In a season full of changes, could Miami Marlins outfielder Corey Dickerson become a difference-maker at the plate?
I say this with a bit of excitement since I have been preaching that in a shortened season, no one should sleep on the Marlins and the possibility of a playoff run this season. Hopefully, my fandom doesn’t get the best of me as I await the start of the 2020 MLB season.
Kelly writes, in his latest piece on the website, the deal the Marlins made this offseason to bring in outfielder Corey Dickerson to play one of the corner outfield spots in a newly configured Marlins Park will have an impact on the franchise this season.
Miami Marlins fans and the front office surely hope so.
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"“Dickerson has been an above-average hitter (by OPS+) in each of his six full seasons as a big leaguer, and that alone should be an asset to a Marlins club that boasted just one qualified, above-average hitter (Brian Anderson) last year,” Kelly writes. “In fact, as MLB.com’s Richard Justice pointed out in December, Dickerson is one of only 23 hitters to put up an above-average batting line six years running, and his 121 OPS+ across that span is essentially the same as Justin Upton.”"
There is an injury concern, but the Marlins felt they needed someone who could put the ball in play and help a lineup that was plenty porous in 2019. Right now, because of the changes to the 2020 season and the reshuffle of camp, Dickerson is the only one guaranteed a starting role in the outfield. Jonathan Villar should start in centerfield, but there is a chance he will open the season as the team’s designated hitter.
The Miami Marlins do have a new look to them this season, with more concentration on outfielders who can hit for power with another hitter in the lineup. The team could also be a lot younger than in 2019 because of the influx of prospects the team has worked to bring along slowly through the farm system.
Kelly also believes the addition of Dickerson will be an asset defensively this season.
"“He was also a top-15 outfielder by Statcast’s Outs Above Average defensive metric as recently as 2018. He could be the Marlins’ best all-around player this year, and Miami signed him to a team-friendly two-year deal,” Kelly adds. “And hey, if there was ever a year when this Marlins club could make a run and get into the mix, it’s 2020.”"
Something else I agree with. Dickerson’s signing has been one of the least-talked about moves this offseason for the Marlins front office. That might be enough for a breakout season, which would surprise many. It would also mean the team made the right move to bring in someone with a low-risk, high reward type of deal.
Dickerson figures to be huge part of the Miami Marlins offense this season, even if it is in an abbreviated time frame.