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Conner Uselton Scouting Report (2017 MLB Draft 1st Round Prospect)

Conner Uselton is an 18 year old, 6’3 185 lbs, outfielder from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He is going into his senior year at Southmoore High School. Uselton is one of the top high school prospects for the upcoming 2017 MLB Draft. You can find my scouting report for this potential 5-tool outfielder below:



Chris Duffy Contacts All MLB Teams: Will He Get A Second Chance?

Chris Duffy Looks for An MLB Opportunity

By Nicholas Delahanty (MLB Reports Writer)  

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An interesting story broke out last week, as Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle wrote an article on Chris Duffy, A current independent ballplayer who has been searching for a chance to sign with a Major League team this spring. 

During his senior season at the University of Central Florida, Duffy was nominated for the Golden Spikes Award, which is annually given to the country’s best amateur baseball player.

He was nominated among the likes of Bryce Harper (who won the award), Chris Sale, Drew Pomeranz, and Yasmani Grandal

Unlike the other four nominees, Duffy was not a first-round draft pick and was unable to make it to the major leagues just yet. He fell to the 26th round, where the Philadelphia Phillies finally swooped him up.
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Nate Freiman: Beane Finds Yet Another Hidden Gem… And The A’s Next 1st Baseman

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Friday April 5th, 2013

All Nate Freiman did was carry the Country of Israel during the recent World Baseball Classic Qualifying Tournament. Can this First Base giant do the same in Oakland?

All Nate Freiman did was carry the Country of Israel during the recent World Baseball Classic Qualifying Tournament. Can this First Base giant do the same in Oakland?

Jonathan Hacohen  (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder):  

Baseball is a funny game sometimes. One minute you’re crying the Chris Carter blues. Then before you  know it, Nate Freiman appears. That is how Billy Beane works my friends. Just when you think he might be slipping, he pulls a magic rabbit out of his hat (better known as the waiver wire in baseball terms). 

On February 11, 2013, I wrote an article outlining Billy Beane’s error in trading Chris Carter. While I have always endorsed the talents of Jed Lowrie, it was my opinion that giving up a future star in Chris Carter was too high of a price to pay.

The trade (which actually took place on February 4th) saw the Astros acquire yet another stud First Base prospect. I wondered out loud what the Astros would do with all their First Base talent (Brett Wallace, Jonathan Singleton, Nate Freiman and veteran Carlos Pena).

It seemed like too many bats and not enough positions in Houston, despite the newfound need for a Designated Hitter. A little over a month later, March 23rd to be exact- I had my answer. Nate Freiman was on his way to Oakland.

The star for Israel in this year’s World Baseball Classic qualifying tournament was going to get the opportunity of a lifetime.

While some felt the A’s were simply acquiring roster depth, I saw a different vision. The A’s had their replacement for Brandon Moss at First Base.

Billy Beane had an uncovered yet another gem that was going to thrive in Oakland. Remember Josh Reddick 2012? Meet Nate Freiman 2013.  

Nate Freiman Interview:

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Yoenis Cespedes: While Cuba Misses Their Star in the 2013 WBC – the A’s Slugger Looks to be an A.L. MVP Candidate

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Friday March 8th, 2013

From Cuba to A.L. MVP? Despite not being able to represent his native country in the WBC, Cespedes is a year older and wiser. The more he adjusts to North America life and baseball, opposing pitchers will shudder even more each time Cespedes comes to the plate.

Jonathan Hacohen  (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder):  

It’s pretty ironic if you ask me. The 2013 World Baseball Classic is here and Cuba is off to a huge start. I had to pick a winner and went with Cuba as my pre-tournament favorite. Considering that Japan has won both editions of the WBC, Cuba was definitely going to be in tough. To top it all off, they are starting off the first two rounds in Japan. Why is it ironic? For Cuba is missing its biggest star for the tournament. Yoenis Cespedes, the Oakland A’s star outfielder is in Arizona for Spring Training.

Far away from the bright lights of Japan, where Cuba finally beat its nemesis this week in WBC play after several failed attempts in the past. With that monkey off their back, Cuba has made the statement that they are ready to win it all. But yet without their biggest star. For when one defects from Cuba, they are forever banished from representing their country again in any baseball capacity.

