Today’s season in review focuses on Matt den Dekker.
The 26 year old lefty hitting outfielder opened eyes during spring training last season with his stellar play in center field. He became a regular sight on ESPN’s top plays, but unfortunately broke his wrist toward the end of March.
After recovering, den Dekker made his major league debut during the second half of last season. Here’s how he did:
How he handled the bat:
After being promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas (where he had a triple slash of .296/.366/.486), den Dekker hit .207/.270/.276 in just 63 plate appearances over 27 games with the Mets.
It was an incredibly small sample size, but what has been an issue for den Dekker in the minors (striking out way too often) was a huge issue in the majors. Den Dekker struck out in 36.5 % of his at bats after being promoted to the majors, a number he’ll have to cut down on significantly if he has any hope of sticking.
How he handled the glove:
Den Dekker is an incredibly gifted outfielder, and he continued to display his talent after his promotion to the Mets. In his cup of coffee in Queens, he played primarily center field, but also saw some time in right field while Juan Lagares played center. Den Dekker has some pop in his bat, but his ability to cover ground in center is what is keeping him on the radar.
Projected role for 2014:
Unless something odd happens, Juan Lagares will be the starting center fielder for the Mets in 2014 – and he certainly deserves to be. If den Dekker has a chance to make the club, it will likely be as a fourth or fifth outfielder.
Contract status and trade rumors:
Den Dekker is under team control and will make roughly $500K in 2014. He hasn’t been connected to any trade rumors, but he may be of interest to a non-contender in need of an inexpensive, defensive oriented center fielder.