The San Diego Padres will be well represented at the annual Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game on Saturday night. Outfielder Jaff Decker and RHP Anthony Bass were selected to compete in the showcase game.
Decker, the 42nd overall pick of the 2008 draft, has excelled in in minor league career, and has continued his success into the AFL. Decker is hitting .323 (21-for-65) with six extra-base hits and 11 RBI thus far.
Decker has been able to maintain his patient approach at the plate through the first half of the Fall season. His high walk rates in the minor leagues (career .411 OBP) are certainly a promising sign, but his high strikeout rate (23.7% in 2011) have lead many to speculate that Decker needs to display more aggressiveness at the plate. He has posted a .429 OBP in Arizona this fall, but his strikeout rate has remained high at just over 21 percent.
Bass, who made 27 appearances (3 starts) for the Padres in 2011, has a 1-0 record but an elevated 5.30 ERA in the AFL this year. He has displayed a good ability to get strikeouts, however, fanning 22 hitters versus just three walks in 18.2 innings. Those strikeout numbers are a stark improvement over the numbers he produced for the Padres, where he fanned only 24 batters in 48.1 innings of work. Bass has produced solid strikeout rates in the minor leagues, however.
The biggest snub was that of third base prospect Jedd Gyorko. All he’s done in the AFL this year is produce a ridiculous .421/.500/.707 line in 57 at bats. His average leads the league and he’s coupled it with four doubles, four homers, and 18 RBI. Gyorko did miss some time with a groin strain, which is the only reason I can think of to leave him off the all-star team.