I couldn’t help but think watching Cuba play in Japan this week that in fact Cespedes and the A’s opened their season last year in Japan. Cespedes actually started off his season with a bang out there and never looked back. On March 29th last year, Cespedes had a home run in the 2nd game of the A’s young season. That bomb in Japan was the start of the legend. Who knew that Cespedes would actually be in Japan a year too early? For all the success that Cuba has enjoyed thus far in the 2013 WBC, imagine if they had Cespedes anchoring that lineup?

Cuba may very still win the 2013 WBC. My money is on that happening. But if Cuba falls short yet again, the what if scenarios will endlessly get bounced around. What if the team had Aroldis Chapman? Alexei Ramirez? And most of all, Yoenis Cespedes? Until Cuba allows its defectors to come home again, the talent drain will continue to affect the country in international tournaments.

Yoenis Cespedes 2012 Highlights Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is Advised:

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Nick Swisher to Washington: The Nationals Are Looking to Add a Key Free Agent Bat to Their Lineup

Tuesday November 13th, 2012

Kyle Holland:  On Saturday, the Nationals announced that they were re-signing manager Davey Johnson for the 2013 season. With the Nats clearing up the managerial situation it leaves the rest of their offseason for signing free agents. One free agent they will start with is outfielder/first baseman Nick Swisher.

Swisher would be a great fit in a Washington uniform. He just recently rejected the Yankees offer of $13.3 million for one more year in New York. With Adam LaRoche declining his qualifying offer from the Nationals, they could let him walk and sign Swisher. Swisher has been known to play first base along with his usual outfield, so he could be a great replacement for LaRoche. Added versatility is always a bonus in today’s game. Read the rest of this entry

The Underrated Greatness of Yoenis Cespedes: The Stats Don’t Lie

Monday August 20th, 2012


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Jonathan Hacohen: For all the talk of Mike Trout as the sure bet for this year’s A.L. ROY and possibly MVP awards, a name that does not get thrown around enough is that of Yoenis Cespedes. Heard of him? I’m sure you have. The Cuban sensation, who went almost overnight from a YouTube prospect star to the A’s best hitter. The baseball world has not forgotten about Cespedes. But it seems like for all the attention Mike Trout is getting, Cespedes is not getting enough baseball love. Given Trout’s numbers, it’s not hard to see why. The kid hailed as the next Mickey Mantle has delivered and then some. Trout leads the league with a .343 average. Scored 96 runs and stole 39 bases. Obscene numbers for any MLB player in August, let alone a 21-year old. What makes Trout even more incredible is that he is doing it at home and on the road. Check his splits- almost identical. But then Trout does get to enjoy the lineup protection of Albert Pujols, Kendrys Morales, Torii Hunter and the rest of the Angels lineup. 

I am not even going to begin to try to compare Trout and Cespedes. Apples and oranges. Trout is much younger (6 years) and he clearly has the superior numbers. In any other year though, Yoenis Cespedes would have been the shoo-in Rookie of the Year in the A.L. and would have garnered MVP votes as well. But just because Trout is so good, we shouldn’t let Cespedes not get his time in the sun. The man has been a one-man wrecking crew for the A’s and the team’s overall record with him in the lineup is part of the proof of his greatness. Read the rest of this entry

Yoenis Cespedes: The Cuban King of Oakland

Saturday July 28th, 2012


                                                                              (Image Courtesy of

Brendan Henderson: If you’re a baseball fan, you have heard the name Yoenis Cespedes. Recently, you have been hearing A LOT about his team, the Oakland Athletics. Just how much has Yoenis Cespedes helped the A’s this year and  especially as of late? That is what I’m going to analyze below. Read the rest of this entry

Bryan LaHair: The Future of the Cubs or Simply Another Trade Deadline Candidate?

