In this week’s edition of the Villar Village, I am highlighting San Diego Padres outfielder Alex Dickerson. Dickerson was never extremely well-thought of in prospect circles. He was a third round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates and was never graded by prospect hounds as anything more than a fourth outfielder or organizational depth. Dickerson’s productive, yet not outstanding minor league performances before 2016 seemed to support those reports.
Then a funny thing happened in 2016, Alex Dickerson in his age 25-26 season broke out in Triple A. In 240 ABs, Dickerson posted a career high ISO of .240 with a .382/.425/.622. Now, this could have been simply chalked up the friendly confines of the Pacific Coast League. After a brief cup of coffee in May, Dickerson was called up and received a nearly starter’s workload from the end of June through the end of the season. For the season, in 285 plate appearances, Dickerson hit 10 homers, stole 5 bases and triple-slashed .257/.333/.455.
Great. 10/5 in 285 is approximately 20/10 in nearly 600. That’s a productive, but not a difference-making player for fantasy. It would make Alex Dickerson approximately the 180th ranked player according to last year’s rankings.
Merely looking at his totals does not underscore just how much Dickerson was able to accomplish during last year’s run and how much potential that he has going forward. Dickerson was above average in a majority of plate discipline statistics. To be specific, Dickerson was above average in Contact %, Swinging Strike %, Zone Contact %, Zone Swing %, and O-Contact%. This legitimizes Dickerson’s 15.4% K-Rate, which is well above league average.
While Dickerson’s contact profile portends that his K-Rate is for real, there is ample evidence elsewhere that Dickerson deserved much better luck. His FB%, Pull% and Hard Contact% all indicate that is 12% HR/FB rate was rather unlucky. A few points of improvement on his HR/FB rate takes him from low 20s power pace, to the 30 HR range.
Additionally, Dickerson also deserved better luck on his BABIP. A 34.1% Hard Contact rate and 22.4% Line Drive rate support the premise that Dickerson was a tad unlucky. Although Dickerson does have some pop-up issues (10.6% IFFB), the numbers indicate that Dickerson should, at minimum, be a league average BABIP player. If you add the 26 points of BABIP to bring him to league average, Dickerson jumps from a .257 hitter to a .280 hitter.
If Dickerson gets on-base more, fueled by a healthy walk rate (9.1%) and the suspected increase in BABIP luck, he could go from 10-15 steals on a full season pace, up to 15-20 steals.
Now, suddenly, Dickerson becomes much more attractive as a potential 30 homer, 15 steal, .275 hitter. That profile is a top 50-75 hitter in fantasy leagues. To achieve that result, Alex Dickerson only needs to do what he did last year skills-wise and improve his luck.
My Upside Projection: 155 G, 28 HR, 75 R, 81 RBI, 13 SB .270/.337/.469
Inhabitants of Villar Village:
1B/2B/SS/OF. Nick Franklin – Tampa Bay
OF. Alex Dickerson – San Diego