11/14/12 6:54 PM ET
Dickerson, Rafters clinch spot in AFL title game
Rockies prospect stretches hitting streak to 12 games with 4-for-4 effort
By Zack Cox / Special to MLB.com
After opening the regular season with hits in 14 consecutive games, the Rockies outfield prospect went 4-for-4 on Wednesday to extend his most recent hitting streak to 12 games.
Dickerson tripled, drove in a pair of runs and scored twice as the Salt River Rafters clinched the East Division title and a spot in the AFL Championship Game with a 6-4 victory over the Peoria Javelinas.
"Lately, I've been feeling pretty good at the plate," the 23-year-old said. "I'm just trying to stay aggressive. Out here, you don't play every day, so I've been preparing hard and it's paying off."
Dickerson has performed well at the plate since the Rockies selected him in the eighth round of the 2010 Draft out of Meridian Community College in Mississippi. He took full advantage of the Cal League's hitter-friendly ballparks early this year, hitting safely in 32 of his first 33 games and posting a .338 average through 60 games that earned him a midseason All-Star nod and a promotion to Double-A Tulsa.
Dickerson went on to compile a .304/.358/.542 line across the two levels and was an honorable mention selection on MiLB.com's Rockies Organization All-Star team. But he hit a wall in his first week in the Fall League, going 1-for-14, a slump he attributed partly to the rotating lineups in the AFL.
The slump did not last long, however, and Dickerson -- Colorado's No. 19 prospect -- has recorded hits in every game since, taking a team-best .387 batting average into Thursday's regular-season finale.
"Nothing specific," he said when asked if he tinkered with any facet of his game after the slow start. "I had a plan coming into the Fall League to stay aggressive. I wasn't sure how the playing situation worked at first, with us playing every other day, but I just stuck with the plan. I had some hard-hit balls that just weren't falling, but I just kept working with my hitting coach mentally and everything started to fall lately."
The hits fell again on Wednesday as he notched his second four-hit performance in eight days. With the Rafters holding a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, Dickerson lined a triple to right field, scoring D-backs prospects Tyler Bortnick and Matt Davidson with the decisive runs.
"I took a fastball for strike one," Dickerson said. "Then I tried to bunt on a slider for strike No. 2. But I stayed aggressive and stuck to my plan of [trying to hit it] in the middle of the field. He threw another slider and luckily I got my foot down and used my hands."
Dickerson, Ryan Goins (Blue Jays) and Jose Gonzalez (Rockies) each drove in a pair of runs in the division clincher.
"The guys around me have been awesome," Dickerson said. "All the players on this team have talent and you have to give them all the credit. They go out there and battle just like I do and each productive hit got us this win."
Nate Roberts (Twins) and Mariners' No. 10 prospect Stefen Romero both homered for the Javelinas, whose lead over second-place Surprise in the West Division was sliced to a half-game. Roberts logged his fourth straight multi-hit contest and leads the AFL in batting average by more than 60 points (.468).
Zack Cox is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.