The Red Sox made two selections on Monday, and both players were high school bats with relatively similar profiles. After taking Triston Casas with their first pick, they came back with the 64th overall selection and nabbed left-handed outfielder Nick Decker. Last year’s draft was relatively college pitcher-heavy — though not too extreme — and it seems they are going in the opposite direction this year. Decker is obviously not as well-regarded as Casas was, but he was also taken 38 picks later. That’s kinda how it works, ya know? Let’s get to know Decker a little more, shall we?
Decker is a couple months older than Casas and an official 90’s Kid™, as he was born on October 2, 1999. Those couple of months are doing loads of work in terms of making me feel better about my age. Decker is from the Philly area, and based on his Twitter account he is a Sixers fan. That does not get him off on a good foot with me. That is not very important, though. Decker went to Seneca High School in New Jersey, which produced 2011 first-round pick Kevin Comer and Sonya DeVille, who is apparently a wrestler. Decker had some wildly varying rankings heading into the draft, coming in at 110 on Baseball America, 74 on MLB Pipeline and 51 on Fangraphs. He is committed to play at the University of Maryland next spring if he doesn’t sign.
The profile is very similar to that of Casas, and they both share the same carrying tool in their raw power. Decker’s isn’t as pronounced or as definite as the first round pick, but he’s big and strong with a good swing path built for power. In addition to the pop, Decker also has a refined approach at the plate and generally has a plan during each at bat. That sounds simple, but if you watch lower level baseball — either in the minors or amateur ball — there are plenty of hitters for whom that isn’t true. Getting an 18-year-old with a good approach is definitely a good thing.
Again, the similarities exist with Casas. Although scouts like Decker’s power potential, the hit tool is more of a question. Like many power hitters, his swing is long and with an uppercut that can create contact issues and be exploited by talented pitchers. The Red Sox will have to find tweaks in the swing that can create enough contact for the power to play while not sapping away from his raw strength. Defensively, Decker is likely destined for a corner spot. He has the arm for right field, but if he stays with the Red Sox it would be surprising to see him there in the majors due to his lack of range and the large amount of ground out there at Fenway. Either way, the defense is average at best and his value is going to come down to the bat.
Via Baseball America