Real or not: Wainwright is awesome again, Yankees have another great outfielder

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Before we talk about Adam Wainwright jersey the pitcher, let’s talk about Adam Wainwright jersey the hitter. His two-run homer off Brandon McCarthy jersey — his second of the season — provided the only runs as the St. Louis Cardinals jersey beat the Los Angeles Dodgers jersey 2-0 on Thursday. Hard to believe, but this was the first time in franchise history that the Cardinals threw a shutout with all the runs provide by a pitcher’s home run. That’s impressive enough, but here are some numbers that will blow your mind:

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Last 85 plate appearances:Bryce Harper jersey10 XBH & 16 RBIMike Trout jersey13 XBH & 18 RBI#STLCards Adam Wainwright jersey14 XBH & 25 RBI — Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) June 1, 2017 Ryan Spaeder was one off on the extra-base hits — Wainwright has 13, not 14, in that span — but he has driven in 25 runs going back to April 27 of last season. He’s hitting .244/.263/.526 with eight doubles, a triple and four home runs. He has come to bat 32 times with runners in scoring position and is 12-for-29 (.414) with 24 RBIs. Since April 27 of last season, 140 position players have batted at least 85 times with fewer RBIs. Memo to Mike Matheny: You may want to consider using Wainwright as a pinch-hitter once in a while (he has done so just once last season and once this year).

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Now for even better stuff, at least as the Cardinals’ hopes for winning the NL Central: Wainwright’s first seven starts: 2-3, 6.37 ERA, 35.1 IP, 53 H, 7.8 percent BB rate, 19.8 percent SO rate Wainwright’s past four starts: 4-0, 0.34 ERA, 26.1 IP, 16 H, 9.7 percent BB rate, 20.4 percent SO rate So what’s going? The results are obviously night and day, but the walk rates and strikeout rates are essentially unchanged. When we see a drastic improvement from a pitcher, the first we check is strikeout rate. In Wainwright’s case, that’s not the explanation for his superb performances these past four outings. So it’s something else.
mlb teams without alternate jerseys Adam Wainwright jersey has had a revival of late and has given up just one earned run over his past four starts. Jeff Curry/USA TODAY SportsAfter the game, manager Mike Matheny fell back on the tried-and-true explanation of fastball command, telling reporters: “He’s executing, throwing his fastball in good locations and that makes his breaking [stuff] better. He’s being smarter with his cutter. And with confidence comes even better pitches.”
cheap jerseys authentic There’s probably something to that, and it certainly seems clear that Wainwright’s approach with the fastball has been different: First seven starts: 22 percent high fastballs, 31 percent inside fastballs Past four starts: 31 percent high fastballs, 23 percent inside fastballs Basically, more high fastballs and a few more on the outer half of the plate. In those first seven games, opponents hit .394 against his fastball; they’ve hit .195 against it the past four starts.
pro baseball jerseys cheap So that’s a good barometer of what’s happened. It doesn’t explain everything. His well-hit average against all pitches according to ESPN Stats & Info has gone from .148 to … .151. So, umm, the same. He’s not necessarily giving up softer contact. His ground-ball, fly-ball and line-drive rates are basically the same.
I’d suggest we’re looking at essentially the same pitcher. He probably had a lot of bad luck on balls in play early on and now he’s pitching in some good luck. His season ERA is 3.79 and that’s probably a reasonable number to expect the rest of the way.
Corey Kluber jersey is back and all is well. After missing a month with a lower back strain, the Cleveland Indians jersey ace returned against the Oakland Athletics jersey and dominated with 10 strikeouts and two hits in an efficient 77-pitch effort over six innings. His stuff was lights out:
Hey.Have 10 seconds? Here are 10 CK strikeouts. — #VoteTribe 5x a day (@Indians) June 1, 2017 From ESPN researcher Mark Simon, Kluber’s curveball, as you can see in the above highlights, was his sit-down-and-drink-some-Gatorade pitch: He threw it 32 times, the A’s swung at 12 of them and missed 10, going 0-for-6 with five strikeouts. As Mark wrote before the game, Kluber is the latest example of a pitcher who threw a lot of innings in the postseason and was injured or less effective the following year. Given that he threw 249⅓ innings last year, maybe the month off will actually turn out to be a bonus come October, with less mileage on his arm.
