Brenden Dixon: Approach Leading To Success As Bradenton’s Table Setter

The success of a draft class is usually determined by how the top end talent performed. In the Pirates case, expectations will be high for their 2021 class after taking Henry Davis first overall. They also signed several high upside prep players to over slot deals, only adding to expectations.

Looking all the way at the bottom of their 2021 draft is infielder Brenden Dixon, taken in the 20th and final round. Dixon is quietly having one of the best seasons from 2021 class.

On a team that has struggled offensively for most of the season, Dixon has been one of the more consistent players at the plate for Bradenton.

One series that has stuck out for the 21-year-old was an early May matchup against the Tampa Tarpons. Playing in all six games that series, Dixon slashed .304/.407/.652 with four extra base hits, two of which were home runs, walking four times and scoring another four runs.

Besides the power, Dixon showed some good patience at the plate, showed by the four walks drawn. In the video shown above of all his plate appearances against Tampa, you can see him able to lay off some good sliders.

One interesting matchup throughout was against Tarpon pitcher Juan Canela. After hitting a home run the first time up, Canela gave Dixon a heavy dose of sliders the rest of the way through, drawing a walk and later singling.

A look at those three plate appearances specifically is clipped together below.

Dixon didn’t get off to the best of starts, hitting just .200/.273/.440 in the month of April. He did hit seven extra-base hits, but he also struck out 34.5% of the time.

Getting adjusted to pro ball is something that every player has to do. Dixon talked about what it’s like getting adjusted to at the professional level.

“It’s all been new. It’s been good. Getting to learn the everyday in and outs,” Dixon told Pirates Prospects. “Obviously how to go out there six days a week and perform is a bigger task. It’s much easier said than done. Being able to do that and learn how to do it, it’s been awesome. It’s been fun.”

You can see where he’s started to get comfortable in playing more, as once May hit, Dixon has cut the strikeouts down by ten percentage points to 24.2%, and is walking over 20% of the time after drawing two more on Sunday. That’s driven the on-base percentage to over .400 in the month of May.

Dixon has been the ultimate table setter for the Marauders this year. When he has slid into one of the top two spots in the lineup, he is a collective 29-for-76 (.381), as well as collecting six of his 13 extra-base hits there. He’s also driven in 12 runs and drawn 19 walks.

For Dixon, he certainly has the mindset to go along with the success he’s had at the top of the lineup.

“I look to get on base any way I can,” Dixon said. “I’m the guy that, if it’s not necessarily in my zone, I would rather just take a pass at it. I feel like if I’m on base and I can score, the more ways we can win at the end of the day.”

Drafted as a shortstop, having Mike Jarvis and Tsung-Che Cheng on the roster in Bradenton has caused Dixon to bounce around the rest of the infield, playing first (59 2/3 innings), second (102 1/3), and third base (100). He’s committed just three errors, all at second base, for a .974 fielding percentage.

The focus certainly goes to the names at the top of the draft, but Dixon is proving to be a key piece to the early success of the 2021 draft class.


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Brenden Dixon: Approach Leading To Success As Bradenton’s Table Setter

Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

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Sounds like good scouting. Now let’s see how he develops.

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