Decker, Mikolas sent to Pirates for Eastern League Rookie of the Year
SAN DIEGO -- Several hours after he discovered he had been traded to the Padres, Alex Dickerson's head was still spinning.
"I'm still a little shocked," he said Monday afternoon. "I feel like I'm a little in limbo. But getting a chance to go to San Diego isn't too bad."
He should know, as Dickerson is from nearby Poway, where he played his high school baseball before he was drafted in the third round by the Pirates in 2011.
Prospect acquired by Padres
Alex Dickerson, OF: Dickerson, ranked No. 13 on the Pirates' Top 20 at the time of the trade, is a fairly advanced left-handed bat taken out of the University of Indiana in the second round of the 2011 Draft. In his first full season, Dickerson went straight to the Class A Advanced Florida State League and was named as the circuit's Player of the Year, leading the Pirates system in RBIs while finishing third in hits and fourth in batting average. Dickerson moved up to Double-A in 2013 and was named an Eastern League postseason All-Star. He once again dotted the Pirates' system leaderboard, finishing fourth in home runs and third in slugging percentage. He has a good approach at the plate and has shown an ability to make adjustments. Case in point: Dickerson improved his OPS from .773 in the first half of 2013 to .919 in the second half. While his bat looks like it might play in some capacity, there's always been a question about where he belonged defensively. He played first base during his first full season, then moved to right field in 2013. In the recently completed Arizona Fall League, he played both corner outfield spots and while he may never bring home Gold Glove awards, it looks like he should be an adequate defender in the outfield or with a return to first. Whatever his position, it will be his bat, specifically how much power he develops, that will determine his ultimate role at the big league level.
Dickerson, a 23-year-old outfielder, was traded from the Pirates to the Padres on Monday for two Minor League players, outfielder Jaff Decker and right-handed relief pitcher Miles Mikolas, who were recently designated for assignment.
Dickerson awoke Monday morning to find "a bunch of missed calls" on his cell phone, which led him to believe something unusual was going on.
"The phone was on silent," said Dickerson, who said that he still spends part of his offseason in Poway, which is located about 30 minutes northeast of San Diego.
Dickerson, a left-handed hitter, was the Pirates' No. 13-ranked prospect according to MLB.com. He was named the Eastern League Rookie of the Year in 2013 after hitting .288 with 17 home runs and 68 RBIs in 126 games with Double-A Altoona.
The previous season, Dickerson was named the Player of the Year in the Florida State League after he hit .295 with 13 home runs and 90 RBIs in 129 games with Bradenton. Dickerson played his college baseball for Indiana University, where he was the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2010.
Dickerson recently played in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .290 in 18 games.
"We think he can really hit," said Padres general manager Josh Byrnes. "We spent a lot of time on him in the  Draft. I know he's worked hard on his defense, which was a question coming out of college."
Dickerson has played first base in the past but Byrnes indicated that he'll be an outfielder moving ahead.
The Pirates received Decker, a first-round pick in 2008, and Mikolas, a seventh-round pick one year later.
Decker spent the majority of this past season with Triple-A Tucson, where he hit .286 with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs in 105 games. He also saw limited action with the Padres, going 4-for-26 with a home run in 13 games at the big league level.
Mikolas, too, spent most of this year with Tucson. The righty went 4-2 with 26 saves and a 3.25 ERA over 54 relief appearances. He also notched 1 2/3 scoreless innings with San Diego.
Decker, Mikolas and reliever Brad Brach -- who was traded to the Orioles on Monday -- were designated for assignment last week as the Padres moved four players onto their 40-man roster.
As for Dickerson, he spent part of Monday getting back to friends who bombarded him with calls and text messages after the trade.