The number of accolades received by junior outfielder Alex Dickerson has risen from a handful to a laundry list.
First Team All-American by numerous media outlets? Check.
2010 Triple Crown winner in the Big Ten Conference? Check.
Member of the 2010 USA Baseball National Team? Check.
All those achievements aside, manager Tracy Smith said he sees the same Dickerson coming to work every day.
“Dickerson’s Dickerson. He is a very unassuming, humble kid,” Smith said. “He is going to throw up some good numbers. He just doesn’t change, and that’s what makes him so special.”
The junior from Poway, Calif., leads a potent Hoosier offense into the 2011 season beginning Feb. 18.
After hitting .419 with 24 home runs and 75 RBI last season, even Dickerson knows that a similar offensive output is unlikely. But that isn’t stopping the 2010 Big Ten Player of the Year from itching to get back on the diamond.
“You can’t expect to have the year that I had last year. Baseball just won’t allow you to do that,” Dickerson said. “But I’m ready to get back out there. You almost forget what baseball is like until you step back on that field again, so I’m real excited for it.”
While playing for Team USA and in the Cape Cod League during the summer, Dickerson played against the world’s best players and was exposed to parts of the world he never thought he would see.
“It was the best time of my life,” Dickerson said. “I had a great time in the Cape and playing for Team USA. The experience was worth everything, and I kind of learned that baseball is more than just a game.”
College Baseball Daily has Dickerson ranked as the No. 10 college player in the nation and is the only one from the Big Ten on the list of top 100.
“He’s a power hitter and one of the most consistent prospects in the country right now,” said Brian Foley, editor and founder of College Baseball Daily. “He’s just an all-around talent. He is the top player in the Big Ten. That is not even a debate.”
Joining Dickerson in the Hoosiers’ lineup are hitters sophomore Micah Johnson, junior Josh Lyon and senior Jerrud Sabourin.
A fellow southern California native, Sabourin finished second in the Big Ten in batting average last spring with a .394 average and is 37 hits away from breaking the IU school record for most career hits.
On any other team, Sabourin would be the one teams would be pitching around, but the senior doesn’t mind hitting right before the conference’s best hitter.
“It can almost speak for itself. It’s awesome,” Sabourin said. “I know that I’m going to see some pitches. I’m going to see some strikes because they don’t want to walk me and face him.”
With many pro scouts projecting Dickerson as a first round pick in the MLB Draft in June, the junior knows that the time is now for the Hoosiers to make a championship run.
“I really think this is one of the best teams that I have ever been on, and I really have high expectations,” Dickerson said. “When we get into Big Ten play, we shouldn’t shoot for anything less than winning it, and after that, I think this is a team that could go to the College World Series. I really do.”