There's one thing we've been harping on in these profiles, it's those "power arms" coming out of the college ranks. College pitching is where this particular draft is strongest, but just because there is a bumper crop of pitchers, don't overlook a great group of hitters, headlined by this high school third base prospect from the Houston area.
Matt Dean played shortstop this spring for his father, Martin, at The Colony, but figures to slide over to third base once he fills out a bit. That filling out process is also what gets scouts excited about him. He's got an easy, natural uppercut to his swing, generating a ton of power with it. If he adds some muscle to his frame, he could have plus power in the big leauges.
However, his swing isn't the cleanest thing in the world. He's got a bit of a timing mechanism with his front foot well before his swing. He's also got a longer swing, but his bat also stays in the strike zone for a pretty good while. His wrists seem fairly quick, so that shouldn't be a problem, but it does illustrate why Dean may have had trouble making contact on the workout circuit last year.
Oh, there's also the little matter of his commitment to the University of Texas. If he honors it, like future teammate Josh Bell, the Longhorns could have a very intimidating middle of the order for the next couple of seasons.
If Dean loses too much foot speed as he fills out, he may not be able to play third. That moves him either to the outfield or to first base, which is not ideal for his value. Also, if he can't catch up to good big league fastballs inside, he's going to struggle to make contact, thus decreasing his chances of every making it to the big leagues. So, his floor is that of a Quad-A corner outfielder with some pop, not unlike Collin DeLome.
His arm is an asset at third and if a team wants to project a bit with him, Dean could easily turn out like a Ken Caminiti or Morgan Ensberg. He's powerful, but probably won't hit over .300 with a good to great arm at third and enough speed to keep teams honest. That's three out of five tools at a very hard position to fill. Because of that, his ceiling is a bit higher than a college player like Vanderbilt's Jason Esposito.
More behind the jump.
Will the Astros pick him? If so, where?
It looks like Dean will be a supplemental first round target, maybe sliding into the second round. If he gets past a team like Tampa Bay late in the first, the Astros have a good shot at him with the 11th pick in the second round. Now, whether they take him there is a different story. Dean's situation reminds me a little bit of Nick Castellanos from last season. The Astros had a chance to take Castellanos in the supplemental round, but went with Minnesota's Mike Kvasnicka instead.
Where is he projected to go right now?
Keith Law did not have him listed.
Deep Leagues did not have him listed.
Jonathan Mayo did not have him listed.
Perfect Game USA did not have him listed.
Baseball America did not have him listed.
John Sickels did not have him listed.
Bibliography (Scouting Reports and video)
Dean wasn't at his best on the showcase circuit last summer, but he redeemed himself with a strong spring and established himself as the best prep third-base prospect in the draft. Few high school players can match his batting-practice fireworks.
Potential right-handed power bat and plus arm at third base with long sweeping stroke. Good athlete from a competitive part of the country. Career will ride on how much power we get from him at 3B or 1B.