The New York Yankees jersey’ other mashing outfielder. Aaron Judge is hitting .326/.427/.680. He’s getting a lot of attention. He deserves the attention! Teammate Aaron Hicks jersey, after going 4-for-5 with three doubles in six RBIs in a 12-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays jersey, is now hitting .317/.437/.579. Hicks has been the club’s fourth outfielder, but has been playing every day of late with Jacoby Ellsbury jersey on the DL. Ellsbury may be the fourth outfielder when he returns the way Hicks has played. He has eight home runs and 30 RBIs in just 126 at-bats, numbers that project to 25 and 95 over just 400 at-bats. With one of the strongest arms in the game and decent range, he may even be a defensive upgrade over Ellsbury.
Give Brian Cashman credit for this one. Hicks had been a first-round pick by the Minnesota Twins jersey, but over three seasons with them he hit just .225. Still, he had good discipline — some scouts considered him too passive — and the Twins had kind of fooled around with him, never running him out there for 500-plus at-bats in a season. The Yankees got him for backup catcher J.R. Murphy, currently hitting .225 in Triple-A. How much of this is legitimate for Hicks? The stat I like is 28 walks and 27 strikeouts — one of only a handful of players with more walks than strikeouts, a list that includes Buster Posey jersey, Mookie Betts jersey, Joey Votto jersey and Anthony Rizzo jersey. While there is some good fortune going on — his average exit velocity is league average and his launch angle is below average — there’s some real improvement. The rich just got richer.
Play of the day. A triple play!
Outs are better in threes.@Twins go around the horn for the TRIPLE PLAY.
— MLB (@MLB) June 2, 2017
Quick thoughts … Speaking of the Yankees, Gary Sanchez jersey homered twice. Imagine if he gets going. … Joe Girardi moved Judge into the third spot for the first time, hitting between Sanchez and Matt Holliday jersey. Good move to get Judge’s OBP up higher in the lineup. … Thursday was the 25th anniversary of the day the Yankees drafted Derek Jeter. They took him sixth overall. Drafted ahead of him: Phil Nevin (Houston Astros jersey), Paul Shuey (Indians), B.J. Wallace (Montreal cheap jersey Expos), Jeffrey Hammonds (Baltimore Orioles jersey), Chad Mottola (Cincinnati Reds jersey). … Tough day for the Seattle Mariners jersey. Tough season. Jean Segura jersey left Thursday’s loss to the Colorado Rockies jersey with an ankle injury and Nelson Cruz jersey left after getting hit in the hand by a pitch. Check the updates. … Sam Miller writes that Mike Trout jersey could still end up leading the AL in WAR … Ken Rosenthal reported that the Texas Rangers jersey designated Sam Dyson jersey for assignment. No surprise. He has to be a black cloud in the clubhouse the way he has pitched. … Via Sarah Langs of ESPN Stats & Info: Since 1996 (first full season of wild-card era), 58 percent of division winners held the division lead on June 1. This stat is great: The Dodgers, Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks jersey all began June at .600 or better; the only other time that happened since 1996 was the NL Central in 2013, with the Cardinals, Reds and Pirates. All three of those teams made the playoffs that year. Eleven of the 21 World Series winners led their division on June 1.

Still-too-early All-Star rosters: Which NL first baseman gets snubbed?

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It isn’t exactly way too early to make All-Star-team picks anymore — we went through that exercise in February — but there’s still some time for players to make their way into starting lineups or play into the reserves. As of Wednesday, most of the positional races were pretty close. With that in mind, we put together our still-too-early All-Star picks for the entire rosters of the American and National League squads.

