When the Reds traded Todd Frazier to the Chicago White Sox in the offseason and got back three players from the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three team deal, the afterthought of the deal was infielder Brandon Dixon. He was the forgotten man behind Jose Peraza who led the deal and Scott Schebler who was close to the Majors.
He’s a 24-year-old infielder who’s spent a majority of his time at second base this season with the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos. He has also spent a small amount of time in the outfield this season.
Dixon got out to a bit of a slow start to the season. Over the first two weeks of the year he hit just .205/.256/.231 with just one double, three walks and 13 strikeouts. After an off day on April 22nd, something changed and the former Dodgers prospect went on an absolute tear.
In the six weeks since he’s hit an incredible .364/.413/.755 with 10 doubles and 11 home runs in 121 plate appearances. The 3rd round pick from 2013 has drawn nine walks in that span, which is a little lower than you’d like to see , but it’s an improvement on his career rate. His strikeout rate in that span is also an improvement from his career rate.
Of course, the biggest thing going on here is the power output in this span. He’s smacked 21 extra-base hits in just 31 games. Coming into the season we knew that power potential was the biggest thing going for Brandon Dixon, though he hadn’t been able to show it consistently in his career.
Most of his power has been to the pull side this year. Ten of his 11 home runs have been hit to left or left center with just one home run going to right field. He’s spread out his doubles a little bit more, hitting five to the pull side and three each to center and right field.
We are looking at a relatively small sample size in 2016 with what Brandon Dixon has done, just 168 total plate appearances this season. There are some good signs of improvement showing up though. As noted above, his walk rate, particularly over the last six weeks, is up from his career rate. He’s already walked as many times this season, 12, as he did in 349 plate appearances last season in Double-A while with the Dodgers. His strikeout rate is down a little bit as well, though it’s still a little bit high. Then of course is the power output, where he’s slugging .617 on the season.
His strikeout to walk ratio is the best of his career, but it’s still at a rate that will need to improve. The power would appear to have taken a big step forward, and while it’s probably that he won’t continue to slug .617 and he’s certainly riding a hot streak, he’s certainly doing something different than he’s done in the past and it’s paying off. He’s showing more patience and the ball is flying off of his bat. Those are both good signs.