Alex Dickerson Named to’s Top 10 First Base Prospects

Alex Dickerson is's 7th best first base prospect.
Alex Dickerson is’s 7th best first base prospect.

Jonathan Mayo of released his top 10 first base prospects today, and for the second year in a row Alex Dickerson made the list. This time around Dickerson was ranked 7th, up from 9th last year. There were a few players who moved off the 2012 list due to losing their prospect eligibility, so players moving up isn’t a total surprise. Dickerson remaining on the list is a bit of a surprise, considering the season he had.

Mayo credited Dickerson’s hitting skills, although that didn’t translate well on the field. He had a .156 ISO in high-A, which isn’t what you want to see from a college hitter in high-A. The MLB average ISO for first basemen in 2012 was .179. Dickerson was 23 points lower, and three levels below the majors. We heard from scouts before and during the year who questioned whether Dickerson’s body type could allow him to hit for power in the future.

There definitely seems to be a divide starting with the first baseman. This is the second year in a row that he was named one of Mayo’s top 10 first base prospects. He also was named the Florida State League Player of the Year. However, there are scouts that are down on him, and he didn’t make Baseball America’s FSL top 20.

Mayo does note that Dickerson has found a position at first base. His defense was poor at first, spending most of his time in college in the outfield. He’s improved defensively at first in the last year, which is a silver lining. However, first base is an offense first position. It’s good that he can stick at the position now, but that means little if he doesn’t hit enough to make it to the majors. He should jump to Double-A next year, which is already a difficult jump for hitters. His performance at the plate in 2013 will need to be a lot better, and that will be more difficult to accomplish at a tougher level.

  • Never meant to create controversy, but this is a great thread!
    And I wasn’t necessarily meaning the pirates trading star players. Just going in generalities, because we can always find good and bad trades.

  • Just reread my posts, auto correct is BRUTAL!
    But I love the website. Just frustrating to hear NH talk about stuff, or FC talk about core players nonstop. We see trades of star players all the time for ‘highly regarded’ prospects, only to see them burn out

    • meatygettingsaucy
      January 28, 2013 8:19 am

      What star players have we traded lately. Please don’t even try to say Hanrahan because no closer is worth 1/10th of a teams payroll.

    • Yeah, I’m pretty sure the last star player that the Pirates traded away was back in the 70’s. I always found it amazing how attached people were to guys like Freddy Sanchez, Jason Bay, Doumit, Maholm, Duke, even Snell, before that it was Jason Kendall. None of those players ever came close to super star status, and most were never more than league average. In the case of Bay and Sanchez, they each had their couple years in the sun, and then it went away. No offense to them, they lived/are living a dream, the problem is that trading those players away will not bring a return of anything close to a “highly regarded” prospect.

      So when you’re talking about the Pirates organization as a whole, is it any wonder it’s taken them 6 years to build up a worthwhile small market team? I mean, they essentially went close to 15 years without drafting an impact, star level player. Furthermore, during much of those years they were unable to acquire any legitimate prospects via trade. Now, that’s no excuse, every squirrel finds a nut now and again, so the management in previous years bares much of the responsibility in the matter.

      I just dislike comments pertaining to Neil Huntington making it seem as though he’s been in charge since ’93. Maybe you’ve wanted more success in the short term than what’s been seen, and that’s debatable. However, there’s a basic equation with baseball in regards to talent that was extremely unbalanced for a long time in Pittsburgh. If you put good in, you get good out. What’s important to remember is that the output is only going to vary relative to the input. That means, if you’re starting off with Bay as your primary trade asset, you’re probably not going to end up with as much as you might expect in the long run. Yes, he was a very solid player at the time, but in reality, if he was going to a playoff contending team, he was by no means going to be the best outfielder. Then, once you factor in that all the other pieces they had were lesser in value than Bay….it’s no wonder there was very little return for all of those guys from the early/mid 2000’s.

      It all comes down to amateur player acquisitions, player development, and making the right trades. A lot of those things are arguably still up in the air in regards to NH’s management of the team. However, I would argue that the team continues to be headed in the right direction, and that maybe this slow, but steady pace is something that will benefit the organization in the long run. For the time being, at least for this season, I’d prefer to not throw away a GM who might actually be doing right by this organization in the long-run.

      • Kendall would have been a strong candidate for the HOF had it not been for his injuries. He and Giles were superstars — i.e. high WAR players. Both were poor defenders and derived much of the value from their bats. Giles was a 6-7-win player during his Pirates tenure while Kendall was a 4-6-win player during his peak years — i.e. before his thumb injury. Kendall’s ankle injury also coincided with a decline in his UZR.

        In other words, both players were superstars.

      • Ian….I agree with your overall assessment of the superstars that we traded away.

  • Solid ML 1B men rarely played 1B in the minors – most were moved there after their bats proved to be sufficient for the position at the ML level. But translating minor league doubles into major league HR’s is often also accomplished by getting a little better at pitch recognition and minor swing tweaks, neither of which require “filling out.”

    • That’s also true. But again, Dickerson is 22 years old. He’s had three years of college ball, and now a year and a half of pro ball. The chances of him getting better at pitch recognition at this point are slim.

      As for the swing tweaks, that was the argument against him. Scouts said that his body type was strange, and that he wasn’t exactly graceful. Going by those opinions, he wouldn’t be a minor swing tweak away, or would have difficulty making that adjustment. In fact, one of the scouts I talked with talked about how he’d have trouble hitting for power going forward because of these issues.

      • Yeah…kind of pear shaped. He looks like Brad….Eldridge? Is that right? They called him, Big Country or something lol. I think he was like 6’7 280 though.

        • Brad Eldred.

        • If Dickerson is pear-shaped, then his Pirate prospect comp is Chris Shelton. Shelton could hit, but few believed in him because of his body. The Pirates named him its Minor League Player of the Year and then lost him in the infamous Rule 5 Draft of 2003.

          Shelton had about 1.5 years of productive baseball for the Detroit Tigers. But, once he struggled, the Tigers sent him down.

  • I wasn’t criticizing the website, tim, or a body else associated with the website.
    I was criticizing the notion of how valuable prospects are, then turn into squad, when we could parlay a rated prospect for a very good regular

    • …which would be an interesting concept, if only it didn’t somehow impact the team in the long run…

      You’re not going to be able to acquire a player worthwhile for Dickerson alone. So that means you’d have to throw in at least 1 if not 2 additional players. Combined, that’s an incredible amount of control to give up for only a few years of control over an average player. Not to mention, with the new draft rules, you’re not going to receive any compensation picks in the long run.

    • I found the original comment amusing, just because this is a site that focuses on prospects, and it’s a post about a Pirates prospect making a top prospect list. So obviously it’s going to be talking about all of those things that you said you were tired of hearing.

  • Good to see someone likes the guy. he hit a lot of doubles this year. Why will those not convert to HRs when he matures? I hear that stated often when talking about prospects. Why not now?

    • Generally that argument is made when a player is younger. Dickerson was 22 and hit 31 doubles in 488 ABs. By comparison, Jose Osuna was 19 and hit 36 doubles in 482 at-bats.

      The idea behind it is that doubles will translate to home runs when the player fills out. Dickerson is already to the point where he’s filled out. There’s not much projection there. Osuna could still add some more strength in the next few years, which would turn those doubles to homers.

  • Whoopty doooo
    When prospects turn into contributing regulars, let me know.
    Considering the failure rate of these men, trade them when you have value
    And if I hear ‘good stuff’ or ‘core player’ again I may puke