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My general philosophy is to emphasize what has happened in 2017 but consider what a player has done in the past, or you get stuck with too many mediocre All-Stars who simply had six good weeks. It’s not a lifetime achievement honor, however; there will be no Albert Pujols jersey here. Note a couple of changes to the selection process this season. Rosters have been trimmed from 34 players to 32, with 20 position players and 12 pitchers. Fans will still select the starting position players, and players will pick the backups and some of the pitching staff, but the commissioner’s office will select the remaining reserves instead of the manager. The game itself, which is in Miami, will no longer determine home-field advantage for the World Series. Players on the winning team will receive a $20,000 bonus.

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On to the rosters. Boston Red Sox jersey ace Chris Sale jersey looks poised to make his second straight All-Star Game start. Paul Beaty/The Associated PressAmerican League starting lineupPositionNameTeam2BJose Altuve jerseyAstrosSSFrancisco Lindor jerseyIndiansCFMookie Betts jerseyRed Sox1BMiguel Cabrera jerseyTigersRFAaron JudgeYankeesDHNelson Cruz jerseyMariners3BMiguel Sano jerseyTwinsLFBrett Gardner jerseyYankeesCSalvador Perez jerseyRoyalsSPChris Sale jerseyRed Sox*replaced due to injury: Mike Trout jersey, AngelsNot too many difficult choices here. You can flip a coin between Francisco Lindor jersey and Carlos Correa jersey at shortstop, and it’s possible Correa edges Lindor by July. Miguel Cabrera jersey is off to a slow start and missed time on the DL, but first base in the AL is pretty weak, with only Yonder Alonso jersey having a truly All-Star type of season. Still, it’s silly to think Alonso deserves to start over Cabrera. Third base has been a loaded position in recent seasons, but injuries to Josh Donaldson jersey and Adrian Beltre jersey on top of Manny Machado jersey’s poor start opens the starting position for Miguel Sano jersey, who is putting up big numbers even though he’s on pace to strike out nearly 250 times.
mlb throwback uniforms 2014 yankees Aaron Judge has been perhaps the big story of the first half, and given Mike Trout jersey’s injury, he’s an MVP candidate if he keeps it going. Corey Dickerson jersey has been one of the best hitters in the league, but Nelson Cruz jersey gets the DH nod based on track record. With 110 strikeouts in 78 innings, Chris Sale jersey has been everything the Red Sox expected and could earn his second straight All-Star start.
wholesale jerseys from china Missed the cut: Carlos Correa jersey, Yonder Alonso jersey, Jose Ramirez jersey National League starting lineupPositionNameTeamCFCharlie Blackmon jerseyRockies3BKris Bryant jerseyCubsRFBryce Harper jerseyNationals1BPaul Goldschmidt jerseyDiamondbacksDHJoey Votto jerseyRedsLFGiancarlo Stanton jerseyMarlins2BDaniel Murphy jerseyNationalsCBuster Posey jerseyGiantsSSCorey Seager jerseyDodgersSPClayton Kershaw jerseyDodgers*replaced due to injury: Freddie Freeman jersey, BravesWow, what a power-packed, star-studded lineup. Can these guys just play the whole game? I thought these were pretty straightforward choices as well. Sure, you can make an argument for Nolan Arenado jersey at third base, and I went with Giancarlo Stanton jersey over Michael Conforto jersey or teammate Marcell Ozuna jersey to give Marlins fans their hometown hero in the starting lineup. Joey Votto jersey also gets the nod at DH over Ryan Zimmerman jersey, based on a more recent track record of sustained excellence compared to Zimmerman’s one hot month. Clayton Kershaw jersey? He’s still the best.
