Corey Dickerson Increases His All-Star Chances as Rays Rep

May 17, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) hits a three run home run during the second inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
May 17, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) hits a three run home run during the second inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

Corey Dickerson is making a strong case to represent the Tampa Bay Rays at this year’s All-Star Game in Miami as he continues to swing a hot bat.

What a difference a year makes as Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson has been off and running since day one of the season. Last year Dickerson could hardly hit a fly slashing though he did hit 24 home runs and drive in 70 most of which came in the second half of the season, there were also concerns of his poor defensive play in leftfield that in part led to the Rays signing of Colby Rasmus.

So the question is why such a turn-around… it sums up to a few factors for the change which starts with his losing weight, 25 pounds to be exact, finally feeling comfortable in his role as the primary designated hitter, playing in the AL and feeling like his old self.

“I feel like I’m getting back to my old self, Dickerson said. “I feel like I changed a lot last year. I was coming off an injury season, I didn’t feel like I had to make up at-bats, but probably really did. I took it to heart this offseason. Be myself and no matter what, have fun, and make sure I compete the way I compete.”

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More than anything, Ray’s manager Kevin Cash has stabilized Dickerson position in the lineup. Last season, Cash had Dickerson hit in just about any slot – doing this usually plays havoc with a hitter and it did affect Dickerson (.245/.293/.469). With the trade of Logan Forsythe, the Rays would be without a leadoff hitter so Cash decided during spring training that he would give Dickerson some at-bats coming out of the leadoff spot. The test worked and Corey Dickerson has found a new home as the Rays leadoff hitter where he has excelled.

Dickerson has batted leadoff in 29 games and is hitting .309/.361/.593 with eight home runs, 16 RBIs, with nine doubles and one triple. He also has struck out 27 times, walked nine times with 20 runs scored all coming as the designated hitter. Overall on the season, in 40 games played Dickerson is batting .335/.382/.608 with nine home runs, 18 RBIs, 12-2B, 2-3B, 9-HR, 96-TB, 11 walks with 35 strikeouts.

More impressive is that Dickerson is hitting left-handed pitchers, which he has had issues within the past. Last season, Dickerson slashed .241/.274/.315 (26-for-108) with two doubles, two home runs and 11 RBIs. He also struck out 35 times and had just four walks. So far, through 40 games against lefties Dickerson is hitting .362/.412/.596 with six doubles, one triple, one home run and two RBIs. He has struck out 10 times with four walks.

The All-Star ballot is filled with Rays positional/DH starters, however if you fill out the ballot the way it is supposed to be done – that is selecting the player based on his current stats and not how your heart feels, Dickerson is the only Rays player that is All-Star worthy.

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Dickerson leads all the designated hitters with a .331 average, 53 hits, 12-2B, 2-3B, 23-XBH, 96-TB and 25 runs scored.

In Wednesday’s game against the Indians, Dickerson added to his already impressive stats with another multi-hit day and continues to rank among the AL Leaders in average .335 (6th), 2B (12, T-4th), XBH (23, 2nd), total bases (96, 1st), and SLG (.608, 5th). In addition, he leads the AL in hits (53) and multi-hit games (18).

Putting it bluntly, Corey Dickerson is on fire. Over his last seven games he is hitting .367/.387/.800, he has popped three home runs in a span of two days, has had multi-hit games in three of his last four games, and driven in six while scoring seven runs. Over this span, he is tied with Jose Altuve for the most hits (11), tied for second in home runs (3), and is tied for fourth in RBIs (6). Moreover, if this is not enough to make a case as the Rays All-Star rep, he is hitting .343 in this month.

However, it was Tuesday night’s game that the Rays hit five homers with two of them coming off the bat of Dickerson. His second home run was a 449 ft. shot (video below) that went over the second set of trees in centerfield with a 107.5 exit velocity, and a launch angle of 28 degrees according to Statcast.

Through 43 games, the Rays have hit 59 home runs with 10 of them coming in the three-game series against Cleveland. The 10 home runs in a three-game series set a new team record and Dickerson was part of the onslaught as he hit three home runs in the final two games.

Next: Erasmo Ramirez Getting Another Chance to be a Starter

Corey Dickerson has excelled as the Rays leadoff hitter,  has been on fire since the start of the season and continues to make a strong case that he is worthy of becoming an All-Star.