When talking about the 2021 draft for the Pittsburgh Pirates, a name that doesn’t usually come up immediately is Brenden Dixon, which probably shouldn’t be too much of a surprise as the infielder was the team’s last pick.
Dixon began his college career at Texas, playing briefly before the pandemic shut down the season. He transferred to Weatherford JC and had a commitment to play for Arkansas, before being drafted and signed by the Pirates.
Over the course of a long season, it’s expected to see a lot of ups and downs, especially when injuries are involved. That was the case for Dixon.
He was hot out the gate, slashing .235/.361/.409 with four home runs (13 extra-base hits) and a wRC+ of 122. The strikeouts were high (29.1 K%) but he was also walking a good amount (15.2%).
June and July was a struggle, with Dixon even missing time with an injury. The strikeouts crossed over the wrong side of 30%, with his wRC+ only at 65 and his slash a measly .149/.308/.207. He only picked up three extra-base hits in 107 plate appearances during that time frame.
Brenden Dixon with his 6th home run of the season. #LetsGoBucs pic.twitter.com/iOy909ZF8R
— Anthony Murphy (@__Murphy88) August 12, 2022
Fully healthy, the infielder finished strong, posting a 110 wRC+ down the stretch, cutting down on the strikeouts (25.6%) and picking up three more home runs and driving in 11. On the season, Dixon hit eight home runs, driving in 36 runs, and stole six bases.
One impressive mark was that no matter how much he struggled, the walks stayed steady (15.3% season mark), and it should be stated that his swinging strike rate was only 10.1%, which was lower than Endy Rodriguez’s mark.
So, he wasn’t missing on a lot of pitches (had a 72.6% contact rate), and maybe with a little more aggression at the plate, could actually see an increase in the batting average.
When Dixon put the ball into play, he put up decent exit velocity numbers. He had an average EV of 87.8 mph, and had a 4.6% barrel rate, both decent numbers for a Single-A hitter.
A baseball season on its own is a roller coaster, and the best that play the game are the ones who can recover from the lows the fastest.
With how he struggled in the middle of the season, it’s a positive sign he was able to bounce back the way he did. He’s another name that makes solid contact that could thrive in Greensboro, it will be a matter of putting the ball into play more.
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By Tim Williams
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**Missed yesterday? Anthony highlighted a few Spring Training non-roster invitees to watch.
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Wilbur Miller looked at the Pirates’ 2019 draft, which is led by Quinn Priester, but has a lot of other interesting prospects still around.
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Bubba Chandler was a highlight of the 2021 draft, and Anthony Murphy looked at the progress and potential he showed during his debut season.
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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.
Well, I finally made into one of the pictures. Apocalypse can now begin. I like Dixon, but he played a lot of outfield late in the year. That means his power needs to increase a lot. Greensboro should help him.
Which one are you? 🙄
The old duffer in the yellow shirt behind the dugout
In other words the only one fully shown! Nice seats!
I’m trying to decide who my 2023 breakout is gonna be, I’m thinking on settling on Maikol Escotto, do you have a write up on him in the horizon?
Lonnie and Bishop and Kennedy
and Barco jr
Barco will barely pitch this year, recovering from TJ!