When Nick Decker was in first or second grade, the class assignment was to write about a future profession.
“I wrote that I wanted to be a professional baseball player,” Decker said. “My teacher said I better come up with a back-up plan.”
Decker, a senior outfielder at Seneca High School, took a huge step toward realizing his lifelong goal Monday night when he was selected by the Boston Red Sox with the 64th overall pick in the MLB draft.
— MLB Draft (@MLBDraft) June 5, 2018
The 6-foot, 210-pound Decker said Tuesday morning that he had agreed to contract terms with the Red Sox, although some details needed to be worked out.
The slot value for the 64th overall pick was $1,010,500. It was the last $1 million-plus slot in the draft.
“I just can’t believe how blessed I am,” said Decker, whose Seneca team was scheduled to play Allentown in the Group 3 state semifinals on Tuesday afternoon. “I thank God every day for this opportunity.”
Decker said he watched the draft with his family and close friends along with his long-time coach, Guy Lynam, who runs the All-Out travel baseball organization.
He said he got a call from one of his advisers just before the pick.
“He asked me if I would be willing to make a deal with the Red Sox,” Decker said. “I had a minute. It felt like 10 seconds.”
Decker is a two-time, first-team all-South Jersey selection by the South Jersey Baseball Coaches Association.
This season, he was batting .492 entering Tuesday afternoon’s Group 3 state semifinal vs. Allentown with seven home runs, five doubles, 24 RBIs and 30 runs.
He also had walked 34 times, as teams regularly pitched around him.
“He’s a college-level hitter playing against high school players,” Ocean City coach Andrew Bristol said after his top-seeded team walked Decker three times in a 4-1 loss to Seneca in the South Jersey Group 3 semifinals.
Decker also is a top pitcher, although he threw limited innings this season. But his arm strength was a factor in his draft status, since he projects as a possible right-fielder.
Decker had committed to attend the University of Maryland on a baseball scholarship. Once he signs, he will begin his professional career as a member of one of the sport’s most fabled organizations.
Decker said he has played in Fenway Park the last two summers in the Area Code games, a showcase circuit for the country’s top prospects.
“To walk out the tunnel into Fenway Park, it felt like a movie,” Decker said. “To step in the same batters box as Ted Willianms, play on the same field as Babe Ruth, it didn’t feel real.”
Decker said he “never had any hate” for the Red Sox but wasn’t a fan of the team as a youngster.
“I love them now,” Decker said.
Seneca LHP Nick Decker had 10 strikeouts in a 6-0 SJ Group 3 title win over Cherry Hill West. Decker and coach Jay Donoghue react to the win pic.twitter.com/Cmvo7DRL6C
— Marc Narducci (@sjnard) June 2, 2018