Cody Dickson hasn't lost since the All-Star break (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Top Prospects: #17 – Cody Dickson

The Pirates Prospects 2014 Prospect Guide is now on sale. The book features prospect reports on everyone in the system, the 2014 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find.  While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks.  Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.

To recap the countdown so far:

20. Michael De La Cruz, OF
19. JaCoby Jones, OF
18. Barrett Barnes, OF

We continue the countdown with the number 17 prospect, Cody Dickson.

Cody Dickson had a great start to his pro career in Jamestown. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

Cody Dickson had a great start to his pro career in Jamestown. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

17. Cody Dickson, LHP

Dickson was taken two rounds after left-handed prep pitcher Blake Taylor, and is a few years older coming out of the college ranks. Despite the age difference, Dickson has a very similar skillset and a similar upside.

Just like Taylor, Dickson is a left-hander who sits in the low-90s with his fastball, and can hit 95. The difference is that Dickson maintains his velocity better, and is more likely to hit the upper end of his range at this point, while Taylor is more about projection with his future ability to hit the low-to-mid 90s. Also like Taylor, Dickson struggles with control. He had some control problems in the NYPL during his debut, but nothing major.

Dickson pairs the fastball with a plus curveball, which led to some excellent strikeout rates in Jamestown this year. He shows promise with his changeup, but needs improvements on the pitch to remain a starter.

The Pirates scouted Dickson several times in a row this year, and saw him showing improvements throughout the season. They continued scouting him, believing he could continue to get better. Dickson has the potential for three quality major league pitches with his fastball, curve, and changeup.

Taylor and Dickson are very similar in that they are both lefties with good fastballs, quality breaking pitches, command problems, and a lack of a good changeup. Dickson has the edge in all of these areas, although Taylor has a higher upside and more time to develop. Still, Dickson has the chance to be a strong middle of the rotation starter if he can improve his changeup and fix his command problems. If that doesn’t work, he could be a Justin Wilson-like reliever.

It’s hard to say where Dickson will start the 2014 season. He’s out of college, so he could make the jump to Bradenton. However, the Marauders will have a full rotation with guys like Tyler Glasnow, Clay Holmes, and others making the jump from West Virginia. Because of that talent, it’s possible that Dickson could start the year in West Virginia focusing on his fastball command, and end up making the jump to High-A in the second half of the season when a rotation spot opens up.

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Tim Williams

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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  • IC Bob

    I like this guy. He pitched really well last year. It also sounds like Taylor might be number 16.

    • leefoo

      You must be prescient, IC….. :)

  • leefoo

    Command…..that’s what separates the prospects from the suspects.

    Hopefully, they’ll not turn into Andy Oliver. And why IS Oliver still on the 40 man? If they put him on waivers, sure someone will claim him, but who cares. He couldn’t hit Florida with a throw, even if you spotted him all the land between Tallahassee and Miami….:) :)

    • Y2JGQ2

      There is a rumor going around that Rick Ankiel has taken Andy Oliver under his wing…..

      • leefoo

        But, do we need a CF who Ks a lot?


  • piraterican21

    In rating the farm system, I’ve noticed than other sites knock on our system is lack of lefty starter, there are far from guarantee, but between Dickson, Taylor, and especially Joely Rodriguez the system is in better shape than they make it seem.

    • Tim Williams

      System rankings should only consider overall talent. Any ranking that looks at specific positions is flawed, because there is no system that has key prospects at every position.

      But I agree that there are some good interesting lefties in the system.

      • leefoo

        Hopefully, we’ll get Wang back, too.

  • elgaupo

    So Dickson had 95 innings at Sam Houston State and another 57 with Jamestown. Could he move up to Altoona? He’ll be 22. That’s old for low A, not young for high A, but would be good for AA.

    • emjayinTN

      el: Although he will play as a 22 year old, his skill level is nothing more than Lo A. Maybe in past years he may have been able to move to Hi A because of a lack of overall talent in pitching, but that is not the case any more. IMO, the group that will make up the Rotation at Hi A to start the season will be Tyler Glasnow, Luis Heredia, Joely Rodriguez, Clayton Holmes, and then take your pick of Kuchno, Creasy, Castro, etc. Possibility that Glasnow, Rodriguez, and Heredia get a promotion to AA during the season, so that may be the opportunity for Dickson to get to Hi A this year.

      Aside to Tim: The Bucs do have some interesting LHSP’s in the system, and any team in the majors would salivate at having guys like Jeff Locke, Tony Watson, and Justin Wilson. All three were LHSP’s through the minors and are already MLB-experienced. I want to see where they go with Wilson this year – SP or RP?

      • elgaupo

        Well, how about Glasnow to AA? He dominated A- and A+ is supposed to be a pitcher’s league.

  • CalipariFan506

    At 22 I think Dickson should go to Bradenton for High A. If it comes down to him and Heredia for the 5th starter in Bradenton or the top pitcher at West Virginia I’d rather see Heredia held back. He’s 3 years younger, coming off less innings and generally seems like a guy who could be “rushed” if nothing else than to add to the major league depth options sooner than later. Heredia still has top of the rotation potential. Develop him properly. Dickson is probably limited to a back end of the rotation guy so move him along.

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