Top Performers

Alex Dickerson is the Pirates Prospects Player of the Month For July

Alex Dickerson is the Pirates Prospects Player of the Month For July

Each week we run our “Top Performers” series, looking at the best pitchers and hitters from the previous week. This year we will also be recapping each month in order to award the Pitcher and Player of the month. Below are the top Runs Created* totals in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system from the month of May. The rankings include every hitter who had an at-bat for a Pirates’ minor league affiliate, not including DSL teams, and with no limitations on whether the hitter has prospect eligibility. Players who spent time at different levels are counted multiple times, once for each level, rather than combining their stats.

*Runs Created is a stat created by Bill James used to estimate how many runs an individual contributes to his team. There are many formulas for runs created. For these purposes the basic formula is used. That formula is ((H + BB) * (1B + (2*2B) + (3*3B) + (4*HR))) / (AB + BB).


Player of the Month

Alex Dickerson is the Pirates Prospects Player of the Month for July.

Alex Dickerson is the Pirates Prospects Player of the Month for July.

Alex Dickerson had a huge month of July, hitting for a .413/.440/.683 line with six homers in 104 at-bats. Dickerson was the top hitter in two of the four weeks in July, and his performance was enough to earn him the Pirates Prospects Player of the Month award for the month of July.

Dickerson got off to a slow start this season in Altoona. In the month of April he hit for a .185/.241/.346 line in 81 at-bats. He started to heat up in May, hitting for a .264/.312/.417 line in 72 at-bats. However, it wasn’t until June that he started to break out. In the months of June and July, Dickerson combined for a .361/.397/.629 line in 194 at-bats, with 19 doubles and 11 homers. He hasn’t been drawing a lot of walks, with just a 2.9% walk rate, but he’s also not striking out a lot, with a 15.5% strikeout rate.

The added power and the ability to hit for average are both great to see. The Pirates will need to see more of that from Dickerson before penciling him in to a starter role in the majors down the line. He had similar results last year in Bradenton, starting off slow, then heating up in June and July, only to fade a bit in August. One issue for Dickerson to work on going forward is adding more walks. To put his recent walk rates in perspective, Starling Marte had a 3.8% walk rate in Double-A.

The important thing is that Dickerson is hitting, and hitting for power. He didn’t do a great job of that last year in high-A, despite being drafted for his bat and power potential. It’s good to see him putting up results on that front. The Pirates have a long-term hole open at first base in the majors, and with this continued success, and a few small adjustments, Dickerson could be the guy to fill that spot.

The Other Candidates

No one really came close to Dickerson, but there were some other notable hitting performances to point out. Harold Ramirez had a huge month for Jamestown, hitting for a .384/.440/.527 line in 112 at-bats, with six doubles, two triples, and two homers.

Adam Frazier also had a big month for Jamestown, hitting for a .354/.440/.394 line in 99 at-bats. Frazier was mostly a singles hitter this month, with just four of his 35 hits going for extra bases, and nothing more than a double. However, he showed the ability to hit for average and get on base.

Reese McGuire was the GCL Player of the Month, and was also one of the top hitters in the Pirates system. The 2013 first round pick hit for a .369/.424/.476 line in 84 at-bats, with nine doubles.

Andrew Lambo was the Player of the Month last month, and had another big month in July. He hit for a .260/.304/.529 line with seven homers in 104 at-bats. Lambo slumped in the middle of the month, but had a strong finish, including four homers in his last seven games in July.

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  • CalipariFan506

    Until Dickerson improves his walk rate it is awful tough to take him seriously. With his low walk rate he would either have to hit 40 HR a year or get a lot of infield hits and stolen bases. He doesn’t profile as doing either of those things like Alvarez or Marte do. I just have a difficult time getting excited about him long term.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD

    I don’t care how many times he walks – although more would be better obviously. If he can hit .280-.300 in the MLB and hit anywhere from 20-25 HRs per year, that would be a huge improvement over what we’re getting now.

    He seems to be a player who improves each year as he advances. I like his potential.

    I would also like to see Lambo brought up, to platoon with Tabata for the remainder of the season to see what we have with him. He cannot do much worse than the combination of Snider/Presley/Jones out in RF.

