Matt den Dekker has always impressed people with his outstanding glove.
So far this spring training, the Mets outfielder is impressing everyone with his potent bat as well.
The 26-year-old den Dekker has been an under-the-radar star during Grapefruit League competition, hitting .353 with six RBI and a .439 OBP in 34 at-bats through Monday's action. He's added a pair of stolen bases and has played his usual stellar defense as he vies to become a reserve outfielder on Opening Day.
Not bad for a guy that hit a meager .207 in 58 regular-season at-bats for New York in 2013.
Sure, it's just spring training.
We all realize that.
However, the southpaw's excellent start with the lumber cannot be discounted. A lot of that has to do with the time he spent in the majors once he was called up last Aug. 29, despite his offensive struggles.
"That helped out, just to get out there and get my feet wet for a month and get in some games and I can feel it this year,” den Dekker told Matt Ehalt of NorthJersey.com. “Come out a lot more relaxed, a lot more comfortable and I think it’s helped me out a lot.”
It's been quite a different spring training this year for den Dekker. Last year he broke his right wrist during spring training and missed nearly two-and-a-half months.
When he did return, den Dekker hit a combined .291 splitting time between Single-A St. Lucie and Triple-A Las Vegas before being called up to the parent club in late August.
That was 2013. This is a new chance, a new opportunity for den Dekker to show what he can do.
So far he's making the most of his opportunity.
Den Dekker explained how he's currently feeling to Matt Ehalt of NorthJersey.com.
I feel good. Feel first couple weeks were a little slow getting back into it, and the last week to 10 days have been feeling pretty good. I’m trying to stay focused and go out there and have good at-bats. That’s the biggest thing for me, not give at-bats away and stay focused and do what I can there.
All statistics courtesy of NewYorkMets.com