Saturday, July 13, 2013

Corey Dickerson's Cup of Coffee

The Rockies sent Corey Dickerson back to the minors after a short stint with the club. Dickerson was the hottest hitter in the PCL prior to his callup, but struggled in his short stint with the Rockies. Dickerson had always put up good numbers, but was never rated as a high prospect (he didn't even appear in Baseball America's top 30 after 2011, 12th best in the system that seemed somewhat barren after 2012).

What I find fascinating about Dickerson's time in the Majors is how many pitches he saw per plate appearance, 4.59, an absurd number. Even though he struck out in 12 of his 39 plate appearances, it didn't seem to be because of a lack of patience, as he walked 5 times as well and saw that many pitches. However, he did swing through too many pitches and swung at more pitches out of the zone. Clearly there is a lot of small sample size noise, but the past couple of years in the minors he has been mostly a low walk and low strikeout guy. This data made me really interested in his plate discipline, so first I took a look at the pitches Dickerson saw but didn't swing at:

Dickerson is a left-handed hitter, so we saw a congregation of pitches high in the zone, along with the biggest group of pitches outside off the plate. By contrast, here are the pitches Dickerson swung at in the Majors:

Obviously a lot more pitches in the zone, getting some in and low, but most of them coming on the outside of the plate (which, when we look at his average locations below, I think we will see why). It does look like he will chase some high fastballs, especially if you get them in. For a more clear look, here are the average locations of his swings and takes, along with his contact and whiffs (and the average location he has been pitched at on a whole)

Dickerson appears to be one of the more absurd low ball hitters I have ever seen. Perhaps this is why he didn't hit a homer despite playing at Coors, but he had a decent home run rate in the minors (4.7 %, though Colorado's system is flooded with hitter friendly parks), and did hit 4 doubles. His whiffs were a little lower than his average pitch seen, but it, along with all the swings at fastballs high out of the zone, made me wonder if he was having some problems with fastballs or velocity in general.

He has swung and missed at a lot of these pitches (10 out of 64), mainly missing away, low and in, or up and in. He really struggled to put these pitches in play.

The approach does seem good however, as he seems to like the low ball, so he swung at pitches that were generally lower, and made pitchers come inside on him so he could get pitches he could reach.

Here are the pitches Dickerson made contact with, labelled with what position he hit the ball to:

Not a lot of data, but he went up the middle with a lot of pitches low and away. He pulled most of the balls in, but had some problems pulling some of the pitches outside.

Overall, I think he has the approach to succeed in the Majors, but I wonder if he has the bat speed and the talent. The struggles against fastballs are really bothersome. There is probably a reason scouting sites didn't rate him highly despite the good numbers, as perhaps he has a good plan, just not the tools to execute it.

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