Dickerson First Ray Since 2010 Elected as All-Star Starter

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 28: Corey Dickerson
PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 28: Corey Dickerson /

Corey Dickerson becomes the first Tampa Bay Rays player to be voted in by the fans as an All-Star starter since 2010 thanks to a late surge in the final weeks.

For the past seven years, the Tampa Bay Rays have not had a player elected by the fans as a starter for the All-Star Game. The “seven-year itch” streak finally ended as the fans took notice and voted Corey Dickerson as the American League designated hitter.

This is a well deserving honor for Corey Dickerson, as through 79 games he has been outstanding for the Rays batting .325 with 17 home runs, 40 RBIs and a .925 OPS , which has equaled his final numbers from 2016 when he hit 17 home runs with 40 RBIs, though batting just .245 with a .761 OPS.

Dickerson was running a distant fourth for most of the voting period amongst the other designated players, which included Nelson Cruz, Matt Holliday and Edwin Encarnacion despite leading the AL in most offensive categories. However, in the final month of the voting Dickerson began his climb to the top and by June 29, the final day of voting he had jumped ahead of Nelson Cruz to take over first place.

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“When he’s feeling good at the plate, he’s as dangerous as anybody in baseball,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “The fact that he can beat you to all parts of the field.”

When the final results were announced on ESPN Sunday night, Dickerson would become the first Rays player since Carl Crawford in 2010 voted by the fans to the All-Star Game and only the fourth in franchise history to hold that honor joining Jose Canseco (1999), Evan Longoria (2009, 2010) and Crawford (2010).

“Winning the fan vote showed how much the fans care, and how much it is a fans’ game. It feels like that hard work is appreciated and I’m very thankful,” said Dickerson.

Acquired from the Colorado Rockies prior to the 2016 season along with Kevin Padlo, for Jake McGee and German Marquez, Dickerson’s first season with the Rays was frustrating in many ways. He got off to a slow start, hitting just .230 through the first half, was beset with numerous injuries, plus making the change from the NL to the AL along with not playing the field on an everyday basis to being a DH all factored into 2016.

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Although he would have a strong finish, hitting .326 with eight home runs, 16 RBIs and eight two-baggers over his final 24 games, Dickerson was not satisfied with his overall season’s performance and decided to do something about it.

So during the off-season he would begin a diet and exercise program to increase his flexibility, range of motion – being his main area of focus among other areas. He would arrive at spring training 25 pounds lighter and it is clearly visible that his off-season program has already paid dividends.

“The way he’s hit the ball, and the approach he’s taken this year, going the other way. … The way he puts pressure on opposing pitchers and just continues and just continues to battle,” said Cash on Dickerson’s effort.

For years I always thought that the fans All-Star vote was a popularity contest as so many players that were deserving of the honor of being a starter were left off in favor of the less deserving player. It seemed that if you played in a large market or a city with a team, someone from that team was headed to the Mid-Summer Classic.

Let’s face it, the Tampa Bay Rays are not in a large market, nor do they have the fortune of sellout crowds on a daily basis. I would assume that the majority of Ray’s players getting votes from the locals came via the internet, compared to those voting when at Tropicana Field.

Next: Rays, Marlins Team Up for All Star Game Final Vote

However, this is not necessarily the big issue as much as the fans voting for the most deserving player at their position based on their statistics leading up to the All-Star game… the baseball fans from all over took notice and got it right voting for Corey Dickerson.