Tuesday July 17th, 2012

John Burns:  The 2012 season has been one to forget for the Chicago Cubs, as they currently stand in fifth place in the NL Central with a 36-52 record. Chicago has had some pleasant surprises this season so far even though the record doesn’t show it. The All-Star emergence of Bryan LaHair brought Cubs fans something to talk about in the first half. LaHair was never even in anyone’s Top 100 prospect list ever in his career. The 29-year-old was drafted in the 39th round of the 2002 Draft by the Seattle Mariners and has spent a majority of his baseball career in the minors. LaHair is having a solid 2012 campaign and earned himself a trip to Kansas City for the All-Star game. Even though LaHair has slowed down, I expect his name to be swirled around at the trade deadline. Numerous teams could be in on LaHair who is hitting .282, with 14 homers and 31 RBIs. Read the rest of this entry

Josh Hamilton: Big Stats = Big Dollars in Free Agency

Friday June 15th, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Writer): For better or worse, Josh Hamilton has been one of the most talked about ballplayers in the past four seasons. He started out as an inspirational story for overcoming drug and alcohol addiction, returning to baseball after three years on the restricted list due to failed drug tests. His talent always peaked the interest of teams, going first overall to the Devil Rays in the 1999 draft and third overall in the 2006 Rule 5 draft to the Chicago Cubs, when he was “the biggest name in the Rule 5 in many years,” according to Baseball America. Immediately after he was traded to Cincinnati, where he spent most of the 2007 season in the Majors. Another team interested meant another trade, and Hamilton landed in Texas for the 2008 season. Since then, he has been an All Star every year, a Silver Slugger winner twice, and the American League MVP in 2010.

Hamilton will no doubt gain even more attention if he hits free agency after this season. Though he is eligible to file for free agency at the end of the year, there are rumors circulating that the Rangers may try to sign the tattooed center fielder to an extension.  Age 31, Hamilton is in the prime of his career and he’s currently on pace to hit 60 home runs in 2012. That, along with a career .311 batting average that is only getting better, makes for a huge payoff in the near future. At the same time, Hamilton is in danger of relapsing, as he did when he was seen drinking at a Dallas bar in February, and some teams may not want to invest in a potential addict. Either way, this Fall and Winter will be very interesting for the star who has brought his team to the World Series twice in two years. Read the rest of this entry

A Tribute To Danny Tartabull

Sunday February 19, 2012

 Sam Evans: In the midst of all the great power hitters of the nineties, Danny Tartabull’s name often gets lost. This offensive-minded outfielder usually ended up on bad teams, but he found ways to put up strong numbers for most of his career

Tartabull was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1962. His father, Jose, played in parts of seven Major League seasons for the Athletics and Red Sox. Growing up under the lights of Hiram Bithorn stadium, and with a father who played professional baseball, there must have been pretty high expectations for Danny Tartabull. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the third round of the 1980 MLB amateur draft. The Bull’s first couple of seasons in the minors were pretty impressive. His numbers show that he demonstrated a great ability to get on base.  Nonetheless, Tartabull spent four seasons in the minors before he finally got at a shot at the majors with the Seattle Mariners. (more…)

L.V. Ware Interview: The Hometown Prospect is Grinding His Way Back to Atlanta

Sunday February 12th, 2012

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  Get ready for a real treat today fans. This is another interview that has been a year in the works. He has a hectic schedule, but we finally pinned down one of the great young players in the game for an interview. One of our favorite all-time twitter masters is finally here. Atlanta Braves outfielder prospect, L.V. Ware. If you spend any kind of time on Twitter, the name L.V. has come up in your timeline at some point. One of the most fan-friendly athletes that you will ever meet, L.V. has that special charisma about him. Baseball fans from all over flock to speak to him.  With almost 3,000 followers on Twitter and growing by the day, L.V. is certainly cementing his place in the baseball social media world. 

Now for the 411 on L.V. Ware. The Atlanta Braves prospect will be 25-years of age come opening day. He can play all three outfield positions, but center is his primary position. His game is built on defense and getting on-base. He can steal you a base, as shown by his consistent base stealing over his career (highlighted by a career-high 30 steals in 2010). When Curtis Granderson is your primary modern-day role model, you know that you aim high. I can definitely see why L.V. would look up to Granderson. He plays the game the right way and has become one of the best all-around outfielders in baseball. But besides working hard on the field, Granderson is a true ambassador to the game- working tirelessly for charities and kid-centric organizations. Hailing from Atlanta, I could see L.V. taking on a Granderson-type role in the community as a member of the Braves one day. He understands the importance of his role as a role model and leader. The Braves have a good one in their system and Atlanta fans will definitely enjoy this young man for years to come.

