I want to begin by saying that I am far from the most knowledgeable person when it comes to prospects of the Toronto Blue Jays. Staff writers Jay Blue, Charlie Caskey and Kyle Matte handle most of our coverage regarding the minor league system here at Jays Journal. They always do an exceptional job whether it’s with our Top Prospects list, the Minor League Report or Charlie’s Organizational Filler (In).
I normally write about the big club but with the Jays failing to have played a truly meaningful baseball game in months, I’ve found myself paying more and more attention to the supposedly decimated farm system. Several players in the high minors have intrigued me including Marcus Stroman, Sean Nolin, A.J. Jimenez and Kevin Pillar (before he was called-up to the Blue Jays). The low-minors probably holds even more talent in Aaron Sanchez, Roberto Osuna (get well), Daniel Norris and D.J. Davis.
Today we won’t be looking at any of those players though. Casual Blue Jays fans, say hello to Matt Dean.
Matthew Dean was a 13th round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays out of The Colony HS in 2011. He was considered one of the top prep prospects out of the Lonestar state but a strong commitment to Texas scared off many potential suitors. The Jays took a chance on him and ended up signing Dean to an over-slot bonus worth $737,500, which was first reported by ESPN’s Keith Law.
Toronto signs 13th round pick Matt Dean for $737,500. Potential first round bat after junior year but struggled last summer/this spring.
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) August 15, 2011
Matt had a very rude introduction to professional ball when he joined the Bluefield Blue Jays in 2012 and batted only .222/.282/.353 with 8 doubles, four triples and two home runs in 182 PAs. His stock started to drop and he tumbled to 29th in our own prospect rankings.
His second time around with Bluefield he started slowly yet again, batting .250/.308/.333 in June. But he continued to show improvements each month. His triple-slash was .313/.387/.494 in July and was even more impressive in August, when he batted .396/.424/.615 to close out the campaign. Here’s a look at his end of season numbers compared to last year.
As always with prospects, you need to keep a close eye on their age. Dean is 20 years old, which is about average for the league. He may seem old if you look at Bluefield’s roster but that’s only because they fielded the youngest team in the league with an average batter’s age of only 19.8.
Dean was drafted as a third baseman but was moved to first after he struggled with a .858 fielding percentage in 2012. He seemed to adjust nicely and made only 2 errors in almost 500 chances at first base this year.
I thought Matt’s hot streak might be enough for him to earn a promotion to the Vancouver Canadians after Bluefield’s season finished but it ended up being Mitch Nay, one of the Blue Jays 2012 first round compensation picks, along with 2013 14th-rounder L.B. Dantzler who got the calls.
Jay Blue named Matt Dean his Bluefield Blue Jays Player of the Year at Blue Jays From Away for 2013.
As far as projections go, this is where I’m going to stop. I have no idea what type of baseball player Dean will turn out to be. He could be a Major Leaguer or he could just be another one of those guys that gets close. I’ll leave that to people more adept at player projection than I. But I wanted to give Matt Dean his due for a terrific comeback season after so many people had written him off last year.