After winning the New Jersey’s Gatorade State Player of the Year during his senior year in 2018, the Red Sox selected Decker in the second round, giving him an over-slot bonus of $1.25 million. Coming off a hamate injury, which prematurely ended his pro debut after only two games in Rookie-ball, the young outfielder is fully recovered and putting together an impressive 2019 season. With Short-Season Lowell, the 19-year-old is slashing .243/.335/.471 with six home runs and a K:BB ratio of 48:20 across 45 games. I have seen him play multiple times this summer.
Listed at 6-foot-0 and 200 pounds, Decker has a muscular build and sturdy lower half, leaving very little room for physical projection. Using his strong base, the young outfielder possesses above-average raw power. Decker’s swing creates natural lift, as evidenced by his 48-percent fly ball percentage. The 19-year-old also exhibits solid plate discipline, laying off tough pitches until he gets a pitch to drive. Decker’s loft-conscious bat path — coupled with advanced strike-zone awareness — allows him to tap into his power during games. However, there are legitimate concerns about whether the swing-and-miss in his profile (30-percent strikeout rate) will hinder his ability to get to his raw pop during games as he progresses through the minors and faces better pitching. Decker is an average runner with an ungraceful, max-effort running style. While he does not have the speed for center field, he will be able to stay in right field thanks to his above-average throwing arm.
Decker fits very well in today’s game. His ability to hit for power and draw walks is highly valuable, even if the batting average doesn’t get much higher than .250. He has a chance to be a quality role player on a winning club, especially considering he has the heavy-side of a platoon, should handling lefties become a problem as his career progresses, FV 45.