Sunday, November 17, 2013

Down on the Farm: AFL Wrap- Jarrett Parker

Jarrett Parker has been the forgotten man from the 2010 draft.  Taken in the 2'nd round out of Virginia, he was a highly rated 5 tool prospect going into his junior season, but saw his stock slip after a so-so junior performance.  Until last year, his stock in the Giants organization took a backseat to 2010 first rounder Gary Brown who seemed to be on the fast track to being the Giants CF of the future.  That gap may have narrowed as Parker fared surprisingly well in the tough AA Eastern League while Brown faltered in the usually more hitter friendly AAA Pacific Coast League.

Parker had his AA effort rewarded with a trip to the Arizona Fall League and did OK for himself putting up a .300/.366/.333 line in 60 AB.  He also drew 8 walks against 19 K's.  His only XBH was a triple in his next-to-last game of the AFL season.  Here are Jarrett Parker's stat lines for his first 3 professional seasons:

2011  High A  .253/.360/.397, 13 HR, 20 SB, 74 BB, 144 K in 486 AB.
2012  High A  .247/.366/.443, 15 HR, 28 SB, 70 BB, 175 K in 409 AB.
2013  AA        .245/.355/.430, l8 HR, 13 SB, 60 BB, 161 K in 444 AB.

Notice how similar those 3 lines are regardless of level, experience at the level and environment.  He has been a 3 true outcomes guy all along:  He either homer, walks or strikes out in a large percentage of his PA's.

I'll just take a wild guess and say that the Giants requested that he work on hitting for average in the AFL and he sacrificed some power to do it.  Either that, or he set that as his own goal without the Giants telling him.  Or, it may be just a case a small sample size producing some strange batting lines.

Where does this leave Parker in the organization?  He should be assigned to AAA Fresno where he will start the season even-steven with Gary Brown with a chance to earn a callup in-season if a need should arise with the MLB club.


  1. He's been forgotten because he hasn't really done much of anything in the minors. Kind of reminds me of Dan Ortmeier's OPS, HR and SB, and I think he is much better at getting walks than Ortmeier ever was, though he also strikes out a heck of a lot more.

    I think his AFL BA was more random luck. Look at the K's, that's roughly 32% K-rate per AB, that is a horrible contact rate, and that makes his BABIP somewhere in the 400's, which is unsustainable over a season at most levels. I would be more scared that his power disappeared against good competition and if it weren't for his high BABIP, his numbers in the AFL would be scary bad.

    1. Ortmeier had a BB% of 8.7 and a K rate of 19%. Parker has BB% of 12.8% and a K rate of 30%.

      Some factors to consider:

      1. The deeper a hitter tends to go into counts, the more they will strike out. You have to get to 2 strikes before you get to 3!

      2. The tremendous increase, or even a spike if you will, in velocity of pitches and in general K rates throughout baseball.

      I'm not saying Parker is a top prospect here. I am saying, though, that I would take his 3 true outcomes over Gary Brown's BB% of 5.4 with a K% of 22.2 or Frankie Pegs BB% of 4.5 with a K% of 17.8 and no power.

      Maybe that is damning him with faint praise, but If the Giants need a midseason OF callup, I think there is a good chance he will be first in line, unless Mac Williamson tears up the EL and bypasses everybody on the depth chart, which could happen.

    2. BTW, Parker tied with Adam Duvall for the 13'th highest OPS in the EL last year. That's just a bit better than "not much of anything."

    3. And one more thing: We try to focus on what prospects do well as opposed to what they do poorly here on When the Giants Come to Town.

    4. And since were are looking for comps here, here is a list of all MLB players with more than 500 PA's who had K rates greater than 25% last year:

      Chris Carter .223/.320/.451, 29 HR, 12% BB, 36.2% K
      Mike Napoli .259/.360/.482, 23 HR, 12.6% BB, 32.4% K.
      Dan Uggla .179/.309/.362, 22 HR, 14.3% BB, 31.8% K
      Adam Dunn .219/.320/.442, 34 HR, 12.5% BB, 31.1% K
      Mark Reynolds .220/.306/.393, 21 HR, 10.1% BB, 30.6 K
      Pedro Alvarez .233/.296/.473, 36 HR, 7.8% BB, 30.3% K.
      Chris Davis .286/.370/.634, 53 HR, 10.7% BB, 29.6% K.
      Giancarlo Stanton .249/.365/.480, 24 HR, 14.7 % BB, 27.8% K.
      Brandon Moss .256/.337/.522, 30 HR, 9.9% BB, 27.7% K
      Mark Trumbo .234/.294/.453, 34 HR, 8% BB, 27.1% K
      Jay Bruce .262/.329/.478, 30 HR, 9% BB, 26.5% K

      Notice that they all have high BB%, almost all have low BA's, and almost all are terrible fielders. The ones who are good fielders posted impressive fWAR scores. Notice also that the guy whose numbers are closest to Parker's AA numbers is Mike Napoli who earned a 3.9 fWAR in spite of negative fielding numbers.

