By Jason Shetler
After being drafted by the San Diego Padres as a first round supplemental pick in 2008, Jaff Decker became one of the Padres top prospects, as well as a Baseball America Top 100 prospect in 2010. Decker for whatever reason fell out of favor with the Padres, and was dealt to the Pirates prior to 2014 in exchange for Alex Dickerson.
Just as the case while in the Padres organization, Decker has continued to do a phenomenal job getting on base, as he’s posted a .363 on base percentage since joining the Pirates system. After getting called up to the Bucs in July, Decker returned with them as a September call up. Although the playing time has been limited, he’s made the most of it, posting a .419 on base and a 122 OPS+ in 32 plate appearances.
Decker could very well be the Pirates reserve outfielder coming out of Spring Training next season. Travis Snider is arbitration eligible, but would make more than the $2.1 million he’s owed this season, so I doubt the Pirates would do that especially since Decker is a capable option for just the league minimum. It’ll likely come down to Decker or Keon Broxton. Decker will be out of options next year, which means he’s almost certain to make the Opening Day roster over Broxton, barring injury of course. Having someone who has a strong knack for getting on base obviously makes for a valuable asset off the bench, and Decker could certainly provide that for the Pirates in 2016.