Pittsburgh Pirates: Top Five Prospects LHP

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Former Pirate’s left-handed Justin Wilson; Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Former Pirate’s left-handed Justin Wilson; Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

#4: Cody Dickson

Cody Dickson was a fourth round pick in the 2013 draft.  He was selected out of Sam Houston State. During the draft he was rated at the 157th best prospect in the draft.  He entered the Pirates’ system as the 2nd best left-handed prospect right behind Blake Taylor.  Once Taylor was dealt he became the Pirate’s top left-handed prospect.

Dickson is not your generic left-handed pitcher.  He possesses great size at 6’3” and 180 pounds.  The now 24 year-old is being used as a starter at AA Altoona.  In fact, he has been used as a starter in his whole career with the Pirates’ organization.

The Sam-Houston State product has been fairly inconsistent in his minor league career thus far.  This was a big knock on him coming out of the draft in 2013.  Dickson throws relatively hard for a lefty, his fastball sits 92-94 and has touched 95 at times.  His curve-ball and change-up are considered to be above average pitches.  This issue with Dickson is his command.  He will lose the strike zone at times and throws a lot of pitches every start.

On the year Dickson is not off to a good start.  In his four starts thus far he has a 0-2 record with a 6.23 ERA.  Batters are posting a .300 average off him while his WHIP is at a high 1.96.  He also has walked more batters than he has struck out with a ratio of 13/10.  Lastly, he has given up three home runs in four starts.  All around, not a good year for him.

On his minor league career, Dickson owns a 3.86 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP.  All of these numbers project that Dickson may not be a very good starting pitching prospect to rely on down the road.  However, his numbers and profile fits a similar left-handed pitcher that the Pirates had in their organization a few years ago.  Justin Wilson was very similar to Dickson. Both possessed good size and good stuff, but had trouble harnessing their pitches.  The Pirates gave Wilson plenty of opportunities to start, but were able to translate him into an effective reliever.

If the Pirates decide to go this route with Dickson he very well could find himself a new opportunity.  This is why he is on this list.  Dickson’s fastball out of the pen will sit around 95 miles per hour and he will be more likely to trust his stuff and go right at hitters.  The Pirates took this approach and philosophy with Justin Wilson and Tony Watson and both have become very good lefty reliever in the league.  Dickson has the stuff to be a good pitcher in the MLB, if he can transition to the bullpen he could be a dangerous left-handed option.

Next: From College Champion to Pirate Prospect