One of our regular offseason traditions is the Exit Interview, where we look back at each player that got into a game for the St. Louis Cardinals in the past season. This is the 11th season we’ve done this and it’s a good way to get a view of the whole year, not just a short stretch of games. It’s sort of like a performance review before the players went off to their offseason work, spending a little time with Oli Marmol and going over what went right, what went wrong. Stats and grades are only for a player’s time in St. Louis, though splits numbers may include other teams. As always, my sincere thanks to the legend of cardinalsgifs for providing the header image!
Player: Corey Dickerson
Season stats: 96 G, 297 PA, 28 R, 17 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 36 RBI, 12 BB, 48 K, .267/.300/.399, 100 OPS+, 0.1 bWAR, 0.4 fWAR
Statcast: .292 xwOBA, 3.8 barrel %, 87.7 exit velocity, 32.8 hard hit %, 16.2 K %, 4.0 BB %
Best Statcast category: Max Exit Velocity (82nd percentile)
Worst Statcast category: Arm Strength (9th percentile)
Hero/Goat: Hero 4, Goat 6
Positives: Set a Cardinal team record with 10 consecutive hits August 23-25 and when you’ve set a Cardinal team record, you’ve done something….raised his batting average 56 points in those three games….has to be in an elite group of players to have homered twice off of position players in the same season….had one multi-homer game….hit .321 with four of his home runs on the road….was hot in July and August, hitting .354 in those two months combined….had an .813 OPS in seven games as a right fielder….went 3-7 with two doubles hitting third….had a 1.062 OPS when ahead in the count….slashed .306/.350/.472 with runners in scoring position….hit .304 with two homers in high leverage situations….destroyed the Cubs with a .581/.581/.968 line….hit .286 in night games….hit .280 on fastballs and .297 on breaking pitches.
Negatives: By bWAR was worth less than Ben DeLuzio, who played just one month and sparingly at that….hit .077 against lefties….hit .202 in the first half of the season….had a .422 OPS in April and a .472 OPS in May….didn’t hit his first home run until June 3 (a two-homer game) and went on the injured list two days later….was 1-9 as a pinch-hitter….had a .401 OPS hitting second….hit .229 on the first pitch….had a .527 OPS when behind in the count….hit .216 with two outs and RISP….had a .365 OPS in late and close situations….hit .193 from the seventh inning on….put up a .212 average against power pitchers….posted a .510 OPS against the Brewers.
Overview: John Mozeliak would probably lecture me again on all that goes into waiving players, but I continue to maintain that Dickerson got injured at just the right time. When he got hurt in early June, he was carrying a .194/.245/.531 slash line, numbers that had been improved notably by his two-homer (one off of Frank Schwindel) game the day before he hobbled off of Wrigley Field mid-game. Tyler O’Neill was about ready to be activated–he’d actually return a couple of days after Dickerson went on the IL–and Lars Nootbaar was doing almost as much as Dickerson with room to grow. If Dickerson hadn’t gotten injured, I really think he might have been the victim of needing a roster spot. When he returned, Harrison Bader was injured and there was a spot for him, a spot he cemented by hitting much better almost immediately. His season was really juiced by those three games with the consecutive hits, as he hit .250/.276/.357 the rest of the way. Then again, that was better than some of the other offensive folks, so he had that going for him.
Outlook: Dickerson was on a one-year deal and is now a free agent. With the development of Nootbaar, the coming of Jordan Walker, and the possibility of signing a significant bat, there wouldn’t seem to be room for a reunion with Dickerson even if the club wanted it, which I don’t think they would. Dickerson will probably wind up somewhere like Cincinnati or Pittsburgh or Kansas City on another one-year deal for 2023.