Exclusively on MLB reports, we proudly feature our interview with the one and only, L.V. Ware- Atlanta Braves Prospect. Ever wonder what the L.V. stands for? Plus you won’t believe what L.V. would be doing for a living if he wasn’t playing baseball. Get ready to find out all these answers and more: Read the rest of this entry

Ryan Strausborger Interview: Texas Rangers Prospect

Saturday January 28, 2012

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  Ryan Strausborger is today’s featured interview on MLB reports. A 16th round pick of the Texas Rangers in 2010, Ryan is entering his 3rd professional season. He completed last season with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans of the Carolina League (High-A ball).  What to expect from this up-and-coming baseball prospect? There are three aspects to his game: speed, getting on base and defense. Ryan stole 21 bases in 25 attempts in his first pro season and followed it up with 31 stolen bases last year. He has shown good doubles power (29 doubles in 126 games) and chipped in 9 triples. It may be difficult to replicate Rickey Henderson, but perhaps we are looking at the next Tim Raines? I’m sure Ryan will take that! He can play all three outfield positions, although center is his primary spot. For a team that plays in a well-known hitters’ park, Ryan Strausborger could be setting the table and scoring many runs for the future Rangers boppers. At 23-years of age, Ryan is still developing and working his way up to the majors. But if his two first pro seasons have shown us anything, the potential and tools are there. Get to know one of the next wave of Texas Rangers players, as we introduce you to Ryan Strausborger, outfield prospect:

MLB reports:  First question Ryan:  Who was your favorite baseball player growing up, that you most idolized and patterned your game after?

Ryan Strausborger: Growing up I never really tried to be just like anyone, but I was always a fan of the Cubs.

MLB reports:  Which current MLB star do you most admire and why?

Ryan Strausborger: Michael Young, just because I have been around him now a couple of times. He is obviously very good, yet he is also one of the most humble and professional guys I have ever seen.

MLB reports:  What are your goals going into the 2012 season?

Ryan Strausborger: To win the league championship and to better myself as a hitter and overall player.

MLB reports:  Did you play any other sports growing up?  Why did you choose baseball as your sport?

Ryan Strausborger: Basketball. It was my goal as soon as I started playing baseball to become a pro someday.

MLB reports:  When you first found out you were drafted, what were your reactions?  What made you decide to sign with the Rangers?

Ryan Strausborger: They drafted me out of college as a senior and gave me the chance I was looking for.

MLB reports:  What do you consider your greatest baseball skill(s)?

Ryan Strausborger: My speed and determination are my two most important skills.

MLB reports:  What facets of your game do you most wish to improve upon?

Ryan Strausborger: Just continue to make strides to being a more consistent hitter like I did last year.

MLB reports:  How do home runs, stolen bases and walks figure into your game?  Are you a speed, power guy or both?

Ryan Strausborger: Home runs are not important, while stolen bases and walks are.  I am a speed guy with a little bit of gap to gap power and my job is to get on base and score runs.

MLB reports:  I see that you have played all three outfield positions, but mostly center.  Where do you think you will ultimately end up?

Ryan Strausborger: I would like to end up in center field. But i am a role player and would play anywhere they need me.

MLB reports:  Strausborger: Ever get razzed about the long name on the jersey?  Ever get mistaken for a certain pitcher in Washington?

Ryan Strausborger: Always get razzed about the long name, but no, Ii haven’t been mistaken for him. But people do like to make jokes about the names being so similar.

MLB reports:  If you had to look into a crystal ball, when do you see your expected time of arrival in the big leagues and what do you think you need to do most to get there?

Ryan Strausborger: I need to just prove that I can be consistent and get the job done.  As for the arrival, we will just wait and see what happens.

MLB reports:  If you were not playing professional baseball, you would be ____________

Ryan Strausborger: Finishing my college degree.

MLB reports:  What do you do for fun away from the ballpark?

Ryan Strausborger: Just hang out with my teammates and try to take advantage of all of the very few off days we get.

