NEW YORK -- Jaff Decker entered the 2008 Draft as both a power hitter and a hard-throwing pitcher in June. After 46 games in the Arizona League this summer, it appears there's now more of a focus on the former.
Decker was named the league's Most Valuable Player after batting .355 with five homers, a league-leading 50 runs scored and 34 RBIs on Thursday when AZL president Bob Richmond released the 2008 All-Star roster.
Decker, the 42nd overall pick in June by the San Diego Padres, got his feet wet in pro ball right in his backyard. The 18-year-old was drafted out of Sunrise Mountain High School in Peoria, Ariz., which is also home to the Padres' AZL club. The southpaw left high school with a 93-mph fastball, but the Padres grabbed him as a slugger.
"He might have had the best swing in the Draft for high school players," Padres scouting director Bill Gayton told The San Diego Union-Tribune. "He's got a great swing. He's strong, and he's shown the ability to make adjustments."
Decker, an outfielder, was one of three Padres prospect named to the All-Star squad.
Tempe skipper Tyrone Boykin was named Manager of the Year after leading the Angels to a first-half division title and a 16-10 record in the second half.
First baseman Franklin Hernandez (Phoenix Athletics), second baseman Deivy Batista (Surprise Royals), third basemen Terrell Alliman (Tempe) and Jharmidy DeJesus (Peoria Mariners), shortstop Marcelino Leyja (Phoenix) and catcher Robert Lara (Peoria Padres) made up the All-Star team's infield.
Alliman ranked fourth in the league with 38 RBIs and Lara ranked third with a .344 average.
Jericho Jones (Mesa Cubs) and Alexi Amarista (Tempe) joined Decker as All-Star outfielders. Jones is tied with Decker for eighth in the league with 54 hits.
Mesa's John Contreras, who led the circuit with nine homers, was selected as the top designated hitter.
Tempe's Manuel Flores was named the top left-handed starting pitcher and the Padres' Stiven Osuna took right-handed honors. Osuna went 7-2 with a 2.26 ERA and leads the league in wins.
Julio Ramos (Phoenix) was chosen as the top southpaw reliever and Cody Eppley (Arizona Rangers) as the best right-hander reliever. Ramos' 1.41 ERA is third-lowest in the league.