Height: 6′ 3″, Weight: 180 lb. Born: April 27, 1992 in Mansfield, Texas
Drafted: Pittsburgh Pirates in the 4th round of the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft
Favorite Player: Randy Johnson / Michael Young
The Cody Dickson Story
As a youngster growing up in Mansfield Texas, Cody Dickson enjoyed watching a dominant Randy Johnson mow down opponents from the left side of the mound. He envisioned that one day he would be doing just the same. Dickson came one step closer to his dream when the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted him in the 4th round of the 2013 draft.
Even before starting his college career at Sam Houston State the young lefty starred on the mound for Mansfield Summit High School. Dickson went 15-6 in his junior and senior years setting a team record for wins. Once he arrived to Sam Houston State he was thrust right into action his freshman year starting in 11 games and appearing in three more. The southpaw finished with a 4-1 record and 52 strike outs in only 45.2 innings. Things looked to be progressing upward for Dickson as his sophomore season began at Sam Houston State but when the season came to and end it was a season of both good and bad. Dickson tossed 72 innings in 18 appearances (14 starts) and had a record of 4-5. While he did lower his ERA a full run and his walks ratio dropped to 4.75/9, his strikeouts also dropped. In his freshman year he averaged 10.17/9 while in his sophomore year that number dropped substantially to 5.75/9. Dickson would need a strong junior year to improve his draft stock.
During his junior year, Dickson saw an increase in innings to 95 even though he only started one more game than the prior year. A big reason for his increase in innings is due to throwing 3 complete games, including 2 shutouts. Dickson picked up 9 wins on the year while taking the loss 5 times. Dickson held runners off the base paths better than he had in his college career only allowing 61 hits in his 95 innings of work. The lefty also saw his strikeout rate increase back to a respectable 8.62/9.
As the draft approached there was much to like about Dickson. While the numbers showed the lefty had some control issues with walks, scouts were tantalized with Dickson’s potential. The lefty features a low to mid-90s fastball with tremendous movement. Dickson’s secondary offerings are a potentially devastating change-up which also has a good deal of movement and a curveball coming from the left side of the mound. The potential to have three quality major league pitches had many scouts intrigued in his upside. Dickson didn’t have to wait long for his name to be called on the second day of the amateur draft. The Pittsburgh Pirates selected him with their 4th round selection and he quickly signed with the organization. He was able to make his pro-debut with the Jamestown Jammers of the NY-Penn League. The Pirates were cautious to watch the south paws innings during his first pro-experience, but Dickson made quite an impression. He threw an additional 57 innings in 14 starts with the Jammers, finishing 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA. Dickson saw his walk totals drop to the lowest of his career (3.79/9) while his strikeout totals inched upward to 9.32/9.
The Pirates promoted Dickson to start the 2014 season to the West Virginia Power, their full season A affiliate in the South Atlantic League. Dickson got off to a great start in his season debut with the Power only allowing three base runners in his five innings of work. He also fanned seven batters while walking none. After that start things went south for Dickson, who struggled through his next 12 starts. Near the halfway point of the year Dickson saw his ERA balloon to 5.58 and opposing batters were reaching base at an alarming rate. The lefty kept believing in his stuff and the coaching staff. Instead of getting behind in counts, Dickson worked hard to repeat his delivery and throw strikes. Instead of throwing from behind, giving the opposition good pitches to hit, they hit his pitches and his fielders did the rest. It truly was a tale of two seasons. In his final 14 starts had an ERA of 2.45 and kept runners off the bases at a better rate. Dickson finished the season 7-9 with an ERA of 3.90 in 129.1 innings.
Heading into 2015, Dickson looks to keep applying the philosophies of the Pirates organization and hopes that it translates into even better results on the field. While assignments won’t be decided for a few months it’s a good bet that Dickson will be pitching for the Bradenton Marauders in 2015. As he continues to refine his game we will continue to update you on his progress as he chases his dream to the majors. Be sure to follow him on twitter @CDickson18 and follow us at @CTD_Sypien as we will provide updates on Cody all season long and into the future.
