Designated for assignment to the minor leagues — to overnight sensation in the big leagues — in a month.
That’s not the way the story typically goes.
But then, nothing has been typical about Alex Dickerson’s Major League Baseball career to this point.
After accumulating just two runs batted in at the major league level over the last 2.5 seasons, Dickerson posted nine in his first two games with the San Francisco Giants this month.
Those stats are misleading of course, because coming into the 2019 season, Dickerson hadn’t seen an at bat at any level in more than two years.
After a bulging disc cost Dickerson his 2017 season, and Tommy John surgery the 2018 campaign, a once promising career appeared to be in jeopardy.
The 6-foot-3 Dickerson hit just .158 with seven strikeouts in 19 plate appearances with the Padres to start the 2019 season, and it appeared that the former third round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Pirates just might not have it anymore after so much missed time.
Or at least that’s what the Padres thought.
With the Giants in need of help in the outfield and Dickerson now toiling in the minors, San Francisco took the leap and dealt for the former IU slugger in a trade.
San Francisco was familiar with Dickerson, who had his most productive season in the majors in 2016 with National League West foe San Diego. Then 26 years old, Dickerson hit .257 with 10 home runs and 37 runs batted in over 84 games.
And then the injury bug struck, while the Padres replenished their outfield with young talent.
If his career was going to be rejuvenated, it would have to happen elsewhere for the now 29 year old Dickerson.
So far, it is happening elsewhere.
And as he was known to do in Bloomington, Dickerson started things off with the Giants prodigiously last week.
Alex Dickerson's Guide to Making Friends:
1. Hit Grand Slam
2. High fives
3. Now you are friends#SFGiants pic.twitter.com/KJibbJWcEG
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) June 22, 2019
That grand slam was the signature part of a three hit, six runs batted in debut with the Giants, and Dickerson has stayed hot since.
The former Big Ten triple crown winner is putting up numbers in San Francisco that hearken back to his IU glory days.
Through five games with the Giants, Dickerson is hitting a scorching .444, with an on-base percentage of .500, and a slugging percentage of .889. He has a homer (his first since 2016) and nine runs batted in while batting anywhere from second to clean-up.
At Indiana, Dickerson hit .387 with 47 home runs and 181 runs batted in three highly productive seasons from 2009 through 2011.
He was a part of former Hoosiers coach Tracy Smith’s first NCAA tournament team in Bloomington.
Dickerson had a breakout season as a sophomore, when he led the Big Ten in batting average (.419), home runs (24), and runs batted in (75). He was named the Big Ten Conference Baseball Player of the Year and earned first-team All-American honors.
Can his strange journey take him back to that kind of sustained production?
It is too soon to tell, and it certainly would not be the typical path.
But then nothing about Alex Dickerson’s professional career has gone according to plan to this point.
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