’s played mainly in left during his career, with a little time in center. UZR saw him as a subpar defender while he was in Colorado, but it’s considered him above average the last two years. His arm and speed are probably both a little below average. The Pirates acquired him in a very favorable trade after Tampa Bay had surprisingly designated him for assignment. The move appeared to be a cost-cutting one on the Rays’ part.
Dickerson dominated the advanced rookie Pioneer League in his debut, although he was probably helped a little by the fact that it’s a hitters league. Baseball America rated Dickerson the Rockies’ 29th best prospect after the season.
In full season ball, Dickerson again put up huge power numbers, but his totals were suspect because his home park had a short right field. He hit 24 of his 32 HRs at home and had an OPS of 1.262, compared to .642 on the road. Dickerson’s K rate increased to better than one every four ABs.
Dickerson put up good numbers in the high-offense California League, earning a mid-season promotion. In AA, he continued to hit well, although with shaky plate discipline. BA rated him the Rockies’ 13th best prospect after the season.
In AAA, Dickerson continued to put up big numbers, although he was again playing in a high-offense environment, this time at Colorado Springs in the Pacific Coast League. The Rockies called him up in June and he stayed in the majors the rest of the year, except for two weeks in July. He hit well in the majors, with good power. Coors Field helped him immensely; he had an OPS of 1.003 at home and .576 on the road. He seldom faced LHPs in the majors.
Except for a three-game stretch near the beginning of the season, Dickerson served as the Rockies’ starting left fielder, although he again didn’t play much against LHPs. He put up big numbers, with Coors once again playing a significant role; his OPS was 1.098 at home and .735 on the road.
Dickerson’s season was disrupted by injuries that limited him to 65 games. He spent four separate stints on the disabled list, two for plantar fasciitis and two for a fractured rib. When he was able to play, he continued to hit well, although his walk rate dropped from marginal to very low. His home/road split remained extreme; 1.143 at home, .724 on the road. The Rockies traded Dickerson to the Rays in the off-season.
Dickerson’s hitting dropped off in Tampa, although it was mainly in the form of a much lower BABIP. Dickerson had had BABIPs mostly in the mid-.300s in Colorado, but it dropped to .285 in Tampa. His isolated power remained about what it had been before.
Dickerson had a huge first half, batting 312/355/548 and making the All-Star team. He was helped by a .361 BABIP. He came back to earth in the second half with a 241/282/408 line and a .302 BABIP. He may have been impacted in the second half by opponents discovering that he was more likely to swing and miss at high four-seam fastballs than any other hitter in MLB. His season overall was helped by his showing against LHPs, against whom he played regularly for the first time. He had almost no platoon split, with an OPS of .820 against LHPs and .813 against RHPs.
Dickerson had a very interesting season, as he turned out to be a very different player from the one people thought he’d be. As a hitter, he went from a guy who rarely walked, struck out a lot, couldn’t hit a high fastball, and hit home runs, to a guy who still rarely walked, but also didn’t strike out much, hit high fastballs a little, and hit for average, and doubles and triples, with a modest HR total. Oddly, despite the extensive changes in his profile as a hitter, his OPS+ was virtually identical to his figures in 2015 and 2017. Defensively, Dickerson came to the Pirates with the reputation of a guy who should be a DH, which in fact is how the Rays often used him. This was especially a concern given the expansive left field at PNC Park. Instead, he was one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball in 2018, with excellent range and a decent arm, and won a Gold Glove.
Dickerson had some extreme ups and downs at the plate. His monthly OPS:
Dickerson’s huge July was a major factor in the Pirates’ 17-9 record that month, which included an 11-game winning streak. His hot streak ended, though, with a hamstring injury. When he returned in early August, he went into a dismal slump. He rebounded in September. The Pirates platooned him some of the time, starting him 22 times in their 48 games against left-handed starters. He had a moderate platoon split, with an OPS of .827 against RHPs and .735 against LHPs.
Dickerson will be in his final year of arbitration in 2019. He’ll obviously be due a significant salary increase. He had an impressive season, especially considering how much his possibly-injury-influenced August numbers hurt his overall numbers.
|Signing Bonus: $125,000
MiLB Debut: 2010
MLB Debut: 6/22/2013
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2019
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 6/21/2013
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 5.101
|June 11, 2009: Drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 29th round, 871st overall pick.
June 8, 2010: Drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 8th round, 260th overall pick; signed on June 9.
June 21, 2013: Contract purchased by the Colorado Rockies.
January 28, 2016: Traded by the Colorado Rockies with Kevin Padlo to the Tampa Bay Rays for Jake McGee and German Marquez.
February 17, 2017: Designated for assignment by the Tampa Bay Rays.
February 22, 2018: Traded by the Tampa Bay Rays to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Daniel Hudson, Tristan Gray and $1,000,000.