MLB reports:  Have you ever been to Texas?  Is it all cowboy hats and boots?

Ryan Strausborger: Only been there for a short stay a couple of times.  No, Ii didn’t see any cowboy hats or boots on anyone.

MLB reports:  Final thoughts?

Ryan Strausborger: Appreciate you allowing me to be featured!!

***Thank you to Ryan Strausborger for taking the time today to speak with us on MLB reports.  You can follow Ryan on Twitter (@Ryan_Straus).  Ryan is working his way up the Rangers ladder. So give him a follow, say hello and watch his baseball journey unfold!


Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)

Please e-mail us at: with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Steve McQuail Interview: Blue Jays Prospect and the New “King of Cool”

Sunday January 8, 2012

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  We welcome today to MLB reports Blue Jays outfield prospect, Stephen McQuail.  But you better call him Steve (wink)!  A very personable young man, I have really enjoyed speaking to him leading up to this interview.  He is not always the easiest guy to get a hold of- he basically lives at the gym and batting cages! At 6’3” and 240 lbs., Steve could be just as easily entering a Mr. Olympia contest or UFC match as he would a baseball diamond.  The kid is ripped! A New York native, Steve’s father is a retired NYPD detective. Can you imagine growing up in that household? I doubt Steve got very much past his parents! But all kidding aside, it did instill a very strong work ethic within this baseball prospect. For as hard as he works and trains during the offseason, he still finds time to keep a winter job at the same time. Working Pedestrian Management in New York City? That is a huge grind. But for a ballplayer working to achieve his dream, it is part of the path that he has chosen. As glamorous as many fans envision the life of a professional baseball player, Steve is proof that the road to the majors is a hard one. It involves sacrifices and dedication. Steve wants this as badly as any prospect that I have ever spoken to. That drive should take him very far in the baseball world.

A 30th round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2010 MLB draft, Steve McQuail has shown strong play already.  In his professional debut, Steve played for Auburn in the New York-Penn League.  A league with a good track record of graduating talent, Steve tore up the league at the tender age of 21.  He hit 6 home runs in only 50 games, with a .272 AVG, .341 OBP and .456 SLG.  Just for good measure, Steve popped 12 home runs in 60 games this past season as a member of the Vancouver Canadians. With power in his bat and rated as a top defensive outfielder, Steve McQuail has game folks. So now that we know the background, let’s meet the man himself.  Speaking to Steve, I not only learned about his career and journey, but also his mindset. Steve expresses very well what makes a ballplayer tick and what life is like on and off the field. If the Blue Jays are looking for well-rounded players on its future roster, they have a perfect one lined up in Steve McQuail. When I heard the name- I right away thought of Steve McQueen. Getting to know Mr. McQuail- I am definitely ready to bestow upon him the McQueen moniker of “King of Cool”.  Enjoy the nickname Steve. You deserve it.


MLB reports:  Welcome to MLB Reports, Steve. A pleasure to be speaking to you today. First question: who was your favorite baseball player growing up, that you most idolized and patterned your game after?

Steve McQuail:  I think it’s almost impossible to grow up in New York City and not idolize Derek Jeter. He is the definition of the words clutch, confident and hard-working. If I could possibly go about my game and life like he does, I’d be a special type of person.

MLB reports:  Which current MLB star do you most admire and why?

Steve McQuail:  I’m thankful to be a Blue Jay because I get to witness first-hand how the big league guys work. If you saw a cage session with Jose Bautista, there’s no doubt in my mind that you’d leave saying “Oh, no wonder he hits absolute taters.” His work ethic and perfect practice translate into the game atmosphere like I’ve never seen before.

MLB reports:  Reflecting on your career to-date, what are your proudest accomplishments on the baseball field?

Steve McQuail:  I have done some good things on the field in my life up until now, but the moments that stick out the most are those that I get to share with my friends and family. The final home game in Auburn in 2010 I was able to go 5-6 with 2 bombs for a group of my friends that took the 5-hour drive from Long Island. This year in Vancouver, I was able to hit a home run in 5 consecutive games, including a walk-off bomb for my parents, grandparents, sister and girlfriend. Sharing my success with the people I love the most is what it’s all about!

