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Cody Decker

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Cody Marshall Decker

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[edit] Biographical Information

Cody Decker was a MVP in his first minor league season who wound up in the majors.

[edit] Amateur Career

Decker hit .475 with a school-record 14 home runs (his school had produced a couple major league outfielders) as a high school sophomore. He fell to .420 as a junior then hit .490 as a senior with 11 home runs (tied for third-most in Southern California). He batted .302/.343/.571 as a part-timer a college freshman at UCLA. In 2007, the sophomore hit .307/.376/.583 with 14 HR and 57 RBI in 54 games. He was one of three All-Pacific-10 Conference first basemen, along with Brett Wallace and David Cooper. He fell to .218/.340/.382 as a junior at DH and went undrafted. He rebounded and then some as a senior, producing at a .322/.434/.683 clip with 21 dingers, 55 runs and 55 RBI in 56 contests. He was third in the Pac-10 in slugging (after Dillon Baird and Jason Kipnis), fifth in runs, tied for fourth in total bases (136), first in home runs and 4th in walks (42). He tied for 20th in NCAA Division I in homers. He was again All-Pac-10. His 43 homers in college tied Ryan McGuire for 7th on the UCLA career list.

[edit] 2009-2012: The climb to AAA

He was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 22nd round of the 2009 amateur draft. The scout was Brendan Hause. He spent most of that year with the AZL Padres, hitting .354/.421/.717. He led the Arizona League in doubles (21, one ahead of Chris Kersten), home runs (15, as many as runner-up Rymer Liriano's 8 and the #3 player's 7 combined), RBI (10 more than runner-up Randal Grichuk, a first-round pick), slugging (75 points ahead of Jesus Brito), OPS (57 points ahead of Brito), total bases (142), extra-base hits (39), fielding percentage at 1B (.995), assists at first (28) and double plays by a first baseman (39). He was also second in hits (70, 6 behind Grichuk), third in average (after Brito and Mike Trout), fourth in OBP and fourth in runs (46). He was named the AZL All-Star first baseman and beat out players such as Trout, Brito, Liriano and Grichuk to win league MVP. Oddly, he was the second straight AZL Padres player named Decker to be named league MVP, following the unrelated Jaff Decker (2008). He was also briefly with the Fort Wayne TinCaps that year, going 2 for 18 with a double and six walks. Baseball America did not name him one of the AZL's top 20 prospects for 2009 despite his near-Triple Crown season, presumably due to his age.

With the Lake Elsinore Storm the next season, he hit .278/.352/.513 with 35 doubles, 28 homers and 90 RBIs. He was among the California League leaders in home runs (4th, between Rich Poythress and Brandon Barnes), doubles (6th), RBI (7th, between Jeremy Barfield and Mike Spina) and total bases (260, tied for 9th). He put up similar numbers to Jaff Decker for a double-decker offense for the Storm. Among San Diego farmhands, he was tied for second in doubles (behind fellow Jewish slugger Nate Freiman), tied for first in home runs (with Matt Clark) and second in RBI (7 shy of Clark). He did not make the postseason All-Star team this time, as Paul Goldschmidt was chosen at 1B.

Decker missed much of 2011 with a right ankle sprain but remained effective from a power standpoint with the San Antonio Missions (.237/.289/.525, 38 RBI, 13 HR in 49 G) and AZL Padres (.344/.436/.594 on a rehab stint). In 2012, he batted .263/.367/.540 with 25 home runs in 104 games for San Antonio and .298/.393/.690 with 4 homers in 32 contests for the Tucson Padres. He was second in the Texas League in homers (3 behind Mike Olt, one ahead of Freiman). Not having a set position (playing 1B, OF and DH), he failed to make the league All-Star team, with teammate Freiman being picked at first. He was second in the Padres chain in home runs (behind Jedd Gyorko) and 4th in RBI.

