#29: Matt Den Dekker Scouting Report

Matt Den Dekker became a highlight sensation during his final collegiate days before putting together one of the better rookie performances from the Mets 2010 draft class. The Savannah outfielder made an impression with his maturity and tools that could open him up to a rapid promotion in 2011. Check out his scouting report to find out why.

Vital Statistics
Name: Matt Den Dekker
DOB: August 10, 1987
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 205
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Status: 5th Round (2010) – University of Florida

When an organization spends a high round draft pick on a collegiate outfielder from a major program, the hope is that the outfielder will come in fairly polished and able to adapt quickly. That is exactly what the Mets got when the Mets used their 2010 fifth round pick on former University of Florida center fielder Matt Den Dekker.

Some scouts reacted fairly indifferently when the Mets took a college senior so high up the draft board, and with good reason. If a college player is good enough to be drafted so early, they will typically come out of after their junior year. Instead, the Mets selected a 23-year-old who they hoped would step right in and show little need to toil in the short-season leagues.

The Mets were ultimately proven right. Though Den Dekker did not don a professional uniform for the first time until late July due to Florida's ascent to the College World Series and a fairly lengthy contract negotiation, when he did, he provided instant results.

Following a five-game tune up in the Gulf Coast League, Den Dekker jumped right to Savannah where he fit in among a talented outfield and did not miss a beat. In 27 games with the Sand Gnats, Den Dekker hit .346 with 15 RBI, 13 doubles and a .404 on-base percentage, including ripping off a .413 average through his first 21 games before going 3-for-24 in his last six.

"Getting accustomed down in the Gulf Coast for a few days, I think that helped me out," Den Dekker said in an interview with Inside Pitch. "I got some ABs down there and got accustomed to the wood bats. When I got up to Savannah, I hit the ball pretty well. It was a pretty good transition. Playing in the Southeastern Conference prepared me well to play professional baseball."

His manager in Savannah agreed. While Sand Gnats manager Pedro Lopez did not get a prolonged look at his center fielder, he saw the maturity and well-rounded talent that persuaded the organization to grab him.

"I thought his maturity came through on the first day he got here," said Lopez. "He played extremely well for us, both at the plate and in the field. He was always aware of every situation going on, on both sides of the field and that is something you can't teach a player especially in his first year."

Looking back, Den Dekker's decision turned out the best thing for his career. After returning to school despite being the 2009 16th round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Den Dekker not only improved his draft stock, but he believes put himself in a much better position to find success and personal achievement. How will he accomplish those things? With a simple formula.

"I just like to play the game hard, play the game tough," he said. "That's the way it's supposed to be played. This is something I've worked my whole life for – to be professional baseball player. I've worked my hardest and so far it's working out."

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2010

Savannah

.346

104

36

0

15

21

3

9

28

.404

.471

2010

Gulf Coast League

.278

18

5

0

5

2

0

2

5

.350

.389



Batting and Power: Den Dekker did not hit a home run his first season and it was no accident. It is an indicator that power is not part of his game. He has a wide hitting stance with an open front foot that would lead one to believe he has a tough time getting around on the ball. However, fast hands and quick wrist snap allow him to get to the contact point with consistency. Good bat control allows him to drive the ball from line-to-line with doubles authority. He is better when using contact and base running to his strength. He was an aggressive swinger last summer, striking out nearly 25 percent of the time, but coaches and scouts believe that the figure is not indicative of his plate discipline and that the ratio will come down.

Base Running and Speed: Den Dekker's boasts above average speed that is aided by very good base running acumen. While he isn't a burner, he has the legs to beat out his share of slow rollers on the infield. Additionally, he sports the combination of speed and field awareness to be aggressive without running himself into trouble. A good first step allows that speed to transfer to the outfield.

Defense: Den Dekker became a YouTube sensation for an outstanding play he made during the College World Series. Truthfully, he is an above-average center fielder with good but not great range. The aforementioned first step allows him to cheat a bit in either direction without playing himself out of position. He has a serviceable arm with good carry but lacks the arm strength to slow down base runners.

Projection: Den Dekker fits the mold of a recent organizational trend of going after toolsy centerfielders who can run, play defense and hit for contact. However, it must be mentioned that his 2010 production came as a 23-year-old playing at league well below the age adjusted curve. The possible downside to his age is that his ceiling is rather low compared to his current skill set. He needs to regain the plate discipline coaches noted, but his bat and defense may not grow much more than where they are right now. Nevertheless, the compliment of tools should get him a look as a fourth outfielder, if not more, as long as he continues to demonstrate he can handle higher level pitching.

ETA: 2013. Where Den Dekker begins the 2011 season is a bit tricky. There is a good collection of younger talent that should be off to St. Lucie which could prompt the organization to take advantage of his maturity by sending him to Binghamton. If so, and everything breaks right for him, there is a shot he gets a late look in 2012, but the 2013 is the safer prediction.