wholesale replica mlb hats Missed the cut: Ryan Zimmerman jersey, Nolan Arenado jersey, Marcell Ozuna jersey, Michael Conforto jersey Yonder Alonso jersey is having an All-Star caliber season for Oakland at first base, but the star power of Miguel Cabrera jersey likely will force him into a reserve role. David Richard/USA Today SportsAmerican League reservesPositionNameTeamCAlex Avila jerseyTigersCGary Sanchez jerseyYankees1BYonder Alonso jerseyA’s2BRobinson Cano jerseyMariners3BJose Ramirez jerseyIndiansSSCarlos Correa jerseyAstrosSSXander Bogaerts jerseyRed SoxOFGeorge Springer jerseyAstrosOFJose Bautista jerseyBlue JaysOFSteven Souza Jr. jerseyRaysDHCorey Dickerson jerseyRaysThis is where it gets tougher. The AL is limited to just two free selections here because it also carries a backup DH. Teams also usually carry three catchers, so the two free picks were Xander Bogaerts jersey and Gary Sanchez jersey (in a very weak group of catchers). Alonso is the clear choice as the backup first baseman and the only A’s representative. Robinson Cano jersey is having another strong season at a traditionally deep position that hasn’t been as deep this year because of slow starts by Brian Dozier jersey, Ian Kinsler jersey and Dustin Pedroia jersey. Jose Ramirez jersey slides in on merit as I take him over Machado. Dickerson is the clear choice as backup DH.
Where it gets difficult is in the outfield, a pretty weak position in the AL. I just couldn’t bring myself to think of Avisail Garcia jersey as an All-Star, despite his strong start. Sorry, White Sox fans. George Springer jersey makes it on the strength of 13 home runs and good defense, and Jose Bautista jersey has overcome a terrible start to put up respectable numbers. Plus, Bautista in the All-Star Game is fun.
I’m not sure I completely buy Steven Souza’s start, but unlike Garcia, he has a strong walk rate that suggests he can sustain this production. I took him over Blue Jays defensive whiz Kevin Pillar jersey, who is having a solid year at the plate. It would be fun to find a spot for Astros utility man Marwin Gonzalez jersey, who continues to rake.
Just missed the cut: IF/OF Marwin Gonzalez jersey, Astros; OF Kevin Pillar jersey, Blue Jays; 2B Starlin Castro jersey, Yankees; SS Andrelton Simmons jersey, Angels (if Trout doesn’t meet your requirement to give the Angels a rep, then Simmons is the guy); OF Avisail Garcia jersey, White Sox; OF Aaron Hicks jersey, Yankees.
American League pitching staffPositionNameTeamSPDallas Keuchel jerseyAstrosSPLance McCullers jerseyAstrosSPErvin Santana jerseyTwinsSPYu Darvish jerseyRangersSPDylan Bundy jerseyOriolesSPCarlos Carrasco jerseyIndiansRPAndrew Miller jerseyIndiansRPCody Allen jerseyIndiansRPCraig Kimbrel jerseyRed SoxRPDellin Betances jerseyYankeesRPDavid Robertson jerseyWhite SoxDallas Keuchel jersey and Lance McCullers jersey have been the best 1-2 punch in the league and have carried the Astros to the league’s best record. Some of the advanced metrics might not like Ervin Santana jersey’s mediocre strikeout rate, but there’s some evidence that he has limited hard contact, and you can’t ignore that 1.75 ERA and five scoreless outings. Yu Darvish jersey makes it on merit and star power and also is my only Rangers rep. Dylan Bundy jersey is the only Oriole on the team, and Carlos Carrasco jersey gets my final starting pitcher nod over Michael Fulmer jersey and Chris Archer jersey.
In the bullpen, Aroldis Chapman jersey currently is injured and hasn’t pitched many innings, so he’s left off the team. Roberto Osuna jersey has a good case, and I hated leaving off Chris Devenski jersey. Tommy Kahnle jersey has been dominant in a setup role for the White Sox, but I went with the more established David Robertson jersey, who is having a good season.
Just missed the cut: SP Michael Fulmer jersey, Tigers; SP Marcus Stroman jersey, Blue Jays; SP Chris Archer jersey, Rays; SP Jason Vargas jersey, Royals; RP Chris Devenski jersey, Astros; RP Roberto Osuna jersey, Blue Jays; RP Tommy Kahnle jersey, White Sox.
