2013 Colorado Rockies Player Review: Corey Dickerson

Doug Pensinger

When Corey Dickerson made his major league debut with the Rockies, he faced an uphill battle- notably, a lack of opportunity for daily starts.

Going in to the 2013 season, Corey Dickerson was a touted prospect because of his hitting tools. He had steadily improved his approach and his technique, and in 2012 had batted a respectable .274/.322/.504 with AA Tulsa. Still, he caught the casual fan and prospect hound alike off guard by exploding on to the scene.

When he joined the AAA club to start the 2013 season, he proceeded to reduce the Pacific Coast League down to his own private batting practice. In mid-June, he compiled a 10-game hitting streak where he was batting .579. By June 20th, he was batting .386 with 9 home runs. Of the 66 games that he had appeared in, he had multiple hits in 34 of them, and only 5 games where he did not reach base at all.

This was impossible to ignore, and forced the hand of the Rockies. On June 21st, the club reduced their bullpen by designating Logan Kensing for assignment (he would return to Colorado Springs), and called up Dickerson. On June 22nd, he delivered a fine debut performance, driving in Michael Cuddyer with his first of two doubles against the once indomitable Dan Haren. His first four hits with the major league club were all doubles.

There were certain dangers inherent in calling up Dickerson in June. The outfield was crowded, even with Dexter Fowler's departure to the disabled list. His natural position - left field - was decidedly not vacant. He had played less than half a season at the AAA level, and even then success there was bolstered by playing half of the games within the hitter friendly confines of Security Service field. Would he be able to sustain success at the major league level? How badly would he struggle in away games, at more neutral or pitcher friendly ball parks? How much would lack of consistent starts kill his momentum?

Ultimately, it was likely the lack of consistent playing time that did the most to dampen Dickerson's hot streak and reduce his success during his first trip up to the majors. Before being moved back down to AAA following Dexter Fowler's return from the DL, Dickerson appeared in 15 games but started only seven times. He went 1-for-9 with 5 strikeouts in games where he did not start.

However, it wasn't long before Dickerson was recalled. He saw a lot of playing time after Carlos Gonzalez' injured hand put him on the disabled list. With more starts and more consistent playing time came greater success, including some of his more memorable hits. There was this triple off of Luke Gregorson which sent all but the handle of his bat flying to first base. The following day, he drove in two with a double and a triple. He paid an homage to Vlad Guerrero and chased that a few days later by a walk-off triple to win this marathon game.

Overall Grade: B/B+

He finished the year with a solid .276/.316/.459 line, and lived up to his billing as a power hitter. This is good for a 99 OPS+ and a 98 wRC+, just about league average. He saw more consistent playing time despite a crowded outfield and demonstrated that he is able to hit at the major league level.

Predictions for 2014

Corey Dickerson could start the 2014 season in AAA, due to a crowded depth chart in the outfield. His competition for playing time at the major league level is Charlie Blackmon, who saw more playing time and edged past Dickerson with a line of .309/.336/.467, good for a 107 OPS+ and a 109 wRC+.

Dickerson has spent a lot of time revising his swing and has made great strides in becoming a better all-around hitter. He has historically performed much better in hitter-friendly parks, and has a rather disparate home/away split (1.003 OPS at home versus 0.576 on the road). This could reduce his value as a potential trade chip, since other teams could be dissuaded by this extreme split.

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