MLB reports:  What are your goals going into the 2012 season?  

Steve McQuail:  My goals for the 2012 season are all attainable without relying on chance. I’m striving to play everyday, like there is no tomorrow. If I strive to hit the ball hard 5 times a game and have quality at-bats, I will help my team win and be successful. (Editor’s note: One of the best responses to this question we have received in some time. Steve is very mature beyond his years.)

MLB reports:  When you first found out you were drafted, what was going through your mind?  What round did you expect to be drafted and what was the process like signing with the Jays?

Steve McQuail:  I had no idea what round I would go… if I even went at all. The only thing I remember was that I turned the computer on 12:30 in the afternoon and didn’t move from my couch until I heard my name get called in the last round of the day (30th) at around 7:45p.m. I was elated, excited and starving because I hadn’t eaten all day. Signing with the Jays wasn’t a problem at all. I was on a plane in 3 days and out on the field before I knew it. (Editor’s note: Now THAT is commitment. I love this kid!)


MLB reports:  What do you consider your greatest baseball skill(s)?

Steve McQuail:  I consider my bat to be my strongest asset. Though, since playing pro, I’m working to get my defense as superior or more as I adjust to the outfield.


MLB reports:  How do strikeouts and walks figure into your game?  Do you see any of these items changing over time and to what degree?

Steve McQuail:  Strikeout-to-Walk ratio is basically one of the biggest parts of my game that will help me excel deeper through the organization. This season was rough for me, as I did A LOT of swinging. Seeing more pitches and developing a better plan at the plate will help me define my identity as a hitter. Believe me, I am confident the strikeouts and walks will even out as my career continues.

MLB reports:  Long-term do you see yourself as an outfielder? How important is “D” in your game?

Steve McQuail:  I absolutely see myself in the outfield in the future. I pride myself in my defense, with arm strength and the ability to move. I’m a big but lean guy at 6’3” and 240 pounds. I strive to outwork the lighter “speed” guys because I know it will only make me a better player.

MLB reports:  What do you need to do in order to be successful in this game?

Steve McQuail:  In order to be successful in this game, I have to create consistency through practice and experience.

MLB reports:  If you had to look into a crystal ball, when do you see your expected time of arrival in the big leagues and what do you think you need to do most to get there?

Steve McQuail:  I can’t worry about a time frame to get to the show because ultimately it’s something that I cannot control. The only things I can control that will help me on my way are my attitude and work ethic. These will translate into good play and a positive mental outlook which is a necessity during the grind of the Minor Leagues.


MLB reports:  Has pro ball been everything you expected it to be thus far?

Steve McQuail:  Almost every little kid has a dream about playing professional baseball. You create pictures and instances of how it’s gonna be when you get there. For me, it was dead on.


MLB reports:  What do you do for fun when you are not playing baseball?  Best friend(s) on the team that you most hang out with and what do you guys like to do to chill?

Steve McQuail:  Off the field, I would say my number one hobby is lifting weights. But that has kinda taken a backseat since getting drafted because I just don’t have enough energy! But I love to relax, no matter where it is. It could be my bed, the beach or an air mattress on Marcus Knecht‘s living room floor. I say Marcus’s floor because he lets me and Matt Nuzzo crash with him in his sweet condo about a month before spring training. You can find us at the beach, movies or playing Call of Duty for hours and hours.

MLB reports:  Do you have a favorite pre-game meal?

Steve McQuail:  I’m not superstitious about a specific pregame meal. I am superstitious about having my Dre Beats on 45 minutes before game time.


MLB reports:  Final Thoughts?

Steve McQuail:  I’d like to give a shout out to the Vancouver Canadians. The front office, staff, fans and my host family (Mark, Sue, Carl and Megan) allowed me to have the best summer ever. Hopefully everyone can see me at the Rogers Centre one day. But until then, I’m gonna enjoy the ride.

