The Reds announcers and some fans have already fallen in love with Chris Dickerson’s hot start (.324/.410/.662 in 78 Plate Appearances before tonight).  I like the player quite a bit, and think he should be considered for the 4th OF spot next year, or even a starting CF job if we get a legit bat in left.

But let’s remember that Dickerson is making his big league debut at 26, and his career numbers (.260/.360/.415) are nothing like what he’s doing right now.  Even his career year at L’Ville this year was 150 points less of OPS.

For perspective, let’s remember this LH-hitting OF’s Reds debut (age 25):  .318 .400 .602 (13 HR in 231 PA).

The immortal Jon Nunnally, who went on to hit another 9 career HR.

30 Responses

  1. Y-City Jim

    The thing to be impressed with concerning Dickerson is the patience and the ability to draw walks. The current power numbers are an illusion. He might be an okay lead off guy on a team like the Reds that are completely lacking one otherwise.

  2. preach

    Agreed, Jim. Hopefully he doesn’t fall in love with the Home run. It’s one of the things Patterson did early in his career.

  3. Kurt Frost

    Maybe he’s making his debut at 26 because he was stuck behind a donkey and a griffey. The home runs aren’t that big of a deal. Watching him take pitches is odd, because it doesn’t happen that often when a Red is batting.

  4. Chris

    That’s one possibility, Kurt. Of course, that still leaves CF open, where guys like Dewayne Wise, Quinten McCracken, Buck Coats, Jason Ellison and Mr. Patterson have seen significant playing time over the past 3 years.

    The truth is that Dickerson’s minor league performance just wasn’t that impressive.

    He was a college guy, but didn’t get a quick start at pro ball, taking a season and a half each to conquer high A, AA, and AAA.

    He had a nice half season at Dayton (.303 .410 .408, 27 SB in 84 G), but that was really about it, until AAA.

    People are theorizing that he plays better against higher level competition, but I see absolutely no support for that position.

    He is what he is, as they say: A patient hitter with good wheels and a nice glove. He is not a power hitter or A___ D___ replacement.

  5. Andy

    Nunnally ended his career with 42 total HR .

  6. Chris

    Yes. He had 19 before joining the Reds, hit 13 in half a season, then 9 more before he was done.

  7. rob

    Ask Nate McLouth, Ryan Ludwick, and Skip Schumaker about being given the moniker of fourth outfielder. I wouldn’t give Dickerson an everday job in ’09 but he has certainly made a name for himself.

  8. Fire Dusty NOW

    LOL I was going to point that out Chris, but I’ll just leave it at that.

    We all know that Dickerson won’t be able to keep up what he’s doing right now. He’s going to struggle (mostly vs LHP) but there’s a chance, a small chance, that he’s one of those hitters that does better in MLB because the pitchers have better control and are around the zone more often. I say play him until he proves us he doesn’t belong.

  9. Matt Steele

    I was going to say that maybe Dickerson was a AAAA type player like Ludwick, but those guys did very well in triple AAA, Dickerson wasn’t too impressive there.

    I’m all for giving the guy a chance, hopefully he does well. I hope him or Stubbs can develop into a solid leadoff hitter with OBP tendencies. I can’t say I’m overly optimistic about it though

  10. Chris

    FWIW, Corey Patterson had a .530 SLG through his first 74 PA in a Reds uniform. I’m not saying Dickerson is Patterson, just remember sample size.

    I would happily bet the under on the rest of Ludwick or Schumaker’s career.

    Ludwick was a highly touted prospect back in the day, but had some serious injury problems that cut short the front half of his career. I suppose it’s possible that 2008 is legit, but I’ll definitely need to see him do it again.

    McLouth, who was drafted lower than any of the guys we’ve talked about, I think may be legit.

    It’s just very unlikely that a guy who makes his debut at an advanced age will have a long career. For every Matt Stairs, there are a hundred Bob Hamelins and Ryan Freels.

  11. Phill

    I think the more worrisome thing is the media and fans obsession with Jeff Keppinger.

    I’m not giving Dickerson a starting job based on what he’s done so far but good god you have to be foolish to write it off as “He’s a 4th outfielder nothing more” or “Other guys have come out hot and they ended up sucking so why bother.”

    We can’t make a choice either way about his future(at least in fan’s eyes…who knows about this organizations ideas). I’d be perfectly happy if Dickerson can offer us adequate defense and hit in the .260s-.270s with a .350+ OBP. He’s shown a GREAT amount of patience at the plate. I want to see how he does in spring training. If he can continue to play well you really have to give him a shot.

  12. mhopp

    Remember that Roy Oswalt was drafted in the 23rd round and stomps the Reds like nothing. Dickerson could very well be what Dusty wanted Patterson to be and more…speed, little pop in bat from lefty at GABP, defense in CF, but also doesn’t strike out a lot. I say next year is: Stubbs/Dickerson in CF, Bruce in a corner and Hopper in the other corner. Who knows? I’d like to see a seasoned outfielder but I don’t know what Castaloony is planning to spend

  13. catcard202

    I don’t think any realistic fan would expect Dickerson to continue hitting like he has through his first 70+ AB’s…but if he can provide solid D and hit at a .265 clip…and do it for $400K-500K/yr. He’s well worth a roster spot, whether it’s as a starting OF or end of the bench guy.

  14. T. Brennaman

    He’s not the same player we saw in spring training.

  15. John of Muncie

    I want to see Dickerson get the same chances Patterson and Hopper and Freel have gotten. So many guys on these discussions have ruled him out after less than 100 PAs. Let’s see what he can do rather than ruling him out on how he projects. I’m not saying he’ll be the next coming of Eric Davis, but if the guy keeps Corey Patterson off this team, let Dickerson play.

