Cody Dickson had an up-and-down season at Sam Houston State, but he improved his Draft stock by pitching well toward the end of the season, enough that the Pirates took him in the fourth round (119th overall) of the First-Year Player Draft on Friday.
A 6-foot-3, 185-pound junior, Dickson was 9-5 with a 4.26 ERA for the Bearkats this season. The lefty had 91 strikeouts and 51 walks and ended 2013 with a 28 inning scoreless streak.
Pirates director of amateur scouting Joe DelliCarri said they had Dickson on their radar before the season and got to see him several times early on. Those early looks, which he said showed Dickson's potential and the lefty's improvements throughout the year, led to the selection.
"It was a nice progression for him," DelliCarri said. "He started out in a good spot and ended up in a really good spot for us."
Dickson is a tall, projectable lefty who throws his fastball mostly in the low 90s, but he could see an uptick of velocity with added weight. He has a very good three-pitch mix that includes a changeup that has the chance to be plus. He goes right after hitters and has a very good feel for pitching.
"I do think he has the chance to have three quality Major League pitches," DelliCarri said.
The chance to get a projectable left-hander with the potential to have two above-average pitches was too much for the Pirates to pass up in the fourth round.
Dickson has, however struggled with command at times. He allowed 19 free passes to just 25 strikeouts for Santa Barbara of the California Collegiate League in 2012, but he gave up just 12 hits and eight runs in 23 innings last summer.
Dickson became just the second player ever to be drafted out of Sam Houston State.
Steve Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.