The trait that made Matt den Dekker at least a long shot to break camp with the Mets this spring — an ability to track down just about anything in center field and, what’s more, a willingness to try — ultimately cost him about three months of his development.

Den Dekker broke his right wrist diving for a fly ball in a Grapefruit League game in late March. At the time, his dazzling defense had landed him in the Mets’ fifth outfielder conversation, but he was hitting just 9-for-44 (.205) with one walk and 16 strikeouts.

Those whiffs have been the bugaboo for the 25-year-old University of Florida product, who was a fifth-round pick in 2010. Den Dekker grades well on his outfield range and accurate throwing arm and shows decent pop from the left side of the plate with 17 minor league homers each of the past two seasons. Mets coach Tom Goodwin made the enviable comparison to Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, but with those power numbers came avert-your-eyes strikeout totals. Den Dekker fanned 156 times at High-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton in 2011, 154 between Double-A and Triple-A last year, and observers pegged the problem to a lack of off-speed pitch awareness.