CODY DICKSON, LEFT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: April 27, 1992
Drafted: 4th Round, 119th Overall, 2013
How Acquired: Draft
College: Sam Houston State
WTM’S PLAYER PROFILE
|Like the Pirates’ second-round pick, Blake Taylor, Dickson is a LHP with good size. Baseball America had him ranked 157th among draft prospects. He has better stuff than typical of a fourth-round LHP, but his draft status was hurt by inconsistent command during his junior season. He had a rough stretch in which he lost the strike zone and was dropped from the rotation. In fact, he had issues with walks throughout his college career. Dickson throws mainly in the low-90s and has reached 95, but still has some projection left. At his best, he throws an above-average curve and change. That arsenal could make him a mid-rotation starter if he can straighten out his command issues. He signed quickly for slightly below the slot amount.
Dickson had a good debut, one that got better as time went on; he allowed no earned runs in seven of his last eight starts. He had control issues at times, but opponents hit only .209 against him and he fanned more than a batter an inning. He had a reverse platoon split, as lefties hit .286 against him and righties only .174. He was a flyball pitcher.
It was a little disappointing to see the Pirates send Dickson to West Virginia rather than Bradenton, but he struggled badly in the first half of the season before turning things around. He went from 5.58 ERA and 1.68 WHIP in his first 13 starts to a 2.45 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in his last 14. He also had gopher ball problems in the first half, going from one every seven and a half innings to one every 23. Dickson didn’t have a huge platoon split, allowing an .804 OPS to righted handed batters and .732 to left handed batters.
Dickson spent the season at Bradenton and had an up-and-down season. He had a 3.33 ERA in April and May, then 5.56 in June, largely due to control problems. After June it was 3.97. He had a low K rate for the season and opponents hit .272 against him. He was tough on left-handed batters, holding them to a .650 OPS, compared to .716 for right-handed hitters. He did well at keeping the ball in the park, allowing only five HRs, although his opponents’ slugging average of .358, which seems good, was actually higher than the league average.
The Pirates moved Dickson up to Altoona, where he stayed in the rotation until the end of the year, when Nick Kingham went there on rehab. Dickson struggled to throw strikes all season, leading the league by a wide margin in walks. His stuff was good enough that he was often able to pitch around the walks. Opponents batted a modest .252 against him, but had an OBP of .376. He especially struggled with left-handed hitters, allowing them an OBP of .398. Dickson frequently had to come out of games early, despite having allowed no runs or one run, because his pitch counts were high. The wildness did not improve at all over the course of the season.
Dickson was eligible for the Rule 5 draft and wasn’t selected. A little surprisingly, the Pirates invited him to major league camp in 2017 and decided to move him to the bullpen, and also to promote him to AAA. He pitched in relief and made spot starts in AAA until late June, when the Pirates sent him to Altoona. In AA, he mostly pitched as a starter. He eventually returned to AAA in late August. Dickson had significant control issues, especially as a starter. Opponents had a .425 OBP against him as a starter. In six AAA starts, he got past the third inning only once. In six Altoona starts, he went five twice.
Dickson won’t be eligible for free agency until fall 2019. He’s not making a lot of progress with his control issues and moving to the bullpen didn’t help that much.
|2018: Minor league contract|
|Signing Bonus: $375,000
MiLB Debut: 2013
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 7, 2013: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 4th round, 119th overall pick; signed on June 14.|