Scouting Nationals Prospect #50: Dan Dement

Dement Is Ready For A Utility Role

The Washington Nationals selected second baseman Dan Dement in the 2004 Rule V Draft from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of University of Alabama-Birmingham, Dement has turned into quite the utility player. Ranking #50 among the Nationals' prospects, here is a scouting report on Dan Dement.

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Vital Statistics:
Name: Dan Dement
Position: Second Base
DOB: June 17, 1978
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 180
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Dan Dement set the tone for his professional baseball career from the moment he signed as undrafted free agent with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays back in 2000, earning Appalachian League All-Star honors as a utility player by hitting .301 with 20 extra-base hits in just 206 at-bats with the Princeton Devil Rays in his professional debut.

A second baseman for the Blazers of Alabama-Birmingham in college, Dement has made a name for himself as a versatile utility player in his six minor league seasons. Dement has played the majority of his games at second base, but has also chipped in playing third base, first base, shortstop, left field, right field, and he has even pitched in relief a few times over the years.

Dement posted a career .264 batting average in his five minor league seasons in the Devil Rays' organization before accomplishing a feat that most undrafted free agent signings are unable manage: do enough in their careers to stick around long enough to be selected in the Rule V Draft. The Nationals took a chance on him at the Winter Meetings last December and chose him in the minor league portion of the Rule V Draft.

He made an immediate impact in the Nationals' organization in 2005, clubbing a career-high 14 home runs with AA-Harrisburg, although 11 of them were solo shots. Dement also hit a team-high .404 with runners in scoring position with the Senators, proving to be one of the better clutch hitters in the system in 2005.

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2005

New Orleans

.313

112

7

0

8

21

3

13

32

.386

.429

2005

Harrisburg

.328

268

23

14

44

42

2

22

65

.378

.578

2004

Montgomery

.256

336

25

8

34

45

1

30

82

.318

.443

2003

Orlando

.255

349

22

3

34

41

2

39

62

.331

.350

2002

Bakersfield

.264

432

21

7

51

58

7

34

100

.319

.375

2001

Charleston-SC

.259

394

24

8

54

52

6

31

108

.326

.447

2000

Princeton

.301

206

9

7

39

48

7

31

48

.398

.485



Batting and Power. Dement's .324 combined batting average between New Orleans and Harrisburg in 2005 was 23 points higher than his previous career high, set in his first professional season. While it could be quite possible that the 27-year old may have turned a corner, chances are that he's closer to the .264 career hitter before the breakout this past season. Dement is a hacker at the plate with very good gap power. He's not a home run hitter by any stretch of the imagination, but he'll rack up a fair number of extra-base hits. He has averaged nearly 25 doubles and 5 triples per year.

Base Running and Speed. Dement is more athletic and agile than he is fast. He is an intelligent base runner that will make opposing team's pay if they ignore him on the base paths. That said, his actual speed is not a plus tool by any means.

Defense. He uses good footwork and a fine arm to field any one of his positions well. Dement, a natural second baseman, has enough arm to play third base and right field in a pinch. He has soft hands and positions himself very well in the field, giving him the absolute best opportunity to make plays.

Projection. Dement has been a valuable utility player in his six minor league seasons and there's no reason to project him as anything else at the Major League level. He reminds a lot of scouts of former Blue Jays and current Mets utility player, Chris Woodward. Like Woodward, Dement has enough versatility to play a multitude of positions and hit just about anywhere in the lineup in an emergency situation. He can bat leadoff if need be or move down in the lineup to hit in more clutch situations. Dement projects to be a super-sub for the Nationals.

ETA. 2006. The free agent signing of Marlon Anderson gives the Nationals, who also have Rick Short, Brendan Harris, Jamey Carroll, and Damian Jackson, a plethora of potential utility players at the Major League level. Dement might find it hard to break Spring Training with the big league club, but he's proven he is more than ready. He should find a few at-bats with the parent club sometime next season.

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