The Marlins are a team in transition, and even if they were to make a free agent splash (and there have been some rumors) there are going to be at bats up for grabs in the outfield. You could argue that there’s no certainty at any of the three spots, and that could open the door for someone like Austin Dean to step up and emerge.
If you just looked at Dean’s numbers while in the Majors last season you wouldn’t get that impression, though his Triple-A numbers tell a different story:
- Triple-A – .337 (85-252), 18 HR, 57 RBI
- Majors – .225 (40-178), 6 HR, 21 RBI
Obviously the big question is in his average, but when you start to look into the underlying metrics you can see the potential upside:
- Hard% – 43.6%
- Oppo% – 30.1%
- SwStr% – 10.0%
It’s obvious that those number would support better than a .270 BABIP, especially with him not taking a flyball-centric approach (31.1%). While he did chase outside the strike zone a little too much (39.5% O-Swing%), his 8.7% SwStr% at Triple-A shows that he can maintain his MLB mark and he also showed more of a willingness to take a walk (9.9%, compared to 4.8% in the Majors).
Maybe he’s not a .300 hitter, but he’s a .286 hitter in the minors and could easily hit .270ish in the Majors. His power is also developing, and even playing half his games in Miami is 20-25 HR really a stretch? Let’s not ignore that, even in the Majors, he added 14 doubles and overall had 33 doubles and 1 triple. At 26-years old would it really be surprising to see his power take another step forward?
Prior to the 2017 season Prospect 361 had this to say about Dean:
“Dean has a quick and compact swing with plenty of bat speed. His current swing mechanics point to more doubles power than over-the-fence power, but he has enough physicality to eventually change that.”
We saw that start last season and it could easily continue into 2020. If he can earn full-time AB is a .270/25 HR type season impossible? Absolutely not, and he could be better than that. Put him on your radar in deeper formats, as a breakout could be in the cards.
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, Prospect 361