Quick, tell me who Matt den Dekker is.
If I gave you 10 guesses, how many would you go through before you guessed he was a big league ballplayer?
The New York Mets’ center fielder might not be a household name, but he certainly earned himself some attention with this catch on Monday night. Phillies’ slugger Ryan Howard sent a shot to center field that looked like it was on its way to being a home run. den Dekker reached up and caught it, robbing Howard of a home run.
Check video of the catch from MLB.com here:
Here is the reaction of starting pitcher Bartolo Colon. Elated, is the word one might peg to describe the emotions of the veteran after that catch from his center fielder.
At age 26, den Dekker is playing just his fourth game with the big league club in 2014. He appeared in 27 games last year, batting an underwhelming .207/.270/.276 in 63 plate appearances. So far in 2014 he has followed that same track, as he is still seeking his first hit of the season.
It would appear that den Dekker provides the most value on defense. Just how much great defense he will have to play to make up for such lowly offensive production remains to be seen, though I suppose robbing a home run is a good place to start.