Ok, let’s get this straight. This kid’s name is pronounced “Jeff.” The nurse at the hospital he was born at wrote an “a” on the birth certificate instead of an “e.” Nevertheless, his family never changed it. Yeah, they were too busy working on Jaff’s hand-eye coordination to worry about such a minor detail. I couldn’t make this stuff up.
How can you not love a dude with a back story like that? Jaff Decker has been raking since tee-all. Seriously, he had sick high school numbers. However, he fell to the Padres at a first-round supplemental spot because of his 5’10”, 190 lb frame. Decker is “The People’s Hitter.” You don’t look at him and see a potential .300-plus major league hitter on the surface. But, that’s exactly what this stocky OF will become. It’s John Kruk Jr.—open stance, wide body, sketchy facial hair, sweet bat control, and all.
Decker arrived on the professional scene with style last year hitting .352, with a 523 OBP, and .541 SLG. You see those stats and your probably thinking he only played in three games. Nope, he put up those silly numbers in 159 ABs. You gotta be kidding me? He ended up leading the league in runs, walks and OBP. Duh, as if I had to tell you that.
The big boy was no slouch this year at Low-A hitting .299, with 16 HRs, a .442 OBP, and a .514 SLG. Decker has a phenomenal eye that is indicative of a future fantasy star. He had a 19.2% walk rate and .92 BB/K rate batting third in the Fort Wayne (Padres’ Low-A affiliate) batting order. Notably, Decker has had a fairly high Batting Average on Balls in Play [BABIP] (.364 at Low-A /.432 in the AZL). Usually, such a high BABIP suggests a lucky hitter. In this case, there’s no luck involved, as Decker’s BABIP is sky high because he hits the ball freakishly hard.
The only negatives regarding “Deck” are the limited room for growth on his roundish frame and the fact he will play his home games in the airfield they call Petco Park. As a result, the 19-year-old’s power potential is limited. That’s okay, I will take a hitter with his mad-hitting skills on my fantasy team any year…even if I have to sacrifice some bombs.
Decker won’t see the majors until mid-to-late 2011. So, he’s for you competitive and passionate fantasy owners who’re digging deep for the next under-the-radar hitting star. Of course, that’s who were catering to here at MLBFP. Scoop up Decker in all dynasty and keeper leagues while your league mates are fast asleep.