Last month, I wrote that Corey Dickerson was probably the most underrated prospect in the Rockies’ system. After meeting Dickerson and watching him put in work last week, I am convinced that he is more underrated than I originally thought. He has a strong desire to improve and a work ethic that is off the charts.
I’m not saying that he is a guarantee. If I had that kind of foresight, I would be in someone’s front office. I am saying that he has everything it takes to become a Major Leaguer. Obviously, Corey is a talented player. Even in the Pioneer League, .350 is very impressive. But, it’s more than that. You can see the determination in everything he does. He’s polite, down to earth, but intense.
His attitude toward the game reminds me of Tulo’s. Dickerson doesn’t have interest in outside distractions. He’s a baseball nerd, so to speak. All he wants is to play ball every day. He’s very much aware of the opportunity with which he has been presented and he doesn’t take it for granted. His attitude is refreshing.
As you’ll see in this interview, Dickerson exudes confidence, but don’t mistake that for arrogance. He’s not an entitled guy. He seems to understand that he still has much to prove and he doesn’t want for anything that he hasn’t earned. I was really impressed. Here’s Part I of the transcript:
Logan Burdine: You guys (minor leaguers) had your first game today, correct?
Corey Dickerson: Yeah, we played the Cincinnati Reds after practice today.
LB: How did it feel to get back in the batter’s box?
Dickerson: It was good. A long time coming, but I hit a triple, a sacrifice fly to center and I grounded out to second. So, I was 1-2 — it was a good start.
LB: Are you with low-A?
Dickerson: Yeah, I was with Asheville, but nothing is for sure until camp breaks. A lot of people were spread out.
LB: Did you play center?
Dickerson: No I DH’d today. I’m going to play the field tomorrow.
LB: Are you playing games every day now?
Dickerson: Hopefully, I’ll play every day. I’ll probably rotate between left, center, and DH.
LB: The minor leaguers have just begun camp, but you told me that you’ve been there for over two weeks?
Dickerson: Yeah, I got here February 28th.
LB: How’s the first professional spring training going?
Dickerson: It’s gone pretty well. Nothing overwhelming yet, but it’s been long days and you just have to make yourself better every day. If you have the right mindset, you’ll go through it with a breeze.
LB: Have you been able to mix in a little play with all the work?
Dickerson: Not really. Usually, I like to come back to the hotel so I can recover for the next day.
LB: What’s been your impression of Salt River Fields?
Dickerson: It’s amazing, it’s hard to even describe with words. I just wish everybody could come see it. They’d be amazed at the facilities. It’s really first class and the Rockies really blessed everyone in the organization with it.
LB: Having a place like that, does it make you want to be there and work harder?
Dickerson: Yes, it does because the facilities are so nice; you just want to use them all the time. Thankfully, I’m on a team that has this. All the stuff we have now, you can’t help but to get better.
LB: You’re working right alongside the Big Club, right? Are you sharing a locker room?
Dickerson: Well, we share the same cafeteria and the same weight room, so we get to see them every day. Just like today, I got to talk to Todd Helton in the weight room. It’s kind of like everybody is everybody. They aren’t trying to separate us.
LB: Have you learned anything from those guys?
Dickerson: Not necessarily. I haven’t been able to talk to any of them about techniques, even though I wish I could. I’ve learned a lot from the coordinators though. They’ve been working really hard with me.
LB: What did you do to get ready this off-season?
Dickerson: I worked out at six o’clock every morning, five days a week. I had a trainer in Meridian, Mississippi. We trained every day. I might’ve taken a week off during the entire off-season and I worked during the day. So my days were pretty much just working out and working.
LB: That’s one of the things I noticed about you when I was watching practices. You were easily the last player out of the batting cages, after you had already hit on the field. And, it wasn’t just that you were working hard, you were also working with a purpose. Where does that drive come from?
Dickerson: I have a grudge. With how I was drafted and how good I know my talent is, I just want everyone to know it. I want to show it and work for it. I don’t want people just saying things, I want to show them that I have the talent.
LB: You throw right-handed, but hit lefty. Do you do most things right-handed?
Dickerson: I do everything right-handed. When I golf, I cross-hand. I swing right-handed, but with a lefty grip.
LB: Does that work for you?
Dickerson: Yeah, I can hit it cross-handed. I grew up playing like that.
LB: How did you start hitting left-handed?
Dickerson: My dad. He says it was pretty natural. He used to throw little berries at me and I always had to hit them left-handed. Since then, I’ve just been swinging lefty.
LB: Have you experimented with switch-hitting?
Dickerson: I did when I was little. I can still hit right-handed, but not live pitching. I can do front toss and BP, but I can’t hit pitching. I don’t try to, I’m just trying to perfect my left-handed swing.
LB: From what I can tell, you’ve always seemed to hit lefties pretty well — something a lot of young left-handers don’t do. What’s your approach?
Dickerson: Usually, I look for the fastball. They can get me out with a slider away so I try to lay off anything outside and make the lefties make a mistake. I have to be more patient against a lefty.
LB: What other sports did you play growing up?
Dickerson: I played everything — basketball, football. I have three state championships in basketball. I was a shooting guard. I also played quarterback and running back.
LB: Did you consider playing anything else after high school?
Dickerson: My dream has always been baseball, but I could’ve gone to junior college for football. I never really thought about it. I had my sights on baseball the whole time.
LB: You hold a ton of Brookhaven Academy’s baseball records. Do you have any of their basketball or football records?
Dickerson: I don’t think I have any outside of baseball.
LB: You were a lead-off hitter in JUCO, right?
Dickerson: Yes, usually, they couldn’t pitch around me there. They had to throw me first pitch fastballs and it worked out best for our team.
LB: There is a theory out there that the team’s best hitter should hit lead-off.
Dickerson: Yeah, I think it helped out the team and I was glad to do it because I wanted us to get better. I’m glad to do anything that will help my team win.
LB: Where were you hitting for Casper?
Dickerson: Third. Well, I hit second and third, just to get more at-bats.
LB: You were originally drafted by the Rockies in the 29th round of the 2009 draft, did you come close to signing?
Dickerson: They were talking to me. They drafted me because they thought they might have some money left over in August. I played on a summer ball on a team that a Rockies’ scout from Louisiana put together. I played in a Wichita, Kansas tournament with them. But, they never came up with the money so I went back to school.
LB: How long did you negotiate last year?
Dickerson: I really didn’t negotiate too much. I wanted to go to school for another year, but I also wanted to get started and I didn’t want any more years behind me. It takes a while to work your way up and I wanted to get going.
LB: Do you put much stock in prospect rankings?
Dickerson: Not at all. I know my talent and I know their talent. I live off that. That’s my drive. I like to prove people wrong.