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Bucco Breakfast: Corey Dickerson Is A Gold Glove Winner

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates LF Corey Dickerson won his first career Gold Glove award. How did that happen?

Last night, Corey Dickerson won his first Gold Glove award. Not bad for a guy who was widely thought as a “hit only” player when he came to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Dickerson may have had seven assists, but most of his defensive value came from the ground he covered, not his arm. FanGraphs lists Dickerson’s range this year being worth 6.7 runs (RngR). That’s good for 11th in baseball, including fifth among outfielders and second among left fielders.

When the Pirates acquired Dickerson, the main concern was if he could manage PNC Park’s infamous left-center notch.He ended up handling it just fine, making two outs above average (OAA) on balls he had to go back on, according to Baseball Savant. But while he was good going backwards, he was one of the best in baseball coming in on the ball. He finished tied for third among all outfielders on OAA on balls he had to come in on (8).

Dickerson’s directional OOA chart paints a clear picture. If he was coming in to catch a pop fly, it didn’t matter if he had to move to his left or right. He was consistently solid.

Dickerson’s directional OOA chart. Courtesy of Baseball Savant.

Part of the reason why Dickerson did so well was because of his positioning. Few left fielders played as deep as he did this season. For example, per Baseball Savant, when there was a right-handed batter up and nobody on base, Dickerson stood 311 feet away from home- the furthest among left fielders in the majors.

On average, he set up shop 301 feet away from home. Here’s how that compares to other left fielders in baseball:

Dickerson’s average position compared to other left fielders. Courtesy of Baseball Savant.

Starting deeper helped Dickerson out on those deep fly balls, while his above average speed and ability to read the ball off the bat made it so he could still track down short pop-ups, too. That, alongside his work ethic and drive to get better defensively, resulted in this Gold Glove. Now he joins a very exclusive group in Pirates history:

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