All he does is hit.
That has become the version of “professional hitter” as far as the go-to compliment for young players.
All Corey Dickerson does is hit.
As such, it shouldn’t be too hard to envision Dickerson as an everyday player in the Colorado Rockies lineup in 2014. Unfortunately for him, though, two events this off-season make a starting spot unlikely for him.
1. The team’s decision to sign Justin Morneau
Had we known at the time that the team was going to trade for Drew Stubbs, we could have made an even stronger case that signing Morneau to take over at first base was a bad idea. An outfield with CarGo in left field, Stubbs/Blackmon in center/ and Dickerson in right sounds about right, especially given the upside in Dickerson’s bat. That would shift Michael Cuddyer to first base where he belongs, even if it would have meant he didn’t get to play with his BFF Morneau on the team.
It might be that signing Morneau works out well for the Rockies, but it will likely be at Dickerson’s expense because signing Morneau kept Cuddyer in right and blocked one potential path to the big leagues for Dickerson.
2. Keeping Carlos Gonzalez in left field
For a while CarGo was the favorite to be the starting center fielder, meaning that the Blackmon/Stubbs/Dickerson trio was competing for a spot in left field. That put Dickerson on a fairly level playing field with the other two. But now that CarGo will stay in left? That hurts Dickerson’s chances significantly because of the defensive side of things.
While some have said that Dickerson was “fine” in center field last season, I’m afraid that is a charitable description and that Dickerson would seriously hurt the Rockies if he played center field everyday. You can envision Blackmon and Stubbs playing there everyday, and you can envision them splitting the time out there, but it is a lot harder to see a situation where Dickerson cracks that spot.
That context explains why Dickerson seemed to be an afterthought in a Denver Post column this morning about the competition for the leadoff/center field spot. After discussing Blackmon and Stubbs, Dickerson is only mentioned briefly at the article’s conclusion:
Dickerson has hit at every level. He rarely walks but averaged an extra-base hit every 8.4 at-bats last season.
‘Each guy brings something to the table,’ Dickerson said. ‘Depending on what they want, we have a lot of tools to turn this spot into a strength.’
Dickerson, who batted .263/.316/.459 in 69 games last season, might be the best pure hitter of the three. Unfortunately for him and possibly for the Rockies, his path was blocked when the organization made two decisions that kept the incumbents in left and right field in place for another season.
We still might see Corey Dickerson play an important role for the Rockies in 2014, but that probably will not include him winning a job out of Spring Training.