Dickerson looking like option in leadoff spot

Dickerson looking like option in leadoff spot

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- If Rockies manager Walt Weiss sees Corey Dickerson as an occasional leadoff hitter, Dickerson made Sunday a special occasion.

Dickerson went 3-for-3 with a double in a 6-2 victory over the Royals, with regular No. 1 hitter Charlie Blackmon taking the day off.

Last season, Blackmon hit first in the batting order in 137 games. Right-handed-hitting Drew Stubbs will spell Blackmon occasionally, but Stubbs was highly effective in the two-hole last season. So Dickerson, who batted .312 last season and could slot in as the regular No. 2 hitter this season, is a prime candidate to take the top spot when Blackmon is resting.

Dickerson hit in the leadoff spot in Double-A in 2012 and Triple-A in '13. The latter season, he batted .362 with a .404 on-base percentage and a .404 slugging percentage in 213 at-bats for manager Glenallen Hill at Colorado Springs.

"I remember G-Hill telling me, 'We're going to find a place for you to hit,' and soon enough in a few weeks, I found myself hitting leadoff a lot," Dickerson said.

Dickerson said the key is having some leadoff values, but not changing his identity for the spot in the order.

"I take the same approach, but I need to know who we're facing, and if the guys behind me haven't faced him I need to take some pitches -- it's not just about me, it's about the guys batting behind me, making him work," Dickerson said.

Weiss used Dickerson in the leadoff spot eight times last season. The numbers weren't good (.152/.222 on-base/.273 slugging), but Weiss is aware of what Dickerson did in Colorado Springs.

"He's always been a high on-base guy, usually because he hits for a high average," Weiss said. "It doesn't matter how you get on."

Weiss also could use right-handed-hitting Brandon Barnes in the leadoff spot. In nine games at the top spot last season, Barnes hit .263/.300/.316. Dickerson, however, keeps the leadoff spot consistent; he's a left-handed hitter, like Blackmon, and he has power.

Dickerson finished last season with a team-high 24 homers, and Blackmon's 19 homers from the leadoff spot were second-most in the Majors behind the 20 by the Brewers' Carlos Gomez.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.