Upper Minors Sunday: Matt den Dekker: the Eastern League’s Best Hitter?

AAA: @ Buffalo Bisons 4, Norfolk Tides (BAL) 2 

Dylan Owen “recovered” from his last start in which he allowed 13 runs, to allow two runs on Sunday, both earned on three walks and four hits. He struck out two in his 4.2 innings. So, anytime the Mets decide Collin McHugh or Zack Wheeler is ready for AAA, making space in the AAA rotation should not be a problem.

1B Josh Satin, C Rob Johnson and DH Corey Wimberly all had two hits.

The Bisons will be on SNY Monday, and make sure to tune in for Jeurys Familia, who is coming off his first start of 2012 last Wednesday in which he did not allow any runs.


AA: @ Trenton Thunder 3, Binghamton Mets 2

After the B-Mets took a 2-1 lead in the top of the 10th, the Thunder won the game with two runs off RHP Adrian Rosario in the bottom of the frame for the win. The runs were the first that Rosario had allowed in 8.1 innings in AA. One of the arms the Mets acquired for K-Rod, Rosario has a 6/6 K/BB ratio in his first eight AA outings.

CF Matt den Dekker was 2-for-4 with a double, the only B-Met with multiple hits. He’s now hit safely in eight straight games and has multiple hits in six straight games. The 24-year old is now hitting .340/.397/.563 in 58 games. His hot streak has taken him to the top of the league in batting average, slugging, doubles (21), extra-base hits (33)  and total bases (134) and is fourth in on-base percentage. It’s not a stretch to say he has been the League’s most productive hitter to date.

Some of this is real, and some cannot continue at this rate. Den Dekker’s extra-base hit rate is a career-high 12%, leading to a career-best .223 isolated slugging percentage while his strikeout rate is down a little, from 29% in the Eastern League last year to 24% this year. Even though his strikeout rate has improved, he is still fourth in the League with 64 whiffs. Secondly, his batting line is supported by an enormous .429 BABIP. Even if that indicates the quality of the contact he has made, there is virtually no way that is sustainable at higher levels. The only Major Leaguer with a BABIP above den Dekker’s .429 in AA is Joey Votto (.434). There are four big leaguers above .400: Votto, Melky Cabrera (.405), Kirk Nieuwenhuis (.405) and Paul Konerko (.401).

The good news for den Dekker is that even subtracting 50 points off his BABIP takes him to .290/.347/.513, which combined with good, or even plus defense in center field would have plenty of big league value.

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