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Matthew Gerrit den Dekker[1] (born August 10, 1987) is an American former professional baseball outfielder. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Washington Nationals, Detroit Tigers and New York Mets.

Matthew den Dekker
Matt den Dekker (19001873503) (cropped).jpg
den Dekker with the Washington Nationals
Outfielder
Born: (1987-08-10) August 10, 1987 (age 32)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
August 29, 2013, for the New York Mets
Last MLB appearance
July 26, 2018, for the New York Mets
MLB statistics
(through 2018 season)
Batting average.223
Home runs7
Runs batted in30
Teams
Along with former teammates Jacob deGrom and Travis d'Arnaud, den Dekker was one of few MLB players to have lowercase letters on his jersey.

Family and early lifeEdit

Matt den Dekker was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.[2][3] He has an older brother and a younger sister.[1] The den Dekker family traces its roots back to Indonesia, a former Dutch colony.

In 2014, Matt married Christine McNamara in Palm Coast, Florida.[citation needed]

Amateur careerEdit

Matt den Dekker
Medal record
Men's Baseball
Representing   United States
World University Championship
  2008 Brno National team

After his freshman year of high school, den Dekker transferred from Coral Springs Christian Academy to Westminster Academy Christian School in Fort Lauderdale, in order to play outfield and pitch alongside his cousin, Westminster's ace pitcher, Kevin Chapman.[4] den Dekker also played with future Washington Nationals teammate Michael A. Taylor at Westminster when the former was a senior and the latter was a freshman.[5] As a junior, den Dekker finished with a .350 batting average and was named to the Miami Herald's All-Broward County First Team.[6] However, the few college recruiters who showed interest were mostly small schools that wanted him to pitch. Den Dekker's only Division I scholarship offer came from a University of Florida recruiter who had attended Westminster's practices and games only to scout Chapman.[3]

When Chapman signed on to play college baseball for the Florida Gators, den Dekker quickly followed suit.[4] As a freshman, he batted .234/~.324/.418. As a sophomore, den Dekker hit .333/~.413/.507 with 20 steals in 20 tries and 55 runs in 55 games. The center fielder was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection as an outfielder. Den Dekker was then chosen for Team USA's college edition. He batted .176/.375/.176 in the 2008 Haarlem Baseball Week; noted for his defense, he made one error and noted for his speed, he was thrown out in his lone attempt (gunned down by Cuban defensive legend Ariel Pestano in the Gold Medal game). Den Dekker batted .227/.292/.409 in the 2008 World University Baseball Championship, and did not attempt a steal.

Den Dekker hit .296/.409/.412 as a junior with 17 steals in 18 tries. He was still rated 92nd overall by Baseball America among prospects entering the 2009 Major League Baseball draft – then was not selected until the 475th overall pick, when the Pittsburgh Pirates selected him in the 16th round. He returned to Florida for his senior year, hitting .358 with a team-leading 64 runs scored and a career-best 49 runs batted in as the Gators reached the 2010 College World Series.

Professional careerEdit

New York MetsEdit

After college, den Dekker was selected by the New York Mets in the fifth round of the 2010 Major League Baseball draft. He made his pro debut that summer with the Gulf Coast League Mets, hitting .278 with five RBIs in five games before being promoted to the Savannah Sand Gnats. In 2011, den Dekker played for the St. Lucie Mets and Binghamton Mets. He was invited to spring training in 2012.

