Rock Mining Week 11: Corey Dickerson's rise

USA TODAY Sports

Now that the dust has settled from a fairly impressive Rockies' draft, here is a look at a promising eighth round pick from the 2010 draft.

Corey Dickerson's rise in Colorado's minor league system has been both meteoric and somewhat unexpected. While rising up to number seven on this offseason's PURPs list, it was the first time he was ranked in the top five of Rockies' outfielder prospects here on purple row and he still is below David Dahl and Kyle Parker.

After last season where he was a mid-season call-up from Modesto to Tulsa, all Corey has done in Colorado Springs is rake. He leads the Pacific Coast League in average and slugging posting a .374/.415/.646 avg/obp/slg stat line. He also leads all of AAA with twelve triples and maybe his worst offensive statistic this year is the number of times he has been caught stealing (ten of sixteen tries). Not bad for a guy who wasn't an everyday starter for the team at the beginning of the season.

The knock on any good batter in the PCL though is that the numbers are inflated by altitude. While this may be helping Corey, he has hit at every level of the Rockies system. His 2012 half season at Tulsa was the only level where his OPS was below .980, and it was still a respectable .826. But to try and put his numbers in proper perspective I have decided to compare him to other Rockies' outfield prospects in the past ten years.

While not every Rockie has spent time in AAA, a surprising number of outfield prospects have stopped through Colorado Springs on their way to Denver. Here are Corey's numbers for this year in Colorado Springs as compared to some of them at the same age range:

Name Age Plate Appearances Average OBP SLG OPS
Corey Dickerson 24 277 .374 .415 .646 1.061
Dexter Fowler 24 123 .340 .435 .566 1.002
Carlos Gonzalez 23 214 .339 .418 .630 1.048
Seth Smith 24 490 .317 .381 .528 .909
Ryan Spilborghs 25 249 .339 .405 .551 .955

Here is how he and the aforementioned Kyle Parker compare at same age level in Tulsa:

Name Year Plate Appearances Average OBP SLG OPS
Corey Dickerson 2012 289 .274 .322 .504 .826
Kyle Parker 2013 240 .270 .321 .459 .780

Finally a somewhat distorted comparison to David Dahl in their short season debuts for the Colorado farm system. This should show how talented David is, as he plays better defense and was 18 years old versus Dickerson's 21.

Name Age Plate Appearances Average OBP SLG OPS
Corey Dickerson 21 308 .348 .412 .634 1.046
David Dahl 18 306 .379 .423 .625 1.048

Obviously, Dahl has much more upside as he is much younger, but Dickerson has been able to go through every level of the Rockies system and be one of the top offensive players on his team each year. This week, Colorado Springs moved Corey from the lead off position to the number three spot in the batting order after Tyler Colvin was called up. In his three games hitting in the third spot, Corey has gone seven for eight with four RBIs and four walks. Obviously a very small sample size but he is also showing the ability to hit in multiple spots in the lineup.

One more comparison to show is the AAA outfielders for the Rockies this season Tyler Colvin is with the big league team right now and Charlie Blackmon has already spent time with the Rockies, so it is fair to see how he has hit versus them:

Name Age Plate Appearances Average OBP SLG OPS
Corey Dickerson 24 277 .374 .415 .646 1.061
Tyler Colvin 27 226 .293 .396 .518 .914
Charlie Blackmon 26 204 .295 .389 .445 .834

Both Tyler and Charlie have been graded as plus defenders, which has been one knock on Corey and may be one reason that he has been kept in AAA. Hopefully this time in the minors will give him time to perfect his craft like it apparently did for Nolan Arenado. Another reason to keep him in Colorado Springs is that the outfield had been crowded in Denver. Giving Corey the opportunity to hit every day instead of be a bench player provides him the chance to continue to grow. He is also yet another left handed bat in the outfield and so not quite as valuable this year as he probably will become next year when Cuddyer and/or Colvin should spend more time at first base.

Hopefully this has given you some more information about a up and coming Rockies prospect. While he was not a high draft pick, Corey Dickerson has shown ability and is one of the reasons that the Colorado farm system is getting better reviews of late. After all, top picks are supposed to succeed, its the ability of the scouts to find talent and the coaches ability to develop it that shows the strength of the organization. On to some notes from the major league team this week:

The Good - Tyler Colvin's return

He was an inauspicious zero for two in his first game back last Saturday, but since then Tyler has been a welcome contribution. He has a hit in all but one game that he has started and overall is batting .278/.316/.611 in his seven games with the Rockies, including two home runs. When the team gets back to healthy, he will be an excellent platoon option or pinch hitter for Walt Weiss, as he has an OPS of 1.455 against right handers while struggling against southpaws with a .250 OPS.

The Bad - bullpen troubles

The Rockies had two winnable games slip away from them this week due to the bullpen not being able to keep the lead. Some of this can be blamed on the 'pen being overworked, but my thought is that roles need to be a bit more clearly defined. Someone has to be given the job to end a threatening inning. The Rockies have continued trying new people to come in during the middle of an inning where the starter falters and it hasn't led to good results.

The Ugly - Thursday the 13th

Thursday was the most frightening day of the year for Rockies fans. Troy Tulowitzki was lost for four to six weeks, both Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez were taken out of the game to get x-rays, and the winning run was scored after two balks were called on Wilton Lopez. Looking ahead, the Rockies play Arizona in September on Friday the 13th and I hope that they will have enough late season call-ups to not have to play a single regular that day. I can't imagine how much worse a Friday version could be over Thursday the 13th.

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