Required Rockies: Corey Dickerson

The only love Corey Dickerson is getting these days is from his mom. As great as that may be, it’s time the rest of the league takes notice. This kid is here to stay.

Dickerson is in just his second season in the majors. The 25-year old has made an impression on manager Walt Weiss these past two seasons.

Corey Dickerson has made the most of his opportunities this season in order to help the Rockies win. (Creative Commons)

Corey Dickerson has made the most of his opportunities this season in order to help the Rockies win. (Creative Commons)

Dickerson’s first season was about as average you can get. He had a .263 batting average, 17 RBI and a .459 slugging percentage that was largely in part to his five home runs and five triples. What he gained from the 69 games he played in has served as a springboard to this season.

The bright lights have shown just how effulgent Dickerson can be. The lefty has improved dramatically is just one season, upping his batting average (.324), on-base percentage (.376) and slugging percentage (.600). He already has posted seven home runs and 18 RBI in 17 fewer games than he played in last year.

Largely considered the fourth outfielder on the depth chart (Carlos Gonzalez, Michael Cuddyer, Charlie Blackmon), Dickerson has made the most of his opportunities when they have been given to him.

Screenshot of Corey Dickerson's spray chart. (FanGraphs)

Screenshot of Corey Dickerson’s spray chart. (FanGraphs)

As you can see, he has been reluctant to pick a side of the field he likes to hit to – and that’s a good thing. He’s had 15 hits (43 percent) to the opposite field, eight hits (24 percent) up the middle and 11 hits (33 percent) down the pull-side.

To the opposing pitchers out there: good luck trying to figure out how to pitch him.

Dickerson’s impact hasn’t just been felt in the batter’s box. Though he has started a majority of his games (17) this season in left field, Dickerson has notched nine starts in center field and five as a designated hitter. Any chance Weiss has had, the manager has given Dickerson the nod.

The Mississippi product has yet to make an error this season and has 128 putouts for his career. (Quick, somebody go knock on wood!) He makes the tough plays look easy.

Though he won’t see the field as much as he rightfully deserves due to the glut of outfielders this season, Dickerson will provide the Rockies with a go-to option off the bench in case of injury or if there is a need for a pinch hitter.

And at this stage of his career, that’s just fine.

Advertisements

Chirps from the Rockies-Indians finale

Well, this wasn’t how it was supposed to go. The Indians brought their brooms to the ballpark on Sunday and swept the Rockies. Colorado dropped to 2-7 on this road trip. Below are some tweets from the 6-4 loss, including fan reaction, professional analysis and even a web gem nominee from MLB.

The Rockies have a travel day on Monday before beginning a series against the Diamondbacks at Coors Field on Tuesday.

Michael Cuddyer should not be in Denver on Aug. 1

Though the July 31 trade deadline is 74 days away, it is never too early to talk about improving the squad.

I firmly believe that if the Rockies want to remain a contender, trading Michael Cuddyer is their best option.

The 2013 National League batting champion set career-highs in batting average (.331), on-base percentage (.389) slugging percentage (.530) and on-base plus slugging percentage (.919) last year.

With those kind of numbers, why should the Rockies move him?

After winning the NL batting title, Cuddyer might be looking for a new home on July 31. (Creative Commons)

After winning the NL batting title, Cuddyer might be looking for a new home on July 31. (Creative Commons)

There are a few reasons, but the main argument is the glut of outfielders that the Rockies have.

Charlie Blackmon has emerged as one of the top leadoff men in baseball, ranking in the top-20 for batting average (.333), home runs (9), RBI (30) and on-base percentage (.364). He has also shown his versatility, starting in all three outfield spots this season. Blackmon has put an emphasis on defense, having only committed two errors with a .974 fielding percentage.

Corey Dickerson is in his second season with the club and has shown that he is here to stay. The lefty has pieced together an impressive start to the 2014 season, owning a .344 batting average, four roundtrippers and 11 RBI in just 26 games. Dickerson has yet to commit an error in 114 chances in the huge outfield of Coors Field.

Drew Stubbs and Brandon Barnes have been nice options off the bench for manager Walt Weiss this year, after both being acquired in the offseason. Stubbs is having a career year at the dish, hitting .326, slugging .500 and getting on base 36.2 percent of the time. He is also a certifiable thief, having swiped over 130 bases during his six-year career. Barnes has been a great two-way player for the Rockies this year, hitting a career-high .325 and starting in every outfield position with only one error.

Finally, Carlos Gonzalez is, well, Carlos Gonzalez. One of the few five-tool players in the league, “CarGo” has gotten off to a slow start in 2014, hitting .270, slugging .485 and getting on base 31 percent of the time. You would have to go back to his rookie year in 2008 with the Oakland A’s to find numbers that low. Since joining the Rockies, he has won a batting title (2010), three Gold Gloves (2010, 2012, 2013), made two All-Star Game appearances (2012, 2013) and has proven to be the second-best asset (Troy Tulowitzki) on this team.

With these five outfielders, and the solid play of Justin Morneau, there seems to be a surplus of talent in Denver at all four spots where Cuddyer can play.

The next set of reasons would be Cuddyer’s contract and age. The 35-year-old outfielder is in the final year of his contract and is set to make $10.5 million off of a three-year, $31.5 million he signed back in 2012. Cuddyer is on the downhill run of his prime, but can net a substantial return if dealt to a contender in need of a bat.

The Atlanta Braves are currently in a tie for the NL East crown at 22-19 and are ranked near the bottom in the major batting categories. They sit in 25th in slugging percentage (.368), 28th in batting average (.231), 29th in on-base percentage (.289) and 30th in runs (129). Though they have lost pitchers Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlan to Tommy John surgeries, they still have six quality starters battling for only five spots. Gavin Floyd, Aaron Harang, Ervin Santana, Julio Teheran, Mike Minor and Alex Wood all have at least two quality starts (6 IP, 3 ER or less) and ERAs below 4.25 this season.

Of that list above, Ervin Santana seems to be the best fit for what Colorado needs – a top of the rotation, shutdown pitcher. Santana is 4-1 on the season with 46 strikeouts, an ERA of 2.76 and a WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) of 1.14. Santana makes the most sense to trade for Cuddyer because of his abilities and contract situation.

Santana signed a one-year, $14.1 million deal with the Braves earlier in the offseason. Adding another prospect or two with Cuddyer’s $10.5 million can balance out the salaries and needs for both teams. Plus, if both Santana and Cuddyer do not prove worthy of another deal, their contract is up at the end of the season and both teams would lose nothing.

The Braves should be all over this deal as they need to find a way to keep B.J. Upton out of the lineup.

When July 31 comes rolling around, I wouldn’t expect Cuddyer to stay in Denver – and neither should he.

Rox Linx

This is the first installment of “Rox Linx” in which we will link other stories based on recent happenings in the Rockies community. This is much easier knowing you can enjoy a nice cobb salad and reminisce about that 8-2 slaughter of the Giants last night.