In 2013, den Dekker received his third invitation to the Mets Spring training camp. He played in a career-high 19 games and posted a .205 batting average as he went 9-for-44 with one home run and seven runs batted in while striking out 16 times. On March 24, den Dekker broke his right wrist attempting to make a play on a fly ball hit by Detroit Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson.

 
den Dekker with the Mets in 2014

On August 27, the Mets promoted den Dekker to the major leagues.[7] He made his major league debut on August 29.[8] He hit his first MLB home run on September 1, off Ross Ohlendorf of the Washington Nationals.[9] For the season, he batted .207/.270/.276.[10]

Washington NationalsEdit

On March 30, 2015, the Mets traded den Dekker to the Washington Nationals for pitcher Jerry Blevins.[11]

Den Dekker was optioned to the Syracuse Chiefs at the end of Spring Training on April 1, 2016. He was recalled on April 6 when Ben Revere was placed on the disabled list.[12] After the Nationals optioned him back to Syracuse later in the season, den Dekker hit just .208 before being taken off the 40-man roster and outrighted to the minors on September 3, 2016.[13] For the season, he batted .176/.282/.294.[10]

Miami MarlinsEdit

During the 2016 offseason, den Dekker signed a minor league contract with the Miami Marlins.[14] On May 2, 2017, he opted out of his contract, becoming a free agent.[15]

Detroit TigersEdit

 
Den Dekker with the New Orleans Baby Cakes in 2017

On May 16, 2017, den Dekker signed a minor league deal with the Detroit Tigers.[16] He was called up by the Tigers on June 23.[17] On July 5, 2017, he was designated for assignment and sent outright to the Toledo Mud Hens four days later.[18] For the season, he batted 1-for-7.[10] After the 2017 season, den Dekker elected free agency.

Return to the New York MetsEdit

On February 15, 2018, den Dekker returned to the New York Mets, signing a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. Den Dekker had his contract selected on July 11, 2018. He was designated for assignment on July 27, 2018.[19] On October 2, 2018, he elected to become a free agent.[20]

Long Island DucksEdit

On March 26, 2019, den Dekker signed with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.[21] On June 7, he announced his retirement from professional baseball.[22]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "2007 Gator Baseball Newcomer Player Profiles" (PDF). GatorZone.com. Florida Athletics. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  2. ^ Arangure, Jr., Jorge (August 9, 2013). "The Mets, Brought to You in ..." New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Callovi, Bobby (February 20, 2009). "Taking Center Stage: After bleak outlook, junior center fielder could live up to major-league dreams". Independent Florida Alligator. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Copabianco, Tony (April 3, 2014). "Westminster cousins become professional baseball players". Miami Herald. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  5. ^ Johnson, Chris (April 1, 2015). "New Nats den Dekker and Johnson have connections all over". Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  6. ^ "Matt den Dekker – 2010 Gator Baseball Roster". GatorZone.com. Florida Athletics. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  7. ^ "Mets select den Dekker, recall Recker & Carson". New York Mets. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  8. ^ "Mets get first peek at den Dekker in MLB debut". New York Mets. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  9. ^ "Matt den Dekker hits an upper decker for first career home run". NBCsports.com. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
  10. ^ a b c [1]
  11. ^ "MASN News & Information: Nats acquire outfielder Matt den Dekker from Mets". MASNsports. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  12. ^ "Nationals put CF Ben Revere on DL; recall Matt den Dekker". Atlanta Journal Constitution. April 6, 2016. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  13. ^ Wilmoth, Charlie (September 3, 2016). "Minor MLB Transactions: 9/3/16". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  14. ^ Eddy, Matt (December 5, 2016). "Minor League Transactions: Nov. 19-Dec. 1". baseballamerica.com. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  15. ^ "Tigers sign outfielder Matt den Dekker". Detroit News. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
  16. ^ https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/tigers-agree-to-minors-deal-with-matt-den-dekker.html
  17. ^ Paris, Jay (June 23, 2017). "Struggling K-Rod released by Tigers". MLB.com. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  18. ^ "Tigers Outright Matt den Dekker To Triple-A". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  19. ^ "Mets sign veteran outfielder Austin Jackson, DFA Matthew Den Dekker".
  20. ^ Todd, Jeff (October 8, 2018). "Players Electing Free Agency". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  21. ^ "Six-Year MLB Outfielder Matt den Dekker Signed". Long Island Ducks. March 26, 2019. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  22. ^ "Michael Pfaff on Twitter".

External linksEdit

Some or all content from this article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the BR Bullpen article "Matt den Dekker".