“The game of chess”: when and why Corey Dickerson is choking
Ahead of the 2018 season, Corey Dickerson made a choice. He wanted to hit less.
The year before, Dickerson had hit 27 home runs, increased his batting average by 37 points and had the only all-star nod of his career. But the outfielder was not happy with the strikeouts.
He sacrificed power and gage, but as expected his punches dropped from 152 to 80. Dickerson choked more, implemented his two-hit approach steadily, and reduced swing and kick. misfires on all counts. It’s an approach he carries with him to the Blue Jays – his fingers climb the stick at any point in the chain to put the barrel on the ball. But Dickerson refined the strategy, picking his points and finding the right balance on his old-fashioned approach.
“It’s just beautiful,” manager Charlie Montoyo said of Dickerson’s approach. “We have to come back to it, baseball in general.”
Dickerson developed a two-stroke approach in college, but his hands didn’t start drifting upward until 2017, his final year as the Tampa Bay Ray. The goal isn’t just to make contact, sometimes Dickerson will choke if he thinks the opposing pitcher is getting in, or he’ll lower the grip if he’s expecting something slow. If there’s a man in third and he just needs a touch, Dickerson will climb on the grip and hit the ball in play. Two strikes or none, it doesn’t matter, Dickerson is ready to choke. whenever he thinks it’s to his team’s advantage.
“It’s like the game of chess that goes through your head while you stick,” Dickerson said.