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics
\r\nName: Matt Den Dekker
\r\nDOB: August 10, 1987
\r\nHeight: 6'1\"
\r\nWeight: 205
\r\nBats: Left
\r\nThrows: Left
\r\nStatus: 5th Round (2010) – University of Florida
\r\n
\r\nWhen an organization spends a high round draft pick on a collegiate outfielder from a major program, the hope is that the outfielder will come in fairly polished and able to adapt quickly. That is exactly what the Mets got when the Mets used their 2010 fifth round pick on former University of Florida center fielder Matt Den Dekker.
\r\n
\r\nSome scouts reacted fairly indifferently when the Mets took a college senior so high up the draft board, and with good reason. If a college player is good enough to be drafted so early, they will typically come out of after their junior year. Instead, the Mets selected a 23-year-old who they hoped would step right in and show little need to toil in the short-season leagues.
\r\n
\r\nThe Mets were ultimately proven right. Though Den Dekker did not don a professional uniform for the first time until late July due to Florida's ascent to the College World Series and a fairly lengthy contract negotiation, when he did, he provided instant results.
\r\n
\r\nFollowing a five-game tune up in the Gulf Coast League, Den Dekker jumped right to Savannah where he fit in among a talented outfield and did not miss a beat. In 27 games with the Sand Gnats, Den Dekker hit .346 with 15 RBI, 13 doubles and a .404 on-base percentage, including ripping off a .413 average through his first 21 games before going 3-for-24 in his last six.
\r\n
\r\n\"Getting accustomed down in the Gulf Coast for a few days, I think that helped me out,\" Den Dekker said in an interview with Inside Pitch. \"I got some ABs down there and got accustomed to the wood bats. When I got up to Savannah, I hit the ball pretty well. It was a pretty good transition. Playing in the Southeastern Conference prepared me well to play professional baseball.\"
\r\n
\r\nHis manager in Savannah agreed. While Sand Gnats manager Pedro Lopez did not get a prolonged look at his center fielder, he saw the maturity and well-rounded talent that persuaded the organization to grab him.
\r\n
\r\n\"I thought his maturity came through on the first day he got here,\" said Lopez. \"He played extremely well for us, both at the plate and in the field. He was always aware of every situation going on, on both sides of the field and that is something you can't teach a player especially in his first year.\"
\r\n
\r\nLooking back, Den Dekker's decision turned out the best thing for his career. After returning to school despite being the 2009 16th round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Den Dekker not only improved his draft stock, but he believes put himself in a much better position to find success and personal achievement. How will he accomplish those things? With a simple formula.
\r\n
\r\n\"I just like to play the game hard, play the game tough,\" he said. \"That's the way it's supposed to be played. This is something I've worked my whole life for – to be professional baseball player. I've worked my hardest and so far it's working out.\"
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n AVG.

\r\n

\r\n AB

\r\n

\r\n Hits

\r\n

\r\n HR

\r\n

\r\n RBI

\r\n

R

\r\n

\r\n SB

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

K

\r\n

\r\n OBP

\r\n

\r\n SLG

\r\n

\r\n 2010

\r\n

\r\n Savannah

\r\n

\r\n .346

\r\n

\r\n 104

\r\n

\r\n 36

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 15

\r\n

\r\n 21

\r\n

\r\n 3

\r\n

\r\n 9

\r\n

\r\n 28

\r\n

\r\n .404

\r\n

\r\n .471

\r\n

\r\n 2010

\r\n

\r\n Gulf Coast League

\r\n

\r\n .278

\r\n

\r\n 18

\r\n

\r\n 5

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 5

\r\n

\r\n 2

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 2

\r\n

\r\n 5

\r\n

\r\n .350

\r\n

\r\n .389


\r\n\r\n
\r\nBatting and Power: Den Dekker did not hit a home run his first season and it was no accident. It is an indicator that power is not part of his game. He has a wide hitting stance with an open front foot that would lead one to believe he has a tough time getting around on the ball. However, fast hands and quick wrist snap allow him to get to the contact point with consistency. Good bat control allows him to drive the ball from line-to-line with doubles authority. He is better when using contact and base running to his strength. He was an aggressive swinger last summer, striking out nearly 25 percent of the time, but coaches and scouts believe that the figure is not indicative of his plate discipline and that the ratio will come down.
\r\n
\r\nBase Running and Speed: Den Dekker's boasts above average speed that is aided by very good base running acumen. While he isn't a burner, he has the legs to beat out his share of slow rollers on the infield. Additionally, he sports the combination of speed and field awareness to be aggressive without running himself into trouble. A good first step allows that speed to transfer to the outfield.
\r\n
\r\nDefense: Den Dekker became a YouTube sensation for an outstanding play he made during the College World Series. Truthfully, he is an above-average center fielder with good but not great range. The aforementioned first step allows him to cheat a bit in either direction without playing himself out of position. He has a serviceable arm with good carry but lacks the arm strength to slow down base runners.
\r\n
\r\nProjection: Den Dekker fits the mold of a recent organizational trend of going after toolsy centerfielders who can run, play defense and hit for contact. However, it must be mentioned that his 2010 production came as a 23-year-old playing at league well below the age adjusted curve. The possible downside to his age is that his ceiling is rather low compared to his current skill set. He needs to regain the plate discipline coaches noted, but his bat and defense may not grow much more than where they are right now. Nevertheless, the compliment of tools should get him a look as a fourth outfielder, if not more, as long as he continues to demonstrate he can handle higher level pitching.
\r\n
\r\nETA: 2013. Where Den Dekker begins the 2011 season is a bit tricky. There is a good collection of younger talent that should be off to St. Lucie which could prompt the organization to take advantage of his maturity by sending him to Binghamton. If so, and everything breaks right for him, there is a shot he gets a late look in 2012, but the 2013 is the safer prediction.
\r\n
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