Lake Elsinore first baseman Cody Decker launched his 20th home run of the 2010 season yesterday.
Why is that significant? Well, Decker’s blast made him the first Padres farmhand to reach the 20-HR plateau this season. Only one other player in the entire organization has 20 homers, and that’s All-Star San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
Of course, Gonzalez (.302/.398/.544) is a more well-rounded hitter than Decker (.273/.343/.521), and San Diego is a much more difficult environment than Lake Elsinore. Still, you have to credit Decker, 23, with showing off some of the best power in the system this year–he could end up near 30 homers.
Decker still has more progress to make with his contact skills and plate discipline, but he’s tightened up his strike zone somewhat during the season:
April: 24/5 K/BB
It certainly looks like Decker, who led the Pac-10 in homers last year as a UCLA senior before crushing the AZL as a 22nd-round pick, has put himself on the map this year and has done far more than most 22nd-round picks do. He may not be a top-10 prospect, but if he can carry the power numbers to San Antonio next year, perhaps he can replace Gonzalez in 2012.