May 13, 2014
With limited depth at the first base position within the organization, there’s no question why Blue Jays fans are excited about Matt Dean. The 21-year old is quite arguably the Blue Jays best first base prospect and this year he’s ready to take on a full season with the Lansing Lugnuts .
Dean spent the past two seasons in the Appalachian League with the Bluefield Blue Jays where he had a breakout 2013 season. The Texas native batted .338 with 14 doubles, three triples, six home runs, and 35 RBIs in 210 at-bats last season. Dean also sported an excellent .390 on base percentage and a .519 slugging percentage to cap off his year.
“I really liked Bluefield,” stated Dean. “It’s a fantastic city and everybody there is really friendly. Great stadium and weather, but after two years I was ready to get out of there and find a new home.”
The fans in Lansing can expect Matt Dean to go out there and play hard every day.
The young prospect also found success in the field in 2013 as he transitioned from third base to first base. Dean had a .996 fielding percentage with 30 assists and 50 double plays last year.
“I don’t have a preference where I play,” he said. “As long as I’m on the field I’m going to do what I can to help my team win. That’s all I can ask for as a player.”
Most organizations put a major emphasis on power for first basemen as they climb the ladder. Dean shows promise as he already has plenty of power. As he ages and his body fills out more, he expects more power to come with time.
“I think a few years down the road you’re going to see me hit more home runs,” said Dean, “but right now I’m sticking to my game and the rest will work itself out.”
In 2014, Dean has showcased excellent hitting as a member of the Lugnuts. He is presently batting .313 with nine doubles, three triples, two home runs, and 15 RBIs against Midwest League pitching.
Dean joins the Lansing Lugnuts with a familiar face – Lugnuts hitting coach Ken Huckaby. The two worked together in Bluefield last season and he’s excited to be able to work with the former major leaguer for a second season.
“Huckaby is awesome,” describes Dean. “What I really like about Huckaby is the fact he played the game and he knows how to relate to us as players. He knows my swing inside-and-out, so if something is going bad he just reminds me what to do. I’m excited he’s here with me and I’m excited to see what else I can do this season.”
Likewise, Huckaby thinks Lansing fans have a lot to be excited about when they watch Dean play in the Midwest League this season.
“The fans in Lansing can expect Matt Dean to go out there and play hard every day. He’s very exciting to watch,” stated Huckaby. “Hopefully the fans will get to see Dean hit some baseballs really hard this year.”
Initially joining the Blue Jays organization in the 13th round of the 2011 MLB draft, Dean really enjoyed the experience as he was able to share it with his family.
“My draft experience was awesome,” Dean recalls. “It was a fun and exciting time for my family and I. Was definitely happy when it happened and now I’m focused on making it to the show.”
Now a member of the Lansing Lugnuts, Dean is one step closer to his dream of playing in the Major Leagues.