HYPE files: Matt Den Dekker

Why the hype?

Matt Den Dekker, OF: Like Wilfredo Tovar, Matt Den Dekker is a prospect that divides a fan base. Matt Den Dekker has the best outfield glove in the Mets organization and that is including the major league team. If Den Dekker ever gets the chance to start for a major league team, there is a high possibility that he would win a gold glove. With that said, his hitting will never be enough for him to stick as a starter.

Den Dekker exploded out of the gate this year in AA Binghamton. He hit to a tune of .340/.397/.563 with 21 2Bs, 4 3Bs, 8 HRs, 29 RBIs, and 10 SBs. Although this stat line is impressive, Den Dekker produced it at 24 years old – an age that most young players are getting their careers started in the major leagues. Despite the age concerns, Mets fans couldn’t help but get excited with Den Dekker. If his hitting could catch up to his defense, the Mets would have a good player on their hands.

Many believed Den Dekker was figuring out his hitting, but if one were to look closely at the numbers one would see why Den Dekker would never be able to stick as a starter at the major league level. In only 238 Abs in AA, Den Dekker struck out 64 times; he struck out about 28 % of the time. Despite this glaring error in his game, the Mets promoted Den Dekker to AAA Buffalo and hoped they caught lightning in a bottle with this prospect.

Unfortunately, Den Dekker could never find his bat in AAA after his promotion. His stat line was unimpressive: .220/.256/.373 with 10 2Bs, 4 3Bs, 9 HRs, 47 RBIs, and 11 SBs. Although Den Dekker kept pace with his triple, homeruns, and stolen bases, his average and doubles were gashed in half. Those were not the only regressions in Den Dekker’s game. He stopped getting on base as frequently (.397 OPS to .256 OPS) and his strike out rate increased from 28% to 30.5% (90 Ks in 295 Abs). When all was said and done, Den Dekker had struck out 154 times in 533 ABs for a combined strike out rate of about 29 (28.89)%.

Despite his immense struggles in AAA, Mets fans still keep hope. There was a trend developing with Den Dekker. In 2011, Den Dekker struggle in AA producing a slash line of .235/.312/.426 while striking out 33% of the time. However this year he dominated the AA level as said above. With his struggles in AAA this year, many believe there is a possibility he will dominate the level next season and earn his promotion to the major league team.

The trend will probably continue where Den Dekker will struggle in the majors next year and then find a way to produce in the level in two years. Problem is at that point Den Dekker will be 28 years old and his career will not have much of a life span. However, it is more likely that Den Dekker will never be able to cut down on his strike outs enough to be able to stick as a starter at the major league level. Ultimately, Den Dekker will end up being an OF bat off the bench that will be able to provide gold glove defense in the field.

20 comments for “HYPE files: Matt Den Dekker

  1. September 17, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Should he be getting September call up time, since, other than Dickey’s W, (and youth) the games are without meaning to the team?

  2. Metsense
    September 17, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Stephen, your points are well taken and based on his slow starts at each level and high K rate, they are more than probable. Here is another look at MDD through another scouts eyes.

    “He a good defender,” the scout said. “He throws good enough. He’s got some power — not great power, but he’s got some power. He’s making adjustments. I’ve been there [to watch Binghamton] three times. Every time he’s gotten better with the bat. He’s not flailing. He’s not trying to pull the ball. He’s making adjustments. It looks natural. He will cut down on his strikeouts with this new approach. He’s more patient. He’s going to be OK. I was prepared to not like this kid. He’s really won me over. It’s going to be a very spirited competition for center field between him and Nieuwenhuis, who are both better than Torres.” 6/13/12

    Nieuwenhuis seems to have the inside track going into spring, and Valdespin is a dark horse but come July if neither seizes the opportunity then MDD with his glove alone may take over the job. All three don’t seem to be a long term solution, but all three are young and hopefully one will prove us wrong.

    • Stephen Basile
      September 17, 2012 at 11:42 pm

      I agree that the three of them are probably not the long term answer for this team. Den Dekker has a real shot at being a solid bench player for this team for years. He has some nice pop and his defense could be very valuable late in games. He also has decent enough speed to steal a bag late in games if he pinch hits and gets on base. I like MDD the bench player just not MDD the starter.

  3. September 17, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    When I asked about him playing more, I thought for the possibility of showcasing…part of a future trade?

    It is more than that; it is built up frustration with the team, the manager, the ownership…all of it.

    These games should be used in giving kids a splash (Den Dekker is not a kid) and making plans..

  4. September 17, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Thoughts on Steven Matz, post Tommy J surgery? He appears to have arm strength.

    • Stephen Basile
      September 17, 2012 at 11:44 pm

      Too early for me to pass judgement on Matz. Looking forward to him playing full season ball next year. Hopefully the Mets don’t hold him back and start him at Brooklyn.