  16. Shawn

    I like Jon Nunnally, and was very disappointed that he didn’t develop. He was very talented.

  17. Mark in CC

    Maybe this is old school thinking, but guys with more seasoning are fundamentally better. From what I have seen Dickerson has a better grasp of the mental and physical fundamentals than guys who have been rushed. I think perfect examples are Dunn and Kearns who would have both been better all around ball players had they spent a full season – AAA. I think some of the rookie mistakes you see from Jay Bruce are becasue he needed a little more development.

    Keep in mind George Foster stated for the Reds as a 22 year old in 1972, went back to the minors and didn’t start full time until he was 26. Those Reds had a little deeper talent for him to compete against but bottom line he wasn’t a 23 year old success.

    If for no other reason than what he has shown so far Dickerson deserves an opportunity to go to spring training penciled in as a starter in center or left.

  18. GregD

    Obviously, he’s not likely going to be something in the majors that he hasn’t been his whole professional career. Even in college he wasn’t a .300 hitter. And he strikes out A LOT … 233times in 703 AAA at-bats

    If that’s something you feel are most important in your leadoff hitter, then your honeymoon with Dickerson is going to be very short, indeed.

    However, if he can hit 260-270 with a 360 OBP, a good CF defense and speed, then he would be an above average lead-off hitter for this team.

    A .360 OBP as a regular in the #1 spot (I sorted ESPN.com data for #1 w/ more than 200 plate appearances) would rank 13th in leadoff hitter OBP. A .370 OBP is 10th best.

  19. Mr. Redlegs

    Yet no one seems to believe Bruce’s position isn’t iffy, especially if he has a poor spring? If you’re the GM, do you shop for a more reliable player for right field this offseason?

    No one’s questioning Bruce’s tools, but the readiness might not be there yet. You don’t hand him a job based on tools. If they have a viable player they can acquire for right field until Bruce proves he’s definitely ready, don’t you make that deal?

    (And no, this isn’t about a specific player to be acquired; it’s about the player currently in the slot)

  20. Matt Steele

    Nah, Bruce will be fine. Not everyone can be Ryan Braun in their first year. He’ll be much better next year. We’re not going to contend next year (or at least it’s highly improbable we will) so its best to let him continue to develop in the majors.

  21. Mark in CC

    If you project Dickerson’s 2008 Louisville season to 150 games played (he actually played 85) it would have been. .276, 95 R, 146 H, 20 2b, 14 3b, 18 HR, 79 RBI, 82 walks, 40 SB.

    Those aren’t bad. His history also shows he has been better the second year in a league than the first which means he makes adjustments which many highly touted prospects (like Homer) don’t. At this point his minor league career Chris is comporable, in stats, to the 1st pick Drew Stubbs.

    He has one very poor year in Sarasota but his career shows when he has a second year at the same location he improves.

  22. Chris

    Mark, you were touting seasoning and experience, and talking about rookie mistakes. Have you seen Dickerson on the bases lately?

  23. GRF

    Because everything ultimately must relate back to Corey Patterson (and/or Adam Dunn) this is why his continued presence on the team annoys me. Dickerson may not be starting material next year but his performance certainly at least puts him in contention for one next year. Getting rid of patterson does not make a difference in terms of meaningful wins and losses now, but every at bat he takes decreases the chances of finding/ giving experience to someone like Dickerson. Same thing happened for most of the season in Cleveland with Delucci and their young outfielders.

  24. Phill

    Have you seen any of the Reds on the bases lately?

  25. Mike

    Keep Dickerson in the mix for next year. So far we can’t complain about his contact hitting, speed, defensive skill and ability to get on base. Nice to have a guy who’s not always concentrating on the long ball.

  26. Tyler

    to tell the truth, he kinda reminds me a bit like grady sizemore, maybe not as good, but seems to have similar skills, at least in his few mlb AB’s. maybe we’ll get lucky, really hope he gets as good a shot as patterson. just thought i’d throw it out there, don’t yell haha

  27. mike

    Dickerson may not be starting material next year but his performance certainly at least puts him in contention for one next year.

    why? why is it that a handful of PA hitting well “puts him in contention”? Is it because Reds management can’t add or subtract? or is the division that really gets them?

  28. GregD

    Bruce’s position isn’t iffy.

    WRT, it’s about chances. Just as a terrible Sept will weigh on a player’s chances to become a regular, so can a great Sept. Votto helped himself last year even after a terrible spring this year.

    Dickerson’s minor league numbers don’t beg him not to be in the starting lineup. Though they do suggest that if he does play, he contribute solid CF defense and leadoff. If he can’t do both of those things, he should be the 4th/5th OFer.

  29. mike

    Nah, Bruce will be fine. Not everyone can be Ryan Braun in their first year. He’ll be much better next year. We’re not going to contend next year (or at least it’s highly improbable we will) so its best to let him continue to develop in the majors.

    agreed, Bruce will be fine.

    There is one tiny chance the Reds get to .500 next year.
    Bruce, Votto, EE and Cueto are likely to improve.
    but everything rides on what the Reds do in the off season. They need to fill LF or RF, CF, SS, and C. My guess is they will keep the status quo with most of these positions next year and start some combination of Patterson/Freel/Hariston Jr/Dickerson in CF, Hanigan at C, and whatever SS they can find. If the OF is Dickerson, Patterson and Bruce this team will be awful.

    Harang, Arroyo, and Phillips are all doing worse this year than last. Harang will rebound but the other two?