Dickerson prepares for MLB Draft

The Major League Baseball draft begins at 7 p.m. tomorrow. It’s likely Alex Dickerson will be taken somewhere in the first 60 picks. My story for tomorrow’s paper.

Alex Dickerson said he’s not really interested in projections at this point. The Indiana junior left fielder stopped asking around about whether he’ll go in the first round, supplemental round, or some subsequent round of this week’s Major League Baseball first-year player draft.
At this point, he’s satisfied that he will be taken and taken early, and that’s all that really matters. Though he has another year of eligibility remaining, he said it’s fairly certain that he will go high enough to sign a contract and forego his senior season.
“I’m not talking too much about it,” he said from his home in Poway, Calif. “I’m just sitting back and letting it happen.”
The draft begins at 7 p.m. today with the first round and supplemental round, which will be broadcast from Seacaucus, N.J. on the MLB Network. It continues on Tuesday at noon with rounds 2-30 and on Wednesday at noon with rounds 31-50.
Internet mock drafts suggest that Dickerson won’t have to sit around very long. Most have the 6-foot-3, 225-pound left-hander going between the No. 40 and No. 60 pick. That puts him in the supplemental round of the draft, which occurs in between the first and second rounds and includes picks accrued by teams through losses in free agency.
IU coach Tracy Smith still thinks Dickerson can go before that and possibly become the first IU player to go in the first round since pitcher Eric Arnett in 2009 and just the second to go that high since third baseman Kevin Orie in 1993.
“He really came on toward the end,” Smith said. “And you never know what happens when teams have private workouts. I still think he could creep up a little bit higher.”
Dickerson was taken in the 48th round of the 2008 draft out of Poway High School near San Diego, Calif., and made a huge impression on scouts with arguably the best hitting career in Indiana history. He was a three-time All-Big Ten selection and was named Big Ten Player of the Year and an All-Amercan in 2010 when he won the Big Ten’s triple crown with a .419 batting average, 24 home runs and 75 RBIs.
Much like the rest of Division I hitters, Dickerson saw his power numbers take a hit this season thanks to the NCAA’s move to much less potent bats. He still finished fourth in the Big Ten in batting average at .367, tied for second in home runs with nine and fifth in RBIs with 49. He finished this season tied with Mike Smith and Mike Sabo for Indiana’s career-home run record with 47.
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Some scouts may have viewed Dickerson’s lowered power numbers as a sign that his power wouldn’t translate to a wooden bat. Smith said most were impressed, however, that he maintained his approach and didn’t press to hit homers.
“We were not getting production around him, but pitchers were still very careful with him and worked him away,” Smith said. I think scouts were impressed that he was willing to take base hits to left and doubles to left rather than try to yank home runs.”
One concern scouts have is Dickerson’s defense. He’s only committed five errors in his career at IU, but he doesn’t have great range in the outfield or a great arm. He was often used as a designated hitter for the Hoosiers this season. His bat will have to be superior for him to get to the big leagues.
“Every time I talk to the scouts, they say he’s not going to get to big leagues on his defense,” Smith said. “I think they’ll try him in the outfield see if he can do it. If he can’t handle it, they’ll move him over to first base.”
Beyond Dickerson, the Hoosiers have several other draft hopefuls. Junior left-hander Blake Monar, who was taken by the New York Yankees in the 26th round out of high school in 2008, could go between the fifth and fifteenth rounds, according to Smith. Monar was 6-3 with a 3.52 earned run average and 61 strikeouts in 79 1/3 innings this spring.
“He has a very, very good breaking ball,” Smith said. “… I think he would be a very good guy at getting lefties out. You don’t see a lot of guys who can spin a breaking ball like that.”
Seniors Wes Wilson, Jerrud Sabourin, and Matt Carr could also be selected, Smith said. Sabourin ended his career as Indiana’s all-time hits leader.

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