Ross Clark asked -
I was just wondering how you guys view Matt denDecker. Everything I read about the kid says he is already an MLB outfielder, but with his recent hot streak at the dis,h how far is the gap between him and a cold Torres? I realize that Binghamton is a long way from Flushing, but, if he continues to be this good at the plate, could it make Torres expendable in an already crowded outfield at the deadline?
Renan Varghese -
I've got to say, I'm of two minds on bringing up den Deckker at this point. On the one hand, his power and (especially) his defense would be a welcome addition to a team sorely lacking on both fronts. On the other hand, I'm not sure he's quite ready to be a major leaguer and I'm even less sure that he's a good fit on this particular team at this particular time. First, even though he's improved his strike out rate slightly this year, to a not terrible 23.7%, that's still pretty high. While it's possible to be productive as a big leaguer while striking out once every four plate appearances, if we're being honest, the strikeouts are only likely to increase going from Double A straight to the majors. Second, his numbers this year are supported by a crazy high BABIP of .428. Although den Dekker has historically had higher than normal BABIPs throughout the minor leagues (with last year being the exception), his numbers this year just aren't sustainable. The bigger issue with this team is that I'm not sure there's an argument that den Dekker is actually better than Nieuwenhuis, who is likely to see his playing time diminish with the return of Jason Bay. Although one could (and should) argue that Jason Bay shouldn't be getting any regular playing time, it seems as if the Mets are committed to running him out there on a consistent basis. As a result, unless they send Ike down and move Duda over to first base (which I fervently hope they do, and soon), it doesn't make sense to have den Dekker and Nieuwenhuis splitting time in the outfield. Both of them need to play every day to keep refining their skills. (Ross' question doesn't take into account the fact that Torres is basically a part time player for the Mets at this point). The best course of action is to send den Dekker to Buffalo, have him succeed there for a couple of months and force the Mets hand. Ideally, by that point the Mets will have found where Bay is keeping his stash of incriminating pictures of the front office and they can just get rid of him already, opening up a spot for den Dekker.
Mack Ade –
I can see Matt den Dekker playing CF for the Mets in 2014, flanked by Lucas Duda and Kirk Nieuwenhuis. IMO, he needs to concentrate on pitch selection when he has two strikes on him. Spray/gap hitters tend to swing at too much. There’s a good chance he will finish the year in Buffalo and could get an invite in September if the Mets are out of the race, but he looks to be a Bisons starter on opening day 2013.
Flash – Den Dekker was promoted yesterday to Buffalo.
I hope this works out well for both him and the Mets. I tend to be conservative about the few prospect bats in the system and I take a far more conservative approach to them. Matt is potentially the future Mets centerfielder. He may be the best defensive outfielder in the system. He had a great power spurt last year which seems to come with the hot weather, something that doesn’t happen in Buffalo for more than three hours a year. I know the Mets outfield in Queens isn’t defined perfectly, but den Dekker isn’t the 2012 solution. Frankly, I don’t think he fits in until after to all-star break next season, but that’s just me looking from the outside. I have to assume the Mets know what they are doing here. Scouts have repeatedly said that the kid is ready. Let’s all take a step back here and watch what he does starting tonight.