The talent always has been there for Alex Dickerson. It's no surprise he was a third-round pick in the 2011 MLB Draft or that he crushed the ball his first few years in the minor leagues.
Like many other talented athletes in the past, injuries have been a tough bump in the road for the Giants outfielder. In reality, there have been multiple bumps with some crushing potholes.
With spring training one month away, though, this is the most healthy Dickerson has been in years.
"It's good," Dickerson told KNBR's Mark Willard on Tuesday when asked about his health. "Spent a little downtime letting my oblique really heal fully. It was pretty good by the end of the year, but it still definitely had some scar tissue and stuff that I had to work through. For the most part, it was the first normal offseason I've had in probably five years.
"Health's great and feeling good and ready for spring."
The Giants acquired Dickerson from the San Diego Padres on June 10 last season, and he quickly became one of Farhan Zaidi's best moves in his early tenure as San Francisco's president of baseball operations. Dickerson, 29, made his Giants debut on June 21 and made quite the first impression in an 11-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks by going 3-for-5 with a homer, triple and six RBI.
Dickerson hit .375 with two dingers and a 1.194 OPS in June and then was even better in July, batting .393 with four homers and a 1.237 OPS in 20 games.
The Giants looked like they finally found a power-hitting left fielder. Fans were watching a lefty launch balls over the wall for the first time in years. But once again, injuries hampered Dickerson's season.
"It's been tough, but it's more just been a game of patience," Dickerson said about his history with injuries. "I've always believed in myself, always believed that every injury was something that I was going to come back from. Having two season-long ones right out of the gate in spring training back-to-back years was ... you know, it was devastating."
More than anything, Dickerson believes his past injuries have helped him understand his body better. He also has seen the vast improvements in the medical world and pointed to the differences between when he had back surgery at 15 years old compared to 10 years later at 25. He's focused on maintaining his health in 2020 and putting his bouts with his body behind him.
Over 56 games with the Giants last season, Dickerson hit .290 with six homers, 26 RBI and an .880 OPS. He proved his talent when healthy and is excited to see what next season has in store.
"We're gonna have a younger, hungrier group. Guys are really gonna want to prove themselves, so I think the energy's definitely going to be there," Dickerson said. "Any time you have a staff change, there's gonna be some adjustment period, but I think from staff down to the players we have a lot of guys who are hungry and want to prove something."
Dickerson already has met with new manager Gabe Kapler, too. The two had coffee in Orange County, and Dickerson came away with a glowing review of his new skipper.
"I was impressed," Dickerson said. "He was very well prepared. Had a bunch of interesting question. He seems to have a plan set out for this group of guys."
As long as he stays healthy, it's safe to say Dickerson will be a big part of Kapler's plans.
Giants' Alex Dickerson having 'first normal offseason' in five years originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area