Arizona starter Robbie Ray jersey had thrown 23 2/3 straight scoreless innings through Thursday, which puts him on our early All-Star roster ahead of Ivan Nova jersey. Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty ImagesNational League reservesPositionNameTeamCYasmani Grandal jerseyDodgersCJ.T. Realmuto jerseyMarlins1BRyan Zimmerman jerseyNationals1B/OFEric ThamesBrewers2BJosh Harrison jerseyPirates3BNolan Arenado jerseyRockies3BJake Lamb jerseyDiamondbacksSSZack Cozart jerseyRedsOFMichael Conforto jerseyMetsOFMarcell Ozuna jerseyMarlinsOFAaron Altherr jerseyPhilliesBecause the NL doesn’t have a DH position, it gets more free selections than the AL. Yasmani Grandal jersey is the second-best catcher in the NL, and I’ll go with J.T. Realmuto jersey over Yadier Molina jersey as the third catcher to make the hometown fans happy. First base in the NL is absolutely loaded and could get really crowded if Anthony Rizzo jersey and Matt Carpenter jersey raise their numbers in June. For now, Zimmerman and Eric Thames are locks, with Thames as my only Brewers All-Star. There isn’t a clear No. 2 second baseman, so I’ll go with Josh Harrison jersey, who ends up as my only Pirates rep.
Jake Lamb jersey got squeezed out of an All-Star spot last year despite a monster first half, and he’s tearing it up again. Zack Cozart jersey actually is tied for the NL lead in WAR among position players (with the injured Freddie Freeman jersey), so he has to make it (and with Addison Russell jersey and Trea Turner jersey struggling at the plate, Cozart lacks competition anyway). Conforto and Ozuna have huge numbers, and Aaron Altherr jersey represents the Phillies, as he has had an outstanding two months.
Missed the cut: 3B Anthony Rendon jersey, Nationals; OF Matt Kemp jersey, Braves; C Yadier Molina jersey, Cardinals. National League pitching staffPositionNameTeamSPMax Scherzer jerseyNationalsSPStephen Strasburg jerseyNationalsSPJacob deGrom jerseyMetsSPMike Leake jerseyCardinalsSPZack Greinke jerseyDiamondbacksSPRobbie Ray jerseyDiamondbacksRPKenley Jansen jerseyDodgersRPGreg HollandRockiesRPWade Davis jerseyCubsRPRaisel Iglesias jerseyRedsRPBrad Hand jerseyPadresPicking the NL pitching staff has been an impossible task lately, but Noah Syndergaard jersey’s injury plus some slow starts from usual All-Star candidates such as Jon Lester jersey and Jake Arrieta jersey made this a pretty easy group to go with.
The one regret is Ivan Nova jersey of the Pirates, but I went with the much more dynamic Robbie Ray jersey, who is currently cheap jersey on a streak of 23 2/3 scoreless innings. Alex Wood jersey has been lights out for the Dodgers, and if he returns from his DL stint –- he’s expected to miss only one start -– and continues to roll, he’ll be tough to leave off as well.
I’ll take that bullpen. Wade Davis jersey and Raisel Iglesias jersey have sub-1.00 ERAs, Greg Holland has been perfect in saves chances, and Kenley Jansen jersey is more dominant than ever with 35 K’s and no walks in 20 innings. Brad Hand jersey is the Padres’ All-Star, but he has been dominant for two seasons running now. One guy hard to leave off is Corey Knebel jersey of the Brewers. He has taken over as closer while averaging more than 15 K’s per nine.
Missed the cut: SP Ivan Nova jersey, Pirates; SP Carlos Martinez jersey, Cardinals; RP Corey Knebel jersey, Brewers. Finally, your preferred Home Run Derby participants: Giancarlo Stanton jersey, Aaron Judge, Joey Gallo jersey, Bryce Harper jersey, Miguel Sano jersey, George Springer jersey, Nelson Cruz jersey, Kris Bryant jersey

The sommelier of swat: Corey Dickerson is an unapologetic ‘bat freak’

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Before Corey Dickerson jersey became a budding All-Star with the Tampa Bay Rays jersey, he was recognizable for the company he kept. Upon arrival at the ballpark, he rarely went anywhere without a bat in his hand.