Decker remained teammates with Freiman on the Israeli national team for the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, going 1 for 10 with two walks and two RBI as the starting left fielder (joining Shawn Green, Ben Guez and Joc Pederson in the outfield) while Freiman led the offense. Israel made it to the finals of their qualifier before losing out to Spain. In the finale, Decker had his best game when it mattered most. Hitting cleanup, he struck out against Eric González in the first but recovered. He singled in the third, driving in Pederson and knocking out González to put Israel up, 3-1. He drew a bases-loaded walk from Antonio Noguera in the 4th, forcing in Jake Lemmerman for a 6-4 lead, then walked against Eddie Morlan his next trip up. Robbie Widlansky pinch-hit for him in the 8th against Remigio Leal with a 7-6 deficit, two on and one out and Israel went on to lose, 9-7.

[edit] 2013- : The high minors and the majors

Decker moved to first base primarily in 2013, with the Missions (.171/.275/.343 in 10 G) and Tucson Padres (.272/.349/.534, 17 HR in 113 G). His 19 home runs were second in the Padres chain, one behind Tommy Medica. San Diego's AAA affiliate in 2014 was the El Paso Chihuahuas and Cody kept on hitting with pop at AAA - .261/.337/.514, 27 HR, 79 RBI, albeit with 150 K. He tied Adam Duvall, Kyle Jensen and Francisco Peña for 4th in the 2014 PCL in dingers, was third in whiffs (after Matt Fields and Bryan Peterson) and missed the top 10 in slugging by .003. Among Padres farmhands, he led in long balls (six more than Hunter Renfroe), tied Gabriel Quintana for the most strikeouts, tied Dustin Peterson for third in RBI and led in slugging (.037 ahead of Dane Phillips). He spent the winter with the Tomateros de Culiacan, hitting .188/.286/.229 in 14 games.

He opened 2015 back with El Paso and produced at a .252/.335/.488 clip with 21 home runs. He was 10th in the 2015 Pacific Coast League in homers, again leading Padres minor leaguers (one ahead of Renfroe). Among Padres minor leaguers, only Renfroe had more RBI (78-75) and only Alex Dickerson had a higher slugging percentage. He was 1 for 14 in the postseason. He became the career Padres minor league home run leader. In the 2015 AAA All-Star Game, he started at DH for the PCL, hitting 5th. He singled off Erik Johnson in the second and drew a walk from Taylor Rogers in the 4th before being replaced by Jett Bandy during a 4-3 loss. He finally got the call to the majors late that year.

In his MLB debut, he pinch-hit for Austin Hedges and popped up against David Hernandez in a 10-1 win over the Diamondbacks. He was 0 for 11 with 5 whiffs for the 2015 Padres; the highlight was a sacrifice fly off Alex Wood to score Melvin Upton. He had a busy 2016. He left the Padres chain after six years, signing with the Kansas City Royals. He lasted just a few games with their Omaha Storm Chasers (5 for 18, 2B, 3 HR, 4 R, 5 RBI, 3 BB) then got sold to the Colorado Rockies. He hit .208/.246/.377 in 14 games for the Albuquerque Isotopes and was released. Signed by the Boston Red Sox, he batted .232/.284/.486 with 14 homers in 63 games for the Portland Sea Dogs. For the year, he had 19 home runs between the three stops, giving him 173 career homers in the minors.

Decker was back with Israel for the 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, starting at third and batting third. He was 3 for 8 with a walk, double, homer and two sacrifice flies to lead Israel in OPS (125 ahead of Ryan Lavarnway, slugging (.218 ahead of Lavarnway) and RBI (3, tied with Lavarnway). In the opening win over Great Britain, he had their lone run in six innings against Michael Roth, doubling and coming home on a Jordan Serena error. He took Nolan Bond deep in the win over Great Britain in the finale, as Israel won a spot in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, their first trip to a World Baseball Classic. For all four qualifiers, he tied Eric Farris for 4th in slugging (.125 behind Trent Oeltjen, Carlos Ruiz and Bruce Maxwell).

[edit] Off the field

Decker has acted and had a cameo role in a NBC thriller "A State of Affairs".

[edit] Notable Achievements

[edit] Sources

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