JAFF DECKER
CORNER OUTFIELDER
Born: February 23, 1990
Height: 5’10″
Weight: 190
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Drafted: 1st Round, 42nd Overall, 2008 (Padres)
How Acquired: Traded from Padres (for Alex Dickerson)
High School: Sunrise Mountain HS (AZ)
Agent: O’Connell Sports Management

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

The Padres drafted Decker in the supplemental first round in 2008.  He’s not especially athletic, has below average speed, and is just passable in the outfield corners, although he has a good enough arm to play right.  He has power potential due to a short stroke.  Decker is a good example of why it’s not a great idea to get too excited about hitters who draw large numbers of walks in the low minors.  He takes a lot of pitches, drawing sometimes huge numbers of walks but getting too deep in counts and striking out a lot.  He’s mostly struggled against LHPs in the minors.  His hitting tailed off as he moved up through the minors, as reflected by his rankings in the Padres’ system according to Baseball America; he was ranked third after the 2008 season, but gradually dropped to #23 after the 2012 season.  The Padres designated him for assignment to clear roster space and then traded him to the Pirates with Miles Mikolas.

2008
R:  352/523/541, 159 AB, 11 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 55 BB, 36 K, 9-10 SB
A-:  200/333/200, 10 AB, 2 BB, 5 K

Decker put up big numbers in his rookie league debut, with a staggering number of walks but also a fairly high K rate.  He played center about half the time.

2009
A:  299/442/514, 358 AB, 25 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR, 85 BB, 92 K, 10-16 SB

Decker continued to hit, hit for power, draw walks and strike out in low A, leading the league in OPS as a teenager.  He missed about a month with a concussion and a minor back problem.  He played exclusively in left.

2010
A+:  262/374/500, 290 AB, 14 2B, 2 3B, 17 HR, 47 BB, 80 K, 5-9 SB

Decker’s hitting declined a little and his K rate increased in high A.  He was playing in the hitting-happy California League, although his home park, Lake Elsinore, isn’t one of the league’s better hitter’s parks.  He missed the first five weeks of the season due to a hamstring injury.  After he returned he slumped badly, hitting .195 through mid-season.  He recovered to hit 305/439/616 in the second half.  Decker missed the last three weeks with a broken hand.

2011
AA:  236/373/417, 496 AB, 29 2B, 2 3B, 19 HR, 103 BB, 145 K, 15-20 SB

In AA, Decker’s hitting dropped off still more.  He led the league in walks, but also fanned in just under 30% of his ABs.

2012
R:  296/394/593, 27 AB, 1 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 4 BB, 3 K
AA:  184/365/293, 147 AB, 3 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 40 BB, 37 K, 6-8 SB

The Padres sent Decker back to AA and he struggled early in the season, then missed three months with plantar fasciitis.  He continued to struggle at the plate when he returned, aside from drawing a huge number of walks.

2013
AAA:  286/381/443, 350 AB, 23 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 55 BB, 94 K, 4-10 SB
MLB:  154/233/269, 26 AB, 1 HR, 3 BB, 4 K, 0-1 SB

The Padres moved Decker up to AAA and he recovered somewhat, although it was in a hitter’s environment at Tucson in the Pacific Coast League.  He played the majority of his time in center.  The Padres called him up briefly in June and then for the month of August.  They sent him down at the end of August and did not recall him in September.

Decker probably profiles best now as a fourth outfielder.  He could fight for playing time in right if the Pirates can’t find a solution there, at least until Gregory Polanco arrives.  With two options left, though, he provides a good depth option for Indianapolis, which is where he in fact got sent well before the end of spring training.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Majors
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MLB.com
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2014: Major League Minimum
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: $892,000
MiLB Debut: 2008
MLB Debut: 6/20/2013
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2020
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: September 2, 2005
Options Remaining: 2 (USED:  2013)
MLB Service Time: 0.023
TRANSACTIONS
June 5, 2008: Drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 1st round, 42nd overall pick; signed on June 20.
November 20, 2012: Contract purchased by the San Diego Padres.
November 20, 2013: Designated for assignment by the San Diego Padres.
November 25, 2013: Traded by the San Diego Padres with Miles Mikolas to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Alex Dickerson.