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San Diego Padres 2012 Top Prospects #4 Jaff Decker 

Jaff Decker

Jaff Decker

We are proud to announce The San Diego Padres Top 30 Prospects for 2012. Peter Friberg has been studying minor league and amateur baseball players for nearly 10 years and has been writing about Padres minor leaguers for approximately eight. Peter has compiled his top 30 prospects in the Padres system for 2012, we are now into the top 10, continuing with #4 Jaff Decker

2011 San Diego Padres Top 30 Prospects

4. Jaff Decker, OF, 5’10” 190, Born: Feb. 23, 1990
Good: The previous two seasons each saw Decker miss significant time from injuries. The best thing about Decker’s 2011 season was that he compiled 600+ at-bats for the Missions. He also continued his patient ways by walking more than 100 times for a .373 on-base rate. Another good thing about Decker is his performance (in several key areas) continues to disprove those who say his athleticism is subpar (successful in 15/20 stolen base attempts, played at least a few innings in CF in multiple games, etc.).
Bad: Decker has always hit for average. So his .236 batting average is baffling. What is particularly curious is that while Missions play in an extreme pitchers’ park in a hitters’ league, Decker hit dramatically better at home than on the road. Lastly, most critics rip Jaff for his physique. The one way this criticism is legitimate is that players with less-than-ideal bodies do not usually age well. While controlling someone like James Darnell through his late 20’s is beneficial, the Padres will want 6 years of Decker starting much younger.
Outlook: Decker’s 2011 season was not as bad as his .236 batting average suggests. And next year, he won’t be as good as his .350 batting average suggests. When Decker’s abilities meet Tucson’s elevation and park dimensions, we will see an offensive explosion. At worst, Decker should get a September big league audition.