His inaugural season in the Twins systems was a very successful one, as the 18-year old slugger led the team in batting average. For the season, Dean batted .340, and was one of the main bats in the Twins' lineup. His job at the plate this season earned him TwinCitiesDugout.com's GCL Twins Hitter of the Year honors.
Prior to being signed by the Twins, he was scouted for more than three years while he played amateur ball in Australia. Howard Norsetter, the Twins' international scout, took a liking to Dean when the budding slugger was only 15 years old. Over the past few years, Australia has become a pipeline of talent for the Twins.
Dean, who originally only played softball and soccer, first received attention in the system during August. For the week ending August 19, Dean was named Twins' Minor League Player of the Week, after batting .400 for the week. Had he played in enough games, Dean would have finished the year third in the Gulf Coast League in batting average.
Batting and Power. Dean can hit, and he showed the ability to hit for average during the 2005 season. He is extremely young, and some scouts believe he has not yet become comfortable with his size. He did not show the ability to hit for power in 2005, smacking only one home run, but he will be a power bat as he continues to mature. He has a prototypical left-handed power swing, and will develop into a middle of the order hitter. He also has a tremendous batting eye, which is rare for somebody his age. In 34 games, Dean struck out only nine times, and walked on 15 occasions. He also is able to hit both right, and left-handed pitching, batting .341, and .333 respectively in 2005.
Base running and Speed. Being a first baseman, the quick assumption is that Dean is slow, and does not run the bases well. That assumption could not be further from the truth, as the first baseman swiped five bases in 34 contests. If you multiply that over a 162 games season, it would come to about 25 stolen bases, a great total for a first baseman. He was only caught stealing one time the entire season, and grounded into only two double plays. He does not make mistakes on the base paths, and seems to be comfortable out there.
Defense. Defense seems to be a weak part of Dean's repertoire, as he committed five errors for the GCL Twins in 2005. While he did turn nine double plays, Dean often seemed uncomfortable at first. He made 19 starts as a first baseman, which means he committed an error about every fourth game. The problem could be that he did not get as much work over at first as he would have liked to, as he split time with three other players.
ETA. 2010.Dean is going to have a rough road to the Major Leagues, mostly because the Twins have a logjam of talent at first base. Teammate Henry Sanchez also plays first base, and he was a first round selection in 2005. Garrett Jones, Danny Matienzo, and Luis Jimenez are also ahead of him at this point. However, with his speed and ability to hit for average, Dean should make a steady rise throughout the system. He will have his ups-and-downs, but it appears he has the talent to make it to the big leagues one day. While Justin Morneau appears to be cemented as the first baseman of the future, any team would love to have a lefty stick like Dean's. He is very young, and his journey to the show should be fun to watch. Expect him to start the season with Beloit next year.