Matt Den Dekker was named Eastern League Player of the Week yesterday, and rightfully so. The left-handed center fielder is hitting .488 with 20 hits over his last ten games, and has reached base at a .512 clip, scoring 10 runs. He was drafted in the 5th round of the 2010 draft by the Mets, and with his recent promotion to the Buffalo Bisons, he has made it all the way through the Mets farm system in his third year of professional baseball. Did you read that news and ask yourself who Matt Den Dekker is, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Let me help you out.
Den Dekker is a product of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he not attended high school (Westminster Academy Christian School), and stayed in the Sunshine State to play his college ball with the Florida Gators. He was a solid offensive player as his college career
progressed (.234 BA as a freshman, .333 as a sophomore, .296 as a junior, and .358 as a senior), but more well-known for his speed and outfield defense. After his junior year, he was rated the 92nd overall prospect by Baseball America, but wasn’t drafted until the 475th pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 16th round. Not satisfied with that, he decided to return to Florida for his senior year, and that ended up being a great idea.
In 2010, the Gators reached the College World Series, thanks to the performance of Den Dekker, who hit .358 and lead the team with 65 runs scored, while driving in a career-best 49 runs. With that solid performance, the Mets drafted the Florida outfielder in the 5th round of the 2010 MLB draft, giving him an initial assignment of playing for the Gulf Coast League Mets, where he hit .278 with 5 RBI in 5 games before he was promoted to the Savannah Sand Gnats for the rest of the season.
Den Dekker had a great run in Savannah, as he posted a .346/.404/.471 triple slash while scoring 21 runs in 27 games. The outfielder got promoted to the St. Lucie Mets in 2011, and after 67 games got the call to join Binghamton in Double-A. He struggled a bit in his 72 games there (.235/.312/.426), and even though he was invited to Big League Spring Training this year, was sent back to Double-A, where he has proven himself in 2012 (.340/.397/.563). In 47 games, Den Dekker has scored 47 runs, driven in 29, and stolen 10 bases.
The two time FSL player of the week and 2011 mid-season FSL All-Star received his first award this year with Eastern League Player of the Week honors, and it earned him a trip to Buffalo as well. It will be interesting to see how Den Dekker responds to Triple-A pitching throughout the summer, as the Mets continue to develop what looks to be yet another solid outfield prospect.