Dickinson Overcoming Odds

Dickinson Overcoming Odds

Spencer Dickinson has proved he can hit in the Pioneer League when he lit up opponents with a .365 average before his promotion to Dayton at the end of last month. The outfielder came into the Cincinnati organization as an undrafted free agent. He's graduated from the rookie leagues and is trying to continue overcoming the odds now at the single A level.

Dayton tied their game at Great Lakes when they scored their second run in the top of the sixth only to lose the lead in the bottom of the inning in a 5-2 loss. Spencer Dickinson had his best day at the plate since he was promoted from Billings at the end of July. The outfielder went 2-5 with a walk and an RBI. Joe Terry and Kyle Waldrop added two hits each. Robert Stephenson took the bump and allowed one run on three hits in four innings while striking out five. Lucas O'Rear relieved him and allowed three runs (two earned) in 1+ innings for the loss.

When Dickinson was younger there were likely many who predicted he would one day be hitting a ball professionally. However, not many of them would have expected it to be a baseball. He's the son of two professional golfers, Gardner and Judy Dickinson. As a youth he spent many hours on a golf course. When he reached middle school he opted to leave the links and focus on his preferred sport.

Dickinson was good enough to play at Florida State University until a shoulder injury in his non-throwing arm put him on the sidelines. He eventually transferred to St. Petersburg College where he was teammates with current Dragon Sean Buckley. In the MLB draft every team selects players for fifty rounds and nary one of those picks was used for Dickinson. He was planning to continue playing collegiately at South Alabama, but sometimes one's fate is changed by being in the right place at the right time. While at St. Pete he was noticed by Buckley's father Chris who is the senior director of amateur scouting for the Reds. He eventually signed a contract with the Reds and started playing in the rookie leagues in 2011.

Last season he hit .283 while splitting the season between Arizona and Billings, including a .302 average with the Mustangs. He started out there again this season and proved it was no fluke by lighting up Pioneer League pitchers for a .365 AVG/.462 OB% in fifteen games. That earned him a ticket to single A and the end of last month.

Dickinson stands 5'10"/180# and bats/throws right-handed. Nearly all of his minor league action has been in the outfield. He's committed nine errors in 77 games, but three of them came in rare appearances at third base. He has a strong arm and has thrown out six base-runners in his 39 appearances in center field. Offensively he's shown impressive discipline and drawn walks in 14% of his plate appearances. He's been described as having a calm approach with good bat speed. As a minor leaguer he's slugging over .400, but right now his power is limited to gaps with only three homers.

In the MLB world where each team selects so many players in the draft and then mine the Caribbean for additional talent, the odds are not in favor of undrafted free agents. Yet sometimes players overcome them like Ryan Hanigan. The current Reds catcher was an undrafted free agent that has provided the Reds with a solid receiver now in his sixth major league season and earning over $1M/year. Dickinson can already be considered an overachiever as he tries to overcome similar odds. The 22 year-old has graduated from the rookie leagues and the Midwest League will be his next challenge. He's already hit enough at Billings to earn him some kind of extended look with the Dragons, draft pick or not.

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