Name: Matt Dean
Position: Third Base
Acquired: 13th round (2011)
Opening Day age: 19
Height/weight: 6’3”/190 lbs
Best/worst tool: Power/speed
Risk factor: High
Matt Dean fits the mold for a third base prospect to a tee. He features an impressive combination of both offensive and defensive tools, giving him some serious upside at arguably baseball’s most talent-scarce position. Dean has a powerful swing thanks to a natural uppercut and excellent bat speed. When combined with his projectable frame, the tool has plus potential. As is often the case with tall players, Dean has a long swing that could give his bat tool some issues as he faces more advanced professional pitching. He also has a significant timing mechanism with his front foot. Both issues speak to a potential problem with power fastballs inside, so Dean will have to work on his hitting mechanics as he moves through professional baseball. The hit tool grades out as average –- likely a .270 or .275 hitter —- but could improve if he shortens and/or quiets his swing. Next to his power, his best tool is his arm. A converted shortstop, Dean’s plus arm allows him to make smooth, crisp, and accurate throws across the diamond. His fielding is acceptable, but could improve as he continues to make the transition from footwork-driven shortstop to instinct-driven third base. Rounding out the toolbox is speed, where Dean grades out as fringe-average. He’s not a burner by any means, but he moves well enough for a corner infielder.
2011 Statistics and Analysis
Dean didn’t play in any professional games after signing, and like many high schools, The Colony’s website doesn’t share athletic statistics. This leaves no actual statistics of Dean’s to analyze. The best I can do is attempt to project what kind of numbers he could compile this season based upon his tools. The power numbers should be significant. An ISO in the 200 range is a very realistic possibility, fuelled by double digit doubles and home runs. Triples and stolen bases are likely to be non-factors, as if he has any of either, it’ll be one or two. Despite only average bat skills, Dean could hit in the .290 range while facing the fastball-reliant pitchers of short season ball. The strikeouts will definitely be there, as you rarely see great plate coverage with such a long swing. His strikeout rate will probably be 15 to 20%, with his walk rate roughly half that. Put that together over two to three months in short season ball, and we have a line looking something like:
250 AB, .290/.350/.480 (.830 OPS), 15 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 40 RBI, 2 SB, 25/50 BB/K
Expected 2012 Assignment: Rookie-class Bluefield
As a late signee from the 2011 draft, Dean is all but guaranteed to start this season in short season ball. He’s a little old for the Gulf Coast League, so Bluefield (Appalachian League) or Vancouver (Northwest League) appear to be the most logical destinations. Without a doubt Toronto would love to see him play well enough to hit Single-A Lansing late in the season, as it would set him up for full season ball in 2013 and beyond. Dean is the best third base prospect in the system, and with Brett Lawrie manning the hot corner in the majors, Dean has plenty of time to develop without too much pressure. He could see the major leagues by 2015, though his position and role will be up for debate assuming Brett Lawrie is still with the club. As a high school draft pick, there’s plenty of risk here.
Perfect World Projection: Everyday 3B who hits 4th or 5th in the lineup, possible All Star appearances during his prime years.