Born: April 27, 1992
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 190
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Drafted: 4th Round, 119th Overall, 2013
How Acquired: Draft
College: Sam Houston State
Agent: N/A


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.

A-:  2-0-0, 2.37 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 57.0 IP, 3.8 BB/9, 9.3 K/9

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.

A:  7-9-0, 3.90 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 129.1 IP, 4.0 BB/9, 7.2 K/9

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.

A+:  12-7-0, 4.13 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 141.2 IP, 3.3 BB/9, 6.2 K/9

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.

AA:  10-5-1, 3.66 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 140.0 IP, 6.0 BB/9, 6.8 K/9

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.

AA:  2-4-0, 5.85 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, 32.1 IP, 5.6 BB/9, 8.6 K/9
AAA:  4-3-0, 4.73 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, 40.0 IP, 6.3 BB/9, 7.7 K/9

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
MLB Debut:
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.

  • BlueBomber72
    June 15, 2012 8:42 am

    Wonder what the Cubs want for Dempster? He would be an effective summer rental if we want to try to stay in it.

    • The Pirates have no reason to trade for SP when their need for hitting is so glaring. Even with Morton out they still have no fewer than 8 legitimate SP options for 5 spots.
      Reality is that they are not a contender, its time to see what Locke and Owens can do. Find that out first then later in the year assess McPherson and Wilson. If Locke and Owens pitch well you can trade one year guys like Bedard in late July.

      • BlueBomber72
        June 15, 2012 11:25 am

        I cannot disagree that the Pirates need hitting, but who’s to say they couldn’t add both? Dempster may be the best player available right now, and he could be one of multiple additions. I think the ‘reality’ is Neal needs try to improve THIS team right NOW. Unless we totally tank, I can’t see how giving MLB auditions to Owens, Wilson, or Locke helps us now. I’d rather see one of them sent out for a chance at being competitive all summer.

        • john.alcorn
          June 15, 2012 1:43 pm

          I guess we disagree on the importance of now. I just don’t see any realistic way that we are a playoff contender without significant moves. The price for SP is far greater than the price for hitters in trade. We arn’t close enough to being a playoff team to spend prospects to fill both areas. We could however spend on a multi-year fix on offense like Headley and solve one problem for the next Pirate contender.
          Honestly, I hate the way this team does not evaluate prospects during the season. They seem to want to delay looking at a player in the bigs in order to flirt with .500 (which as they state is not the goal). So, we end up the offseason not knowing what we have internally and we waste money on veteran one or two year fixes. For example, they should have seen what Hague could do last year, but they waited and now we have to use ab’s this year to do it. This year they should see what Owens, Locke, Wilson, Welker and Morris can do. They need to know if they need more SP/RP for 2013. Instead innings are wasted on Correia who stinks and will not be back. More innings go to guys like Resop who has no upside and shoudl be easily replaced.
          They claim they arn’t playing for .500, but that is exactly how they make decisions.

          • BlueBomber72
            June 15, 2012 2:34 pm

            They should be playing for every win they can scratch out. The absence of they guys you mention can only mean that Neal and co. have evaluated them and determined that they cannot help the team right now. Why else would they not be here? No one is blocking anyone at the MLB level. The Pirates need improvement at 7 positions and 2 or 3 pitching spots. If the minor leaguers can’t contribute now, go get someone who can. The Pirates are playing well in what appears to be a weak division plus there is another wildcard spot. 85 wins might be enough to get in the post season.

          • john.alcorn
            June 15, 2012 3:39 pm

            I would love to see 85 wins, but I highly doubt they can come near that without major upgrades offensively.
            They do have a lot of games left against Chicago and Houston, so that will help, but you can’t be dead last in runs and contend.
            I hope you are right, but I’m not seeing much difference between this year and last year. And we have two rotation spots for 2013 nailed down with AJ and JMac. That leaves 3 spots to fill and I’d rather audition for those now than guess in the winter.