Coming off a career year in 2014, in which he led the team in home runs, Corey Dickerson seemed primed to be a cornerstone of the Rockies offense again this year. Unfortunately for both "Christmas Morning" and the Rockies, he missed 97 games and made less than half as many trips to the plate as he had in 2014.
Just like the rest of the team, Dickerson got off to a scorching start. He hit a home run in the top of the first inning of the team's dream opening game in Milwaukee, and drove in a run in each of the first five games of the season.
However, it wasn't long before he was beset by the injuries that ultimately derailed his season. His first stint on the 15-day disabled list came in May as a result of the plantar fasciitis he had been battling since the beginning of the season. An attempted return in mid-June was cut short after five games of decent hitting due to the same injury, and Dickerson went back on the DL for over a month.
Dickerson's third stint with the team also ended abruptly after just five games, as he sustained two fractured ribs diving for a line drive in the outfield on July 30. It was an incredibly frustrating year for the 26 year old, as he wound up spending most of what should have been another huge year on the sidelines. Luckily, Dickerson was able to return before the end of the season, and he hit five more home runs in the final three weeks to add to the five he had hit in April.
Poetically, the man who hit the Rockies' first home run of 2015 in the first inning of the season also hit their last, in the final inning of the season six months later. Corey launched a three run, game tying homer in the ninth inning in San Francisco that started a seven run rally that ended the year with a bang and, as Grant Brisbee noted, knocked the Rockies down a spot in the draft order.
When he was actually on the field, Dickerson was almost as productive as he had been the year before, batting .304 with 10 home runs and 31 RBI in just 234 plate appearances. While his average was off just eight points from 2014, he took fewer walks than ever before and struck out at a slightly higher rate, resulting in an on-base percentage of .333, down 31 points from last year. His slugging was down a touch as well, resulting in a respectable OPS of .869 that was down 62 points from his breakout season.
Dickerson posted an rWAR of just 0.5 this season, despite his continued production at the plate, and the reason for this was his defense. He posted a defensive WAR of -1.0, which was slightly worse than last season in far less playing time. His UZR/150 (defensive runs above average per 150 games) has gotten worse in each of his first three seasons, going from -2.1 in 2013 to -9.5 in 2014 to -14.1 in 2015. It appears that Dickerson just can't figure out how to play left field, and that he may actually be going the opposite direction he should be. With his less than stellar arm strength, it's difficult to imagine him staying an outfielder for much longer. Whether he becomes a designated hitter in the American League or a first baseman remains to be seen.
After the 2014 season, it seemed like Corey Dickerson had the potential to be an impact player for the Rockies for a long time to come, but an up and down 2015 has cast doubt on his future here. He can still hit just about any time or place, hence his nickname "Christmas Morning", but his suspect defense and nagging injuries have left questions about whether or not he can be a good fit on the Rockies, or any National League team for that matter.