Alex Dickerson Making A Name For Himself
PITTSBURGH — Alex Dickerson was the forgotten man of the Pirates' 2011 draft.
Rigthhander Gerrit Cole got plenty of hype for being the first overall pick and receiving a club-record $8 million signing bonus. Second-rounder Josh Bell, a high school outfielder from Dallas, got a $5 million bonus, the largest ever given to a player taken after the first round.
But Dickerson, the Pirates' third-round draft pick from Indiana a year after winning the Big Ten Conference triple crown, is making a name for himself.
The lefthanded-hitting first baseman was named the Florida State League player of the year at high Class A Bradenton this season. Dickerson, 22, finished the season hitting .297/.354/.454 with 13 home runs and 90 RBIs.
The award caught Dickerson off guard.
"I'm honestly a little surprised, but it's a huge honor," he said. "I can't believe I've gotten this far, especially the way I started the year."
Dickerson hit .256 in 22 games in April and had just two home runs in 47 games through the end of May. However, he heated up and had a fine season.
Perhaps the most impressive part of Dickerson's performance was that he hit lefthanded pitchers as well as he did righthanders. Against lefties, he had four home runs and an .818 OPS in 171 at-bats. He had nine homers and an .815 OPS in 309 at-bats versus righties.
Dickerson's approach to hitting is to use the whole field, and the Pirates believe that helps him hit any kind of pitching. However, the Pirates also feel the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder can unlock his power potential if he can get comfortable pulling more pitches.
• Bell will not take part in instructional league, as he has been slow to recover from knee surgery performed in April. Bell, 20, injured his knee while running the bases on April 24 and finished his first professional season at low Class A West Virginia hitting .274/.288/.403 with one home run in 15 games.
• Because he was not active for 90 days, infielder Gustavo Nunez, who missed most of the season with a broken right ankle, will have to remain on the Pirates' major league roster to start the 2013 season or be offered back to the Tigers. The Pirates took him in the major league Rule 5 draft.