Is It James Bond Or Cody Decker? Meet The Anti-Hero
Major League Baseball is a business plain and simple, but as we are finding out, business is only part of who a ballplayer is. With more in-depth media coverage and the explosion of social media fans are able to see another side of their favorite players. This side not only makes a player more interesting, but more relatable as well. After interviewing a slew of up-and-coming prospects over the last month, host Jack McNeil and the rest of us at The MLB Talk 101 learned that all of these guys are not only great athletes, but great people as well. Among the most interesting prospects was San Diego Padre minor league first baseman, Cody Decker, who may have a career as a comedian, director, or film critic when he decides to hang up the spikes. However, with his swing, another career may have to wait.
Decker is Cali-kid who was raised in Santa Monica and played college ball at UCLA. During his 4 years as a Bruin, he established himself as one of the best all-around players in the PAC-10. Decker earned All-Conference honors twice and won the home run crown during his senior season in 2009. He also flashed the leather quite a bit; making only 3 errors during his entire collegiate career. Decker’s accolades and tremendous upside piqued the interest of the San Diego Padres, who drafted the 5’11” 220 lb first baseman in the 22nd round of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft.
After tearing up Rookie Ball, hitting at a .333 clip, and putting up outstanding numbers at High- A Lake Elsinore in 2010 (.270 AVG/35 2B/28 HR/90 RBI/.352 OBP), Decker experienced some growing pains for the first time in his career. An ankle injury kept him out a good portion of the 2011 season, but he has since rebounded in a big way. Despite the injury and all of the first base depth in the Padres system, Decker has forced his way into the line-up with his bat. Between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson in 2013 he hit .262 with 24 doubles, 5 triples, 19 home runs and 70 runs batted in. The performance earned him an invitation to play for former big league catcher Brad Ausmus on the Israeli National Team during the World Baseball Classic.
Off the field the 26 year old has quite the personality and is such an interesting person. He does various impressions. Decker stated that when he goes out, “there’s a 90% chance he is not using his normal speaking voice.” He is a thespian and has acted in the past and written many screen plays. He is a movie buff. Some of his favorites are the Bond Films, The Batman Films, and The Natural. He loves TV shows; namely Arrested Development, Breaking Bad, and House of Cards.
His social media accounts are things you need to check out if you are looking for a good laugh. His Twitter (@Decker6) is abuzz with everything from interacting with fans to making jokes about himself (e.g. “Solid full day of giving hitting lessons….. Cody Decker, corrupting America’s youth, one swing at a time….”). His YouTube account, (Antihero Baseball/Daylight Films) features funny videos he made. The best being one called Brad., which is an 8 minute video about his WBC Manager Brad Ausmus.
Everything else aside, Decker is a solid baseball player and all-around great guy. He displays a quiet, smooth swing from the right side and there is absolutely no reason why he couldn’t be a 20-25 home run guy at the major league level. The Padre’s obviously see that, which is why they invited him to Spring Training for the 2014 season. He could not be more excited for this opportunity and is, “looking to turn some heads”, show his versatility (yes he catches too), and prove the doubters wrong. Decker stated, “I could care less what anyone thinks about me….I’m a big fan of saying I told you so.” He wants his play and work ethic to do the talking. Look for Decker to either break camp with the Padres or be called up at some point during 2014.