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Pirates' Alex Dickerson among MLB.com's top first-base prospects

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Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

Alex Dickerson is on MLB.com's list of the top 10 first-base prospects, at No. 7. (Hat tip to Tim, who noticed this first.) Finishing in the bottom half of the top 10 first-base prospects in baseball isn't nearly as impressive as finishing in the bottom half of the top 10 shortstop prospects, as Alen Hanson did a few days ago. If you're a minor-leaguer and you play first base, you've already slipped almost all the way down the rope in terms of defensive ability, so you'd better hit like crazy, or you're going to fall into the fiery cauldron.

That said, it's a little surprising to me that Dickerson is this high -- I'd be thrilled if the Pirates could trade him for No. 8 Dan Vogelbach, bad body and all, or No. 9 Keon Barnum. That's not to say that Dickerson couldn't still be something, of course, or that Vogelbach and Barnum aren't a long way from the majors, but Dickerson is miles from being a top prospect. Scouts haven't been impressed with him in the past year or so. His stats at Class A+ Bradenton were fine, but that's all, and an early-round pick out of college whose only tool is his bat really should be hitting like crazy if he's going to emerge as a real prospect.

Who knows -- maybe there's a case to be made that because he skipped a level this year, and he showed few obvious offensive weaknesses (hitting for a nice average while drawing some walks and showing some power), there's a chance of a big year at Altoona in 2013. I'm not sure I'd bet on that, though, and Jonathan Mayo's comment that he "should profile well as a run-producer in the future" seems like a bit much.