  5. 7train
    September 17, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    MDD’s not on the 40 and doesn’t have to be this off season rule 5 wise so putting him on now to bring him up for a look would prevent us from protecting a prospect who is rule 5 eligible this coming December.

    • Stephen Basile
      September 17, 2012 at 11:44 pm

      Great point, 7train. Plus MDD really isn’t lighting Triple A up.

  6. Mack Ade
    September 17, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Stephen:

    A suggestion.

    You may want to avoid making such finite statements as “he will not” or “he will never”… we don’t have ‘Alpha’ powers and I’ve learned over the years that things I’ve said etched in stone can come back and bite you in the ass.

    I share your concern about Deck’s projectability in the majors, but I also share Metsense’s pointing out an agent’s comments about how well he can make adjustments.

    den Dekker’s biggest mistake was playing four years in college and is fighting age along with all these other things, but, slow start, bad ending, whatever:

    2011 – combined A+/AA – 17-HRs, 68-RBIs

    2012 – combined AA/AAA – 17-HRs, 76-RBIs

    • Stephen Basile
      September 17, 2012 at 11:49 pm

      Mack as always I will take your advice to heart. Thank you.

      I respect the adjustment point people make about MDD, but at the same time his strike out rates are always so high at every level even when he’s raking that I just don’t see him being able to be a starter. He has some nice pop, but it’s not Dunn like where one would be able to ignore the strike outs. As always, I hope I’m wrong about this. However, a solid, cheap bench piece that the Mets have control over for a few years is nothing to sneeze at.

      • Mack Ade
        September 18, 2012 at 10:11 am

        Now, see, THAT statement I agree with because you worded it “I just don’t see…”

        (I was just trying to be helpful… I still can’t live down the definitive statement I made that Alay Soler would be the SP1 in the Mets lineup for 5+ years… fans have a way of killing “us guys” with definitive statements… )

        I totally agree with you that (on any team) all Matt den Dekker (and Kirk Nieuwenhuis BTW) will be is a utility outfielder, but this team is one of two injuries away from both these guys being in the lineup.

        Stephen, call it being released, or free agency, Scott Hairston and Andres Torres will cease being a New York Met the day after the last game played this season.

        This will leave them Jason Bay, Mike Baxter, Lucas Duda, Juan Lagares, Fred Lewis,
        Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Cesar Puello, Jordany Valdespin.

        IMO, Vanderbilt has a better outfield with Mike Yastrzemski, Conrad Gregor, and Tony Kemp.

        The current Mets salary is $94.508, but that includes the releasing of Mike Pelfrey (no change on the books) Ramon Ramirez ($2.65), Andres Torres ($2.7) and Scott Hairston ($1.1mil) That nets out at a payroll level of around $88mil

        At the same time, you want to resign Jon Rauch ($4.25), Kelly Shoppach, ($1.75mil) plus spend around $3mil in new ARB-1 increases… that brings the net payroll back up to $97mil.

        Sandy Alderson says the Mets are going to “raise” the payroll to “around $100mil.” Was this Sandy-speak?, because I just don’t see where the money is going to come from to get the team a new top-line outfielder.

        No, based on the current contract situation (Bay-Santana-etc.). The projected Mets outfield, minus any “outsiders” being added, will be:

        2013: LF Jason Bay CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis RF Lucas Duda UT Mike Baxter UT Jordany Valdespin

        • 7train
          September 18, 2012 at 2:15 pm

          That is some OF Mack but because of salary it just may be the case.

          As for the prospects I see MDD having the best chance to either be a real good player or have the shortest stint in the Majors. Teams like the NYY can have a 5th OFer who is a defensive replacement pinch runner because they have a
          established all around starting OFer’s in at least 2 spots.

          Kirk has the best chance to be a decent 4th OFer.

          Spin has the best chance to get be the hot hand utility guy who gets playing time until his hot streak ends.

          Vaughn has a good chance to be a decent RF platoon and defensive replacement.

          Basically our only chance for a full time starting OFer is MDD and without him coming through we are hosed because you can’t platoon at all 3 OF spots let alone somewhere else as well.

          Andy Van Slyke or Jason Pridie? Time will tell, clock is ticking.

  7. NormE
    September 18, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    I have to/want to believe that the Mets will bring in some OF candidates by way of a trade. The traded players might be Duda, Davis, Murphy, Niese, Gee (probably not) or Wright and Dickey. Sandy Alderson can’t keep rewrapping the same rotten fish and call it fresh. The only truly untouchable on this team is
    Jason Bay—-guess why?

    • Mack Ade
      September 18, 2012 at 7:02 pm

      7Train:

      Trading Ike Davis is getting a lot of chatter today.

