Welcome back to Kings of Kauffman's continuing series of stories profiling some of the KC Royals organization's top prospects. Up today is outfielder Jared Dickey.
After two days and 10 rounds of last summer's amateur draft, Tennessee outfielder Jared Dickey, a promising hitter who in two seasons with the Volunteers blistered Southeast Conference pitchers with a .343/.421/.531 line and 19 homers in 103 games, still hadn't been picked.
But on the third and final day of the draft, Dickey's wait ended in the 11th round when the Royals grabbed him with the 319th overall selection. He soon signed for a reported $527,500 and was off to Arizona to make his professional debut in the Complex League.
It wouldn't be his only stop of the season.
Jared Dickey had a short, but excellent, introduction to the minors
Dickey didn't see much of Arizona, which was probably Kansas City's plan all along. After tripling and singling in four games, he found himself headed for South Carolina and the club's Columbia Single-A affiliate, and there, thanks to a hot bat, he enjoyed a longer and much more productive stay.
Playing in 28 games for the Fireflies, the young outfielder (he also caught occasionally in college) hit .347 with five doubles, three triples, and 19 RBI. He also walked 12 times, had a superb .434 OBP, and stole three bases.
Combine those nice numbers with his Complex League stats, and Dickey finished his short season with a .330 average and .425 OBP. A small sample size, yes, but an excellent result.
And he didn't commit a single error in 46 chances split evenly between left and right fields.
Predicting Jared Dickey's 2024 season with the KC Royals organization
Dickey's name appears on Columbia's current roster for good reason — he impressed with the Fireflies last season, but it's still too soon for the Royals to move him up to High-A Quad Cities. A promotion won't be wise or warranted until he sees more Single-A pitching.
But if he continues hitting well, Dickey, who MLB Pipeline rates as the organization's 20th-best prospect, won't be forced to wait long for a bump to the River Bandits. And his bat probably won't have to remain as hot as it was at Columbia for that bump to happen.
Dickey came through at the plate in college and throughout his minor league debut campaign. Expect more of the same this season; he'll run into a slump or two, but he should be in Quad Cities by season's end.