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When Dickerson wasn’t spraying line drives in the cage during his time with the Colorado cheap jersey Rockies jersey, he was roaming the clubhouse with a Tucci model TL-271 in his grip. Or sitting at his locker, holding the barrel with two fingers and lightly pinging at the top to locate the sweet spot. Or cleaning it with alcohol or tape remover to detect precisely where he made contact the previous game. Or weighing it. Or taping the handle, depending on how sore his hands were on a given day.

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Editor’s PicksStill-too-early All-Star rosters: Which NL first baseman gets snubbed?The Midsummer Classic is more than a month away. But here’s who can plan a trip to Miami — and the stars who might get left out.
navy blue vintage baseball uniforms MVP and Cy Young watch: Which Nats pitcher is No. 1?Washington starters competing for NL Cy Young? Could a split vote open a back door for a D-back as MVP? We track MLB awards two months into the season.
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baseball glove wholesalers Amid the daily maintenance, Dickerson was perpetually on the lookout for good wood. Since his days in youth ball, he had developed a Tony Gwynn-like obsession with bats and an appreciation for the damage he could inflict with the right model in his hands. Bats didn’t arrive in big boxes en masse from the manufacturer when he played in the minor leagues, so they were a precious commodity to be alternately hoarded or mooched.
“He’s definitely a bat freak,” says Nolan Arenado jersey, Dickerson’s teammate from Double-A ball to the majors. “If I hit a couple of homers, he would come to my locker and say, ‘Can I get one of these?’ So I’d give him one and he’d hit a couple of homers and I’d be like, ‘Hey, can I see one of your bats?’ And he’d say, ‘I don’t have enough.’ I’d be like, ‘What the heck? Come on, Dickey.’ He loves bats and he loves hitting.”
Based on the numbers, Dickerson is quite proficient at selecting the right weapon and knowing how to use it. At age 28, he’s that rare hitter who has taken his game to a different level after leaving Coors Field. After the Rays ranked 14th in the American League in runs in 2016, they are a surprising third behind the Houston Astros jersey and New York Yankees jersey this season. Dickerson, who arrived from Colorado in a four-player trade 16 months ago, is a big reason why. He leads the AL with a .342 batting average and 75 hits, ranks third behind Mike Trout jersey and Aaron Judge with a .603 slugging percentage, and just set a Rays club record with 44 hits in May.
Cliff Welch/Icon SportswireDickerson’s road to success has come with some adjustments. He’s had to experiment to find productive ways to fill the downtime between plate appearances as a designated hitter, and he’s grappled with the challenges of batting leadoff while staying true to his naturally aggressive approach.
In a world of hitters who eyeball pitches on the black and revel in deep counts, Dickerson is succeeding as the anti-Joey Votto jersey. Dickerson has swung at a major league-high 46.9 percent of pitches outside the strike zone this season. That’s more than 2 percentage points higher than the notoriously free-swinging Salvador Perez jersey, who has drawn 105 walks in 2,891 career plate appearance with the Kansas City Royals jersey.
Dickerson is thriving thanks to quick hands and a Vladimir Guerrero-like ability to crush balls that most hitters can barely reach. He recently doubled on a pitch from Texas starter Nick Martinez jersey that bounced before it reached home plate.
“He’s definitely a throwback, bad-ball hitter,” says Rays hitting coach Chad Mottola. “There’s nothing he can’t cover, even out of the strike zone.” Dickerson, a Mississippi native, played junior college ball at Meridian Community College before passing on a scholarship from Mississippi State to sign as an eighth-round pick with Colorado in 2010. His potential was readily apparent when he logged a .321/.379/.596 slash line in the minors and hit .299 with 39 home runs over three seasons in Colorado, but the Rockies eventually determined he was more valuable as a trade chip to fortify their pitching.
