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To recap the countdown so far:
We continue the countdown with the number 17 prospect, Cody Dickson.
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.