Corey Dickerson – 2016 Player Card
As we count down the days until the blessed return of baseball we’ll be bringing snapshots from a variety of angles for each of the significant players on this year’s upcoming Rays team. The format will be similar for each player and then we want to take a look at an individual thing for each player towards the end of each card. Think of these as a quick cheat sheet on what a player looks like.
Each card will start off with a heat map of each players zone and a spray chart of where they hit the ball by handedness of pitcher.
Then we’re going to fully dive into the Pitch F/x to produce stuff like this:
Over Dickerson’s career he has taken around 38% of pitches out of the zone and swung at 26% of these would-be balls. Note that Zone% in this instance refers to the rulebook strike zone and not the commonly called zone. RV* refers to his run values with park-adjusted home games. The adjustments are tailored to the handedness of the batter and apply each adjustment to each type of outcome. This means that a strikeout will be factored differently than a home run and so on. We will then follow up with a graph showing each player’s career actual run values, the park-adjusted version, and his swing and zone rates:
The dashed lines refer to each players career averages so that you can get a feel for when they over and under-performed established lines. In Dickerson’s case you can see that his increased swing rate has been met by a greater reluctance for pitchers to come in the zone. Perhaps he has crossed the point of assertiveness and is trekking into the land of aggressiveness. Even after adjusting for his home games in Coors Field he has been an above average hitter and this does not correct for the “Coors Effect” that we established recently. Next, we will throw out the taken pitches and look solely at swings:
Contact% refers to balls in play while Whiff% refers to swing-and-miss offerings. You can see that Corey Dickerson is a phenomenal hitter when he’s staying within the zone with higher contact rates, lower whiff rates and better run values. This shouldn’t be a surprise. We can also graph these things:
His whiff rate has been trending upwards throughout his career and while this didn’t hamper his ability to put the ball in play for much of his career it does look like that has started to take a toll in the most recent performance. You can infer the batters foul ball rate by summing these two figures and subtracting from 100%. Next we will move on to just the balls in play:
Batting average and slugging percentage on contact are very useful tools for us, but please note that these are not park-adjusted. Again, we see what a monster Dickerson can be when he’s staying with the zone, but even when he’s putting the ball in play on less enticing pitches he’s showing quite a bit of success. We will feature these same three tables and graphs for all players of interest, but then we want to take a look at a couple of things that we think our worth exploring within the constraints of time. One thing we have found is that Corey is an aggressive hitter that is willing to expand his zone. When he barrels the ball he has some success, but what about when he doesn’t?
This is from the catcher’s perspective so imagine Dickerson standing on the right-hand side of the plate. The dotted line shows the commonly called zone while the solid lines refer to the rulebook zone. We see some secondary stuff down, but not a whole lot of that within the zone. He will swing and miss on the fastball from time to time even when it’s a hittable pitch in the zone. All that white space on the inner third implies that he doesn’t miss very often in there. As we noted recently Dickerson has an incredible batted ball distribution. By looking to take the fastball the other way and up the middle he leaves himself in an excellent position to adjust to slower stuff by being able to pull for power. I think that is a good reason for why you see so few whiffs on secondary stuff in the zone. You might be able to get him to whiff below the zone, but if you leave it up heaven help you. In this same vein let’s look at his takes:
He doesn’t whiff much on the inner third, and it’s not because he’s taking those offerings a whole lot, either. The majority of his takes are away, away, away and my guess is that pitchers try to pound him there. You see a lot of back door breaking balls that either stay off or catch the edge, but again, if you miss you’re playing right into his hands. Dickerson has a mature approach at the plate and the ability to deal damage when a pitcher misses.