When general manager Jeff Bridich sent Dickerson and minor league infielder Kevin Padlo to Tampa Bay for reliever Jacob McGee and starter German Marquez jersey, it was almost an afterthought for fans and media members who thought Carlos Gonzalez jersey might be on the block.
Now both sides are benefiting. McGee is averaging 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings and Marquez has stepped in nicely to help the Rockies overcome some big pitching injuries. Dickerson, meanwhile, has rebounded nicely from a disappointing first season to become a focal point of the Tampa Bay lineup. Dickerson appeared in only 65 games with the Rockies in 2015 because of plantar fasciitis and a broken rib, and his abridged offseason workout regimen spilled over to 2016. He struggled with the transition to a new league, new pitchers and an unfamiliar clubhouse dynamic before posting an .855 OPS in September to salvage his season. He struck up an instant bond with Mottola, who replaced Derek Shelton as the Rays’ hitting coach in early September.
“Your teammates don’t know who you are, so you feel like you’ve got to prove yourself and show why they traded for you,” Dickerson says. “When I was struggling, I felt like, ‘Do these guys want me up here hitting (in this situation)?’ In Colorado, if I went through a little struggle, those guys knew what I was capable of, and they had seen me every day for the last couple of years. I know they trusted me and believed in me. I think that was the biggest hurdle for me.
“In the second half, I kind of let it all go. Chad came in and said, ‘Hey, I don’t want you to change your stance or be afraid to try different stuff. I want you to be you.’ That freed my mind up and I took off.”
“If I get 12 bats, I’m going to choose the best one to go up to the plate every single time. It’s about quality and the way it feels. This is how I make a living for my family. So why wouldn’t I pick the best piece of wood when I go up to plate?”
Corey Dickerson jersey on the art of choosing a batDickerson spent the winter making changes to his body to maintain the momentum from his late-season surge. He cut back on pizza, sweets and other guilty pleasures. He read books on fitness and exercise physiology and adopted a new training regimen en route to losing 25 pounds. He did Pilates in Tampa, and worked on his core and lower back with personal trainer Matt Espy. Dickerson even took a spinning class in his hometown of Meridian at the Jeff Anderson Health & Fitness Center, where he churned away to the accompaniment of AC/DC and other classic rock tunes.
“It was mostly girls in the class,” Dickerson says. Few of them knew or cared that a 2017 batting title contender was sweating buckets in their midst. The left-handed hitter has continued to make subtle changes to his approach, reducing his leg kick and shortening his swing to become less vulnerable against lefties and a bigger threat to do damage with two strikes. He’s hit 31 percent of his balls to left field, 37 percent to center and 32 percent to right, a breakdown that makes him difficult to defend. His .388 batting average against fastballs and .409 mark against breaking balls are testament to his ability to keep his hands back and still catch up to the heat.
His old Rockies teammates see the box scores each day without a trace of surprise over his gaudy stats. “Not at all,” says shortstop Trevor Story jersey. “He’s been one of the more special hitters I’ve watched. He’s one of those guys who seems like he was born to hit.”
Dickerson got plenty of mileage out of that Tucci 271 — a bat model he used for the entire 2014 season at the suggestion of former Colorado teammate Troy Tulowitzki jersey. Dickerson has since alternated between different Tucci and Marucci models and recently began favoring a Marucci DD10 in the 34-inch, 32-ounce range. Whenever a new shipment arrives, it’s like Christmas morning all over again.
“I’ve always loved hitting, since I was really little,” Dickerson says. “If I get 12 bats, I’m going to choose the best one to go up to the plate every single time. It’s about quality and the way it feels. This is how I make a living for my family. So why wouldn’t I pick the best piece of wood when I go up to plate?”
Time and almost 3,500 professional plate appearances have drummed home the most enduring lesson in the relationship: It’s less about the quality of the bat than the aptitude of the man who’s wielding it.