Corey Dickerson: Thanks “Splits” Page

As my first RotoGraphs post, I dwelled way too long on this title: Coresistency Dickerson? Too corny. Corey Dickersplits? Too dirty. In any case, you can see from any of these titles where I’m going.

As the season winds down, I’m in trade mode, and I keep finding myself in trade discussions with Corey Dickerson owners. I am a win-now type of guy and therefore am all-in on trading prospects for sure-things when it comes to dynasty/keeper leagues. Dickerson was in an interesting boat for me: Do I buy? In the one league I have him, do I sell? While I would love to see him in front of or behind Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki and Nolan Arenado on a more consistent basis (he’s full-time now, but the trio is rarely healthy), his Splits Page has me convinced.

Usually I stroll down the splits page and get excited by some segments and turned off by others, but I was satisfied throughout…

Let’s get the batting average on balls in play discussion out of the way:

Sure, a .376 BABIP is one of the more inflated rates in baseball, but he’s in Colorado and late last month, Jeff Zimmerman verified his BABIP was still relatively elite, which on the surface is backed up by his 29.1% Line Drive rate. The 21.1% home run per fly ball ratio doesn’t hurt either: this is good for ninth in baseball right now (just ahead of Tulowitzki). His home run total is backed up through Jeff Zimmerman’s Baseball Heat Maps Actual vs. Expected HR Leader board (16 actual HR, but through angle and distance, he’s at an estimated 16.87 HR). For reference, his Fly Ball and Homerun average distance is also 35th overall at 294.89 feet (as of 8/14).

It’s probably the inflated infield hit-rate (16.5%) that is causing much of the inflation. From a power perspective, he is the real deal and we shouldn’t be too surprised. At 25 in Colorado, his isolated slugging (.253) even through the inflation is in line with his 2013 AAA (.260), 2012 AA (.229) and earlier elite numbers. Great hitting environments or not, that is where he is now too. Even away from Colorado, we’ll take the .200+ ISO (can’t complain of a .275+ batting average either).

Contact/Balls in Play Approach:

Contact isn’t a huge deal for sluggers, but initially his rate, 1+% under league average had me concerned, but what great contact it is! For those that qualify, Dickerson has the 9th best line-drive rate in baseball right now, and only Freddie Freeman, Matt Wieters and Daniel Murphy are guys you own that have better rates. While the HR/FB ratio is elite and it would be nice to have more fly balls for home run potential, his solid 33.5% rate also ensures his BABIP is not negatively affected.

The general ball in play breakdown: 37.4% ground ball rate; 33.5% fly ball rate; and 29.1% line drive rate is glorious considering the individual BABIPs, which you can find under the “Advanced” section in his splits page: .271 BABIP on Grounders, which might be a bit inflated for a non-speedster; .117 BABIP on Flies, which might be a bit low for a power hitting in Colorado; and a .727 BABIP on Liners. The .727 BABIP might look high to you, but generally speaking, 70+% of liners fall for hits, and Dickerson is a) a stud and B) in Colorado.

L/R Splits: Working our way back up the splits page, Dickerson has been good against lefties as well. Relative to vs. RHP, his average is 30 points lower and his K-rate is about 5% higher, but his wOBA and ISO vs. LHP is still 50-60 points higher than the league average.

Home/Road Splits: I already mentioned that he is fine away from home, but he is even more fine away vs. LHP. No concern here.

Consistency: He didn’t pull a Charlie Blackmon-like 2 months either. Instead, he consistently posted .380+ wOBA’s in April, May, June and August (.400+ in 3 of those), and his worst rate was a July .356 (45 points higher than league aver wOBA).

Location Location Location: While is Balls In Play breakdown (GB/FB/LD) is great, as or more great, is his Balls In Play location. Look at and play with this distribution:

Source: FanGraphs

5 of his 16 HR’s were to CF or RF. 67% of his hits overall were either to the center or opposite field so negative shift effects shouldn’t come into play for Corey. I think I’ve earned first name basis at this point, no?

Leverage/Pressure: He’s no playoff’s David Ortiz, but he’s batting .311 or higher in all leverage situations; batting .338 with RISP; and look at these averages with 2 strikes:
• 2 Balls-2 Strikes: .344
• 1 Ball -2 Strikes: .318
• 0 Balls-2 Strikes: .267

It took getting all the way to the Batting Order Splits to find his weakness:

Batting Order PA AVG
Batting 1st 26 0.174
Batting 2nd 80 0.400
Batting 3rd 39 0.184
Batting 4th 6 0.200
Batting 5th 79 0.352
Batting 6th 54 0.327
Batting 7th 24 0.435
Batting 8th 2 0.500
Batting 9th 17 0.250

…He’s not a leadoff or #3/4 hitter, and maybe pitchers have let up on him focusing on the more well-known trio, but hopefully The Rockies keep him near the middle of the order and at least in the lineup consistently moving forward. Owners should enjoy his ball in play approach and results during his peak years in Colorado. Paul Swydan said it best: play him every day; let Michael Cuddyer go and let Blackmon + Drew Stubbs platoon in center.

Daniel Schwartz contributes for RotoGraphs when he's not selling industry leading thermal packaging. You can follow him on twitter @RotoBanter

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In addition to the expected regression predicted by the xBABIP-BABIP discrepancy, wouldn’t it be fair to say that Dickerson will most likely see some level of decline in his line drive rate which would then drive his xBABIP even lower? Some HR/FB% regression is to be expected as well, so essentially you would be buying at the absolute peak of Dickerson’s value and hoping against hope that he can maintain that peak. The overall profile still looks like a quality performer even after regression, which makes me admittedly embarrassed that I didn’t pay closer attention to him prior to this season, but this isn’t a good time to buy him since even the more skeptical owners should be demanding a high price.

Also, Dickerson’s batting order splits really aren’t indicative of anything other than the noise you get from looking at very small samples. What logical reason would there be to believe Dickerson is unsuited for batting 4th while exceptional at batting 5th? I think you should have left that part out.


Agreed and agreed.


I have never seen the real math, but the anecotal, traditional thought is that #5 hitters see more fastballs.


Actually I believe it’s hitters higher in the order who see more fastballs and strikes in general.


You’d have to separate cause and effect if there’s a pattern.