If I told you that the Pirates have a 6-foot-4, 230 pound, left-handed hitter, who can play centerfield and bat leadoff, you might ask if Gregory Polanco had gained a little weight.
But I’m talking about Chris Dickerson, a 31-year-old outfielder, whom the Pirates signed to a minor league contract in January.
Dickerson has had only 708 major league plate appearances in his career, but they have come with 15 home runs, 32 stolen bases, a very good 10% BB rate, and a batting line of .262/.339/.406 — .745 OPS. That’s not setting the world on fire and Dickerson does have an unhealthy 27.3% K rate, but his numbers do suggest a hitter who can help a major league team in a variety of ways.
But, the most intriguing aspect of Dickerson’s profile, is the defense he provides as a 6″4″, 230 pound outfielder. In 1,316.2 innings, Dickerson’s OF UZR is 19.2 runs above average. And even more intriguing is his +13.0 UZR as a centerfielder. That’s exceptional fielding for a big man and, together with his base-stealing ability, suggests that he is a gifted, natural athlete.
Dickerson has hit each of his 15 career HR off of right-handed pitchers, against whom he has a batting line of .264/.341/.423 — .765 OPS.
There are several other “unknown” players in the Pirates spring training camp, who ar likely to play some role with the major league club this year. They will be profiled in future posts