***Thank you to Steve McQuail for pulling out of the gym long enough to speak with us today on MLB reports!  You can follow Steve on Twitter (@SteveMcQuail). Steve LOVES interacting with his fans, so please feel free to send him any questions/comments you have.  Or just wish him good luck on the season, as he would appreciate your support!***


Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)

Please e-mail us at: with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

On the Verge: Top MLB Prospect Jaff Decker

Sunday December 11, 2011

Jonathan Hacohen:  In this edition of On the Verge, I take a look at one of the prospects in the game today:  Jaff Decker of the San Diego Padres.  Today’s feature is part one of our two-part series on Jaff.  Coming up later this week, we will be bringing you my exclusive interview with Jaff Decker.  As part of the interview, Jaff talks baseball, including growing up and learning the game and his future in San Diego.  Keep an eye out, as I definitely enjoyed learning about Jaff and hearing about his story in his own words.  A must read for every baseball fan!

So why the excitement and hype surrounding Jaff Decker?  It is very simple.  While there are many prospects that play the game every year, there are few “special” ones that will leave an impact in the game.  Jaff Decker is one of those special players.  Born February 23rd, Jaff will be 22-years-of-age come opening day.  Drafted in the 1st round (42nd overall) by the Padres in 2008, San Diego uncovered a hidden gem in selecting Jaff.  Just take a look at the his numbers and you will be blown away.

Jaff played across two levels in his first professional season.  Playing between Rookie and Low-A Ball, Jaff put up an incredible .343 AVG, .513 OBP and .521 SLG.  He walked more than he struck out (57 to 41), and even stole 9 bases in 10 tries.  In 2009, Jaff moved to Fort Wayne (A-Ball) and continued his assault on minor league pitching.  He put up a .299 AVG, with a .442 OBP, .514 SLG and 16 home runs in only 104 games.  Jaff had close to a 1:1 walk-to-strikeout ratio (85/92).  The sky was limit at this point as most major baseball publications and analysts began to view Jaff as a can’t miss prospect.

2010 unfortunately was a difficult season for Jaff.  He moved to Lake Elsinore (High-A Ball).  Between injuries and slumps, Jaff started off the year very slowly and had a difficult time getting untracked.  He was able to salvage the year with a strong second half and still finished with 17 home runs in only 79 games.  He hit .262 with a strong .374 OBP and .500 SLG.  The walks and strikeouts though told a different story, as he walked only 47 times and struck out 80 times.  It appeared to me that he was pressing that year and was moving away from his usual patience approach.  I was looking forward to 2011 and to see what Jaff could do matched up against AA pitching.  I certainly was not disappointed.

Last season turned out to be Jaff’s best year in professional baseball.  The strong combination of power and patience displayed throughout his career continued to shine as he blossomed into one of the top slugging prospects in the game.  Playing a full season in AA, Jaff hit a career high 19 home runs, drove in 92 RBIs and scored 90 runs.  He stole 15 bases in 20 attempts, making him a viable 30/30 candidate in the future.  While his average was down to .237, the OBP remained a steady .373 to go along with a .417 SLG.  While Jaff has shown higher averages and OPS numbers in previous years, I feel that looking at his body of work as a whole, 2011 was the breakout year.  Jaff took 103 walks, while striking out 145 times.  So while his strikeouts should be cut down a bit, he was not pressing and went back to his patient ways.  A great sign of things to come.

When I think of comparables to Jaff Decker, I think of Adam Dunn and Nick Swisher.  Sluggers that hit a fair amount of home runs, take a ton of walks and get on base at high clip.  If Jaff stays on his current path, that is very good company to be in.  We should find out very soon, as I project Jaff Decker to likely make his major league debut sometime this year, with a full-time MLB job by 2013.  As he progresses to San Diego, Jaff will have new challenges to face.  A young developing team where he will be expected to become an offensive savior.  Ballpark dimensions that are not conducive to hitters.  A great deal of pressure on a young hitter.  But Jaff Decker appears to not only have the talent, but the right attitude and approach for his future role.  A smart young man who is well-mannered, he should fit in well in the laid back San Diego area.  For a team that has been looking for its next franchise player since the departure of Tony Gwynn, they made have indeed found him in Jaff Decker.  

Get to know Jaff Decker more intimately next week, as we feature my interview with the Padres prospect.  Stay tuned for part-two of our Jaff Decker series, coming up on MLB reports! 



Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)


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