      Makes sense… 2014 is a wash… trade him for a real young outfielder who hasn’t begun his ARB-1 year,play Duda at first for a year, than play Flores at first in 2014.

      By then, Puello, Vaughn, Ceciliani, Nimmo come into play plus any trades involving any number of Mets secondary prospect starters (Gorski, Verrett, Mazzoni, Pill, deGrom, Pants, Camerena, Vasquez, Ynoa, Lara, Cessa, Robles, Hilario).

      As I’ve said for two years… 2014

      • Mack Ade
        September 18, 2012 at 7:03 pm

        I mean, 2013 is a wash – my bad – (I absolutely hate the fact I can’t go back and correct my mistakes)

    • Mack Ade
      September 18, 2012 at 7:06 pm

      NormE:

      No, the tradeable players are the secondary prospect starters I listed a few replies up on this post. The Mets are sick with young arms that small market teams need badly. The ’5 Amigos’ from Brooklyn alone could get you two good players.

      • 7train
        September 18, 2012 at 9:30 pm

        Flores 1B huh? Yeah you might have nailed it. Personally I’d trade Wright if a market develops and put Wilmer at 3B but I can see what your saying.

        Ike may have to be sacrificed with the budget and the fact that one of Ike/Duda has to go. Ike’s value may be depressed but it may also never be higher. Funny I was worried Alderson would look to deal him right after he was hired as he was one player with a load of value as a productive young cost and team controlled player.

        My feeling 2015.

        Can you give us a couple of examples of NY Penn League pitchers bringing back position playing prospects?

        • Mack Ade
          September 19, 2012 at 1:29 am

          7Train:

          No, Ike Davis’s value is VERY HIGH right now. This guy battled back from a horendous start and has tied David Wright for the most RBIs. Teams drool over his left hand bat and return to Golden Glove status.

          NY Pen pitchers come with a caveat… this is a free swinging lower level with a lot of hitters that will never see AA no less the MLB some day. Tha being said, the Brooklyn Cyclones rotation was amazing:

          ERA League Leaders:

          #1 – Hansel Robles – 1.11 0.78 WHIP
          #8 – Gabriel Ynoa – 2.23 0.93 WHIP
          #9 – Luis Mateo – 2.45 0.90 WHIP 85-K 73.1-IP
          #10 – Luis Cessa – 2.49 1.06 WHIP
          #15 – Rainy Lara (8-3) 2.91 0.96 WHIP 77-K, 68.0-IP

          You do realize I just said that the ENTIRE Clones rotation was ranked in the top 15 lowest ERA’s in the league and only one had a WHIP over 1.00?

          This was your last gift from Omar…

          • 7train
            September 19, 2012 at 1:54 pm

            Minaya has certainly done a great job pitching wise, Mateo was Alderson.

            OF and catcher were seriously neglected however, both internationally where I expected the bulk of the work to come from and in the draft. This will haunt us for years to come and while it may be corrected to some point with trades there is a big risk in that as well.

            Pitchers bust, get hurt, miss a year or more at a time, never develop, lose velocity ect (as you would know better than anyone) NY Penn League IFA hurlers aren’t going to return much in close to ready OF prospects, let alone catchers unless you go 3 (or more) for 1 and that could quickly turn a strength into a weakness and we need a bare minimum of two long term solutions between all 3 OF spots and catcher just to get on the map. That’ll mean about 6-8 arms leaving the Organization and the repercussions of that could be enormous.

            I don’t envy the position Alderson is in and I sincerely believe the best move long range would be to get what you need from a sign and trade of Wright who will be 32 in 2015 and not likely a key part of a long term resurgence of the NY Mets.

            We have proven time and time again that borrowing from future teams will not help us win now (unless their salary driven) and will in fact prevent us from winning later.

            I’m all for moving that rotation to Savannah and keeping Fulmer, Montero, deGrom Tapia and Leathersich in place as well. If Verrett, Gorski, Mazzoni or someone else can get us a guy I’m OK with that but patience must be exhibited and if it had been in the past we would have been better for it.

            Lets hope we’ve learned something along the way.

  8. Mack Ade
    September 19, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    7Train –

    I would rather see the “old men” of Brooklyn traded… questionable background… where have they been since thet were 16-years old???

    Bottom line… on the books for 2013 right now is $54,475mil

    You dump Pelfrey, reup Dickey and Wright, pay Rausch $5mil, Shoppach $2mil, Davis $1mil, Thole and Murphy a 250K raise, and you’re at $87.925mil

    SPs – Santana, Dickey, Harvey, Niese, Gee
    Pen – Mejia, Familia, Edgin, El Ramirez, Francisco, Parnell, Acosta, Carson
    IF – Davis, Murphy, Tejada, Wright,Turner, Thole, Shoppach
    OF – Bay, Nieuwenhuis, Duda, Baxter

    $12.075mil to spend for your 25th player

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