Toronto Blue Jays Prospects

Toronto Blue Jays 2015 Top Prospects Wrap-up: Matt Dean

By Ryan Mueller
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The Toronto Blue Jays 17th ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, finally tapped into his raw power in 2015 with the Dunedin Blue Jays

Matthew Dean turns 23 later this month onDecember 22nd, and played his year 22 season at Advanced-A Dunedin in the Florida State League. Selected in the 13th round in 2011, Dean was praised for his plus power potential, defense, work ethic, and the potential to hit for a decent average.

Dean frustrated management and fans with his inability to translate raw power potential into game power….until this season. Dean tied Cleawater Threshers’ (Philadelphia Phillies) Andrew Pullin for the league lead with 14 home runs, shattering his previous high (set last year) of 9 home runs.

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The native of Highland Village, Texas batted in the heart of the D-Jays order, hitting fourth in all but 18 of his 123 games. He didn’t hit too well with runners in scoring position, batting .227, but did hit .271 in late innings when the game was on the line.

Matt struggled against LHP, hitting .228 with 9 doubles and 3 home runs in 123 AB. He fared much better against RHP, hitting .262 with 18 doubles and 11 home runs in 355 AB.

The season started slowly for the 1st baseman, hitting .234 and .242 in April and May before exploding in June hitting .298. He came back down to earth in July, batting .245 and ended on a hit note with a .261 batting average. His power was consistent month-to-month, never hitting less than 2 home runs or more than 3 in any given month.

Despite the low batting average, August was his best month. Dean showed a greater control of the strike zone during this month with 10 BB and 24 K’s. He struck out 35 times and walked only 4 times in July when he hit almost .300  and 3 home runs, but for Dean to be successful he needs to prove to the other team he can lay off the borderline pitchers.

Dean continues to use the entire field. Most power hitters will pull everything, but Matt hit same amount of home runs to RF and LF with 2 to straight away CF, showing power to all fields. He spread his singles, doubles and even his triples all over the field. Only his infield singles clustered on the left side.

Mandatory Credit: MLBfarm.com

Plate Discipline continues to hold Dean back from becoming an elite corner infield prospect. In 2015, Dean struck out 26.7% of the time and only walked 6.9%, which was a tick better than his 5.6% and 24.1% in 2014 with the Lansing Lugnuts.

Overall, Dean finished with decent line of .253/.313/.410 and an OPS of .723 with 27 doubles, 3 triples, and 14 round trips, while driving in 63 and scoring 53 runs. He produced above league average with a .343 wOBA, wRC+ and a decent .328 BABIP.

Dean’s best game came on July 17th with two home runs and a career high 6 RBI, hitting a two-run jack and grand salami. Heading into the game, Dean was riding a 25-game home run drought, but collected hits in his previous 8 contests.

Drafted as a shortstop/3rd baseman, Dean spends most of at 1st now. He’s an above average defender at 1st finishing with 8.72 RangeFactor and .990 fielding percentage. He committed 7 errors and was involved in 80 double plays at first.

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Prognosis for 2016

Matt was overtaken by Rowdy Tellez as the Blue Jays top 1st base prospect, and should be looking over his shoulder as another strong season by Ryan McBroom has closed the gap.

Dean should head to New Hampshire where he will split time with Tellez at first, with Dean getting the lion’s share of reps in the field. The Eastern League’s pitchers are smarter and locate better than the Florida State League, this will challenge Dean to lay off borderline pitches. If he can do that then power number should increase, since the EL is more of hitter friendly environment that the FSL.

Dean will need to hit for more power in 2016 for his bat to translate to 1st base. It should be fun watching Tellez, Nay and Dean as Fisher Cats next season.

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