Padres Prospect Interview: Cody Decker

Cody Decker is the type of player that fans instinctively cheer for. Selected in the 22nd-round draft by the Padres in 2009 out of UCLA, he was sent to the Arizona League, where if you are 22 it's a good idea to start producing, and it better be right now.

And Cody did produce, and produce…so much so that he set several AZL records, hitting .354/421/.717 with 39 extra-base hits in 52 games and was the Player of the Year for 2009. Decker is not the biggest guy in the world at 5-foot-11 and 225-pounds, especially for a first baseman, but he certainly put up some numbers and earned an opportunity.

Decker was a former two-time Pac-10 all star who finished his senior year hitting .322/.434/.683, leading all hitters in the conference with 21 home runs. He was promoted at the end of the season to the Fort Wayne TinCaps.

Decker had a strong spring and the team made the unusual move of skipping him all the way to High-A Lake Elsinore where he should see time at first base, DH and possibly in left field. There has also been some talk of attempting to try him at catcher, a position he played in high school, to get his big right-handed bat in the line-up.

Either way, it should be fun to watch.

At the end of last year there was some talk that the organization was going to give you a shot at catcher. Has any of that happened yet?

Cody Decker: No, not yet. Right now, they have me at first base and maybe some outfield. In the off-season at UCLA, I did catch a lot of bullpens and tried to get a lot of reps out there to be ready if I am asked.

You had a monster year last year. Obviously, you would like to replicate it again, you would be in a nice spot. What is your biggest goal this year?

Cody Decker: I feel pretty confident with myself, and for me, the key is to keep everything pretty simple at the plate, and I think I will be fine.

When we talked to Grady Fuson last year, he said when you first came up you were a little over anxious at the plate - you still hit great - but you were just so pumped up to play it took you awhile to relax. Do you think for the upcoming year you will be able to relax a little more?

Cody Decker: Yeah I think I'm aware of how long the season is going to be. I'll be excited for every game but the key for me is just to pace myself.

You look like you came into camp in better shape than you were last year. What did you do in the off-season to prepare?

Cody Decker: I worked out a lot, and I had a pretty extreme work out routine, so I feel pretty good.

What is an extreme workout?

Cody Decker: I did the Padres routine, which was theirs and some of my own stuff too which I think made me a little quicker and leaner. I pretty much just doubled-up. [Decker appears to be around 5-foot-10 and a very solid 205 to 210-pounds].

What is the biggest thing you are tying to improve upon for this year?

Cody Decker: I really want to cut down on the strikeouts and defensively I'm feeling pretty good. My arm is good and I'm moving pretty well, which is what I tried to do in the off-season.

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