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The 2015 season gave Alex Dickerson, 25, his first taste of the big leagues. Originally a third round pick out of Indiana University by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011, the Poway native joined the Padres in a trade for Jaff Decker before the 2014 season. After a congenital heel issue caused him to miss much of his first year in the organization, he spent much of last year in El Paso, where he was a consistent middle-of-the-order producer for the Chihuahuas, earning a promotion to the big league club for September.
Now with much more experience under his belt, we talk with the outfielder - and sometimes first baseman - about his second big league camp and his trajectory over the last year.
MadFriars: How has the experience been this spring being over on the Major League side? How’d it feel out here compared to the exposure you had last year?
Alex Dickerson: It’s been good. It’s been different than in the past years with a lot more activity. It’s just that time of spring to really start ramping up for the season.
I’ve had a little less nerves, feeling a little more comfortable. But it’s still really, the overall approach hasn’t changed. It’s what can I do to get better and try to execute that in a game.
After you worked with Tarrik Brock last year, what difference does it make for you to have the continuity of working with him in big league camp this year?
Alex Dickerson: He’s got a lot of drills. He comes up with stuff in his sleep sometimes I think. Some seem kind of ridiculous at times, but it gets our feet moving and keeps it light and keeps it new for the most part.
As a guy who’s always had to fight perceptions about your defense, I’m curious how you’re feeling about it and the work you’ve put in?
Alex Dickerson: I work hard at it every day. And I’ll always have to fight the perceptions. But I take pride in the fact that I don’t make many mistakes out in the outfield. I may not get to some balls that some people think I should, but I think I get to more than they expect for the most part. It’s just about constantly working on routes and getting better there and more comfortable. Each time you come out to spring training, it’s a little bit of a building process getting used to seeing balls in Arizona and being able to take that out to opening day.
One of the big differences being on the big league side is just the volume of information that’s out there and available. How much of that do you look at and how much do you try to get from the guys here?
Alex Dickerson: I try to keep this game as simple as possible, honestly. There’s almost too much information in my opinion. Some guys use it to their advantage, but I’m a guy, I have to believe in what I do and just play.
As you look back at last season and the chance to get some big league time, what were the biggest take-aways as you headed into your offseason?
For me, it was just consistency throughout. Normally, my final numbers are about where they ended up, but with a lot more slumps and hot streaks to balance out. Last year, I did a pretty good job of staying consistent the entire time. It helps you keep a level head and like you’re competing on a daily basis. That was my biggest take-away on a personal basis.
What did you do on your offseason program?
I took about a month actually, just trying to heal up from being banged up in September. And then, nothing much really changed. I’m just trying to develop, but I like the path I’ve been on. I think I’ve improved every year in some aspect and basically, now it’s working hard on what I’ve got and trying to move forward.
I was in San Diego at home. I do go out to Indiana every offseason for about a month, try to see some of the college atmosphere, but then back out and get after it.