Seven Questions with Cody Dickson
1. What was draft day like for you? What were you doing when you got the news the Pirates had selected you?
Draft day was pretty surreal. I had a feel of where I would go in the draft, but until your name actually gets called you really don’t know. It was one of the most exciting days of my life so far, and it’s something I have set my mind on doing since I was 3-4 years old. At the same time I knew it wasn’t over yet that it really had just begun. It was a blessing to be drafted and to get the chance to move to the next level and the big leagues is what I strive for every day. It’s not enough to me to just get drafted. I’ve pushed myself everyday to get where I am today. I feel very fortunate to be where I am and very humble of where I am but the draft was a door opening for where I can be. When I got the call from my area scout from the Pirates I didn’t have but 1 minute to give him an answer, I was with my family at home in Texas when I heard my name being called on T.V. and it was a feeling like no other, something I really just can’t put into words.
2. Heading into the draft did you have any idea the Pirates would be the team?
I had an idea the Pirates where interested, I visited with them a lot before the draft. But I honestly had no idea what team would be the one that drafted me.
3. Give a bit of a scouting report on what you bring to the mound. What pitches do you throw?
I throw a Fastball, Curve, and Change up. I am very determined and confident when I am on the mound and manage the game with good composure throughout the good and throughout the rough times. I love challenging hitters.
4. 2014 was your first in full season in professional baseball. Did anything surprise you compared to short season and college ball?
Not really so much a surprise because the Pirates really helped us in short season to be prepared for the next level and in spring training as well. The way you pitch guys seems to be different at each level and really just knowing and trusting your body and your arm. I am beyond blessed to have been drafted by the Pirates and to learn from all the knowledge that is around us. The staff prepares us for the big leagues.
5. Is there any particular coach or instructor that stands out that has really helped you get to this point that you’re at in your career?
The coaching staffs I have had in both short season and first full season have been unbelievable. They have all been completely open with helping not just on the field but off the field as well. Every coach/instructor I have worked with so far have all helped me in some way. They have helped guide me where I am at this point. Last year I had a great all around coaching staff that all helped us pitchers improve in all areas of the game. I could talk to hitting coach about maybe how certain hitters swings are or what they saw from hitter standpoint things like that and you can tell they all woke up every morning excited to be at the field. They work hard at getting us to the big leagues.
6. Looking ahead to the 2015 season is there any particular part of your game you need to work on to keep progressing towards the major leagues?
There is always something to work on. I know I have a lot of stuff to improve on to reach my absolutely potential and be the best I can be. Right now I am focusing on staying smooth, loose, fluid, and yet aggressive in my delivery to be more consistent throughout games and outings.
7. What has your off-season been like? Do the Pirates give you instructions of things to do so you’re ready for spring training?
Off season is mainly just getting prepared for the next season. I’m lifting weights, conditioning and healthy eating. They do help us with off-season stuff to do weight room wise and conditioning wise. They are always available to contact if we have questions about anything.
A Few For Fun
1. Who was your favorite player growing up?
I loved watching Randy Johnson as well as Michael Young
2. What’s your go to activity to do on long bus rides?
On long bus rides if I’m not catching up on sleep I am usually either watching movies or tv shows to pass the time.
3. What has been the highlight of your pro career so far?
Highlight of my pro career so far would be really the friendships I have made with these guys on my team and the excitement when you see them perfect what they where working on or the great games they have and the excitement when you see them get the jump up to the next level.
A special thanks to Cody Dickson for taking some time out of his schedule to chat with us. We look forward to following him all season long and into the future. Please remember to give him a follow on twitter @CDickson18 and like Chasing MLB Dreams on Facebook and follow us on twitter @CTD_Sypien as we continue to feature and follow all of our featured players as they chase their way to the major leagues.