  • CalipariFan506

    If Dickerson hits .280-.300 with 25 HR that would be Jones last season. Which is solid. But as we all see its difficult to remain consistently productive without walking much.

  • Jeremy J Stein

    Well, comparing the minor league numbers of Dickerson and Jones, Dickerson seems to hit for better average, little less HR power but A few more doubles and a little lower strikeout rate. Walk rate is about the same. If Dickerson wasn’t hitting for average then he probably wouldn’t be on the prospect radar. Personally I think being able to hit first is key, then power, then discipline (to not swing at pitches out of the zone), then patience (ability to work a walk).
    Is he Prince or Albert? No, of course not. Does he have the potential to be a productive first baseman on a winning team? Sure, why not?

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD

    It just seems that no matter what this kid does, it is always greeted with skepticism or “yeah, but…..”. All he does is hit for a high average, drives in runs, and his power seems to improve each year. I am very glad he did not get traded.

    I’d like to see him get a real chance at first base with the big club next Spring. Unless we make a trade or sign a free agent, the competition is not going to be real stiff.

    • Tim Williams

      I don’t know if you’re referring to me pointing out the walks, or other comments here. The nature of minor league baseball is that you’re always going to have something to work on. I point that out for every player, not to take away from what they’ve been doing, but to give a complete picture of their game right now.

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD

        No, I was not just referring to you Tim.

        Dickerson just seems to not get his due. It is inconceivable to me that he is not in the Pirates top 20 prospects – if that list is truly based on actual performance and not on subjective opinions on potential or based on reputation.

        I am not an expert evaluator of talent, just a fan for over 40 years. But I like players who produce – and put up solid numbers. Dickerson does that.

        Although I think Huntington and the Pirates organization have obviously done a phenomenal job in drafting, evaluating talent, etc, I do have one criticism. At times, they seem to not have enough faith in their prospects – and instead go out and sign or trade for veterans instead. Examples are John McDonald (instead of using Mercer earlier this season), Brandon Inge (instead of using a guy like Harrison to fill that role), and last year when they traded for the very bad Chad Qualls instead of using Morris, Wilson, Black, etc.

        I hope they soon give a guy like Lambo a shot in RF, and they give Dickerson a shot at first base next Spring, instead of trading or signing some other used up veteran.

        • Ron Zorn

          Bucco, flaw in your argument is that both veteran’s were kept as backups, so Mercer and Harrison could stay down and play everyday. I don’t think was a lack of faith at all, maybe the opposite, keeping them down on the farm, playing every day, hoping they would continue to develop. And in Mercer’s case, seems to have paid off.

        • jalcorn

          “Dickerson just seems to not get his due. It is inconceivable to me that he is not in the Pirates top 20 prospects – if that list is truly based on actual performance and not on subjective opinions on potential or based on reputation.”

          Prospect evaluation is far more complex than just looking at minor league stats. Production is actually not that high on the list of important measures when evaluating whether a player has a MLB future. Its nice to see a player have success but there are many paths to success at each minor league level that don’t work in the bigs (see Hermansen, Chad or Wood, Brandon).

          Scouting of major league quality tools/pitches, plate control, age versus level, and physical projection are all very important factors to consider. Many players put up good MiLB stats without every having any success in the Show.

        • Tim Williams

          We only update the top 20 twice per year. Once in the off-season with the Prospect Guide, and once again at mid-season after the draft. Dickerson’s numbers were pretty bad at the last update, so there was no reason to have him in the current top 20.

  • CalipariFan506

    Sorry I don’t want to come off as rooting against Dickerson or not wanting him to succeed. I just feel he has a major red flag in his walk rate. And to me it’s not like Marte who also had a low walk rate but you knew his speed could get him on base regardless.

    It’s something he can improve. But he isn’t a guy I’d want to rush. IMO he deserves an entire season in AAA with a potential September call up. Go with Jones in 2014 or give Lambo a season.

    • smurph

      That’s really the point. Can Dickerson be productive at the ML level? We don’t know, but I think he would need to prove it at the AAA level. Once the Pirates add players in September, maybe there is room for him at Indy. But to say he should be given a shot with the Pirates in 2013 or April, 2014, I don’t think so.

Top Performers

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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