      I don't know if Jarrett Parker can carry his minor league averages to the majors or not, but if he can, he would be a valuable player especially when you add in his + D from the OF.

  2. Interesting perspective about Parker's performance. The deeper you go, the more he is looking legit to have an opportunity with the Giants. I had written him off as the minor league career guy. MacW is the guy I have put my bet on.

    Richard in Winnipeg.

    1. Mac has yet to face the rigors of AA, and I'm always reluctant to get too excited about a hitting prospect until I see what they to in Richmond, but yeah, based on what we've seen so far, he is the guy who may break the drought of homegrown OF's.

  3. Can he be a serviceable centerfielder or is he strictly a corner outfielder now?

    1. Probably corner, but he wouldn't embarrass himself in CF, IMO.

  4. At the risk of some scorn from stat heads I will say that Parker has the knack for the "clutch" big game. He tends to hit his HRs in bunches, and they generally come at important times. He played out of his mind for the SJ playoffs for example.

    I'm not a huge believer, I don't like his stance much, his arms seem way too scrunched up high and tight. He has a bizarre baserunning technique where he's lining his arm up with the pitcher and squatting. Just looks a tad strange out there.

    Still, if he can keep grinding away, he has a glove, pop and an eye at the plate. Stranger things have happened. But that contact rate is a big thing to overcome, even if he's going all 3 true outcomes. He kept his ISO way up, 185 in the Big Bad Eastern? I'll take that. He has always had a high BABIP, some guys do. He was thrown out 11 times last year, a pretty big adjustment from his successes in the CA league in that department. One thing to note: he didn't have much power success versus lefties, nor OBP. BA stayed the same.

    One note about that K% - he had a 3.24 KS/KL ratio last year, up from 2.6 and 2.5 in the CA. Something to watch, if he's getting beat that regular it might be pitch recognition issues.

    1. He has his warts, that's for sure. All I'm saying here is don't be quick to write him of just because of his relatively low BA's and his K rates. There are MLB hitters who make the 3 true outcomes thing work.

    2. Not accusing you here, Shankbone, but one thing that never fails to just drive me up a wall is people who complain endlessly about low walk rates and "hackers", but then turn around and go "Oh my God, we can't have that!" when they wake up and discover that the guy who is selective and drawing a ton of walks also strikes out a lot. You can't have it both ways! At lease you can't have it both ways very often.

      I'll say it again. You have to get to two strikes before you get to strike 3! Selective hitters who let strikes go by that are out of their hot zone are going to get to 2 strikes a whole lot more often than hitters who are swinging at the first hittable pitch. It's just simple, basic math!

      There are very rare hitters who can draw a lot of walks without striking out. To their credit, the Giants seem to be seeking those players out in recent years. On the other hand, their is a price to pay for everything. Selective hitters who don't K a lot may be going into extreme plate protection mode when they get to 2 strikes and sacrificing power.

    3. sorry for the couple of misspells in there. I don't think there is any way to correct it in the comments and I'm not going to delete the comment and start over.

    4. You got it, I'm not offended at all. But I'm warning you that your selective hitter argument with specific regards to Parker might be at fault, because he's swinging and missing at that third strike at a big rate. I love hackers, I love 3 true outcome guys. I love good hitters more of course. And contact rates are linked to BA big time. I'll take the flaws if there are positive results, but we also have to analyze what is working and what's not. This contact rate thing is a huge thing to overcome.

      I've been pretty consistent about my praise and fault finding with Parker. Like you said, he has warts. He reminds me of the guys we had a few years ago that fans got all frothy about, and then insisted the Giants were somehow ruining them. Nope, they are guys further down the draft who face steep odds. Chances are that Parker is a AAAA special type guy, but there's only one way to find out. I'd point out that I have consistently said I don't like his swing, and I don't think it will play at the highest level. So it goes...

    5. HIs batting stance and swing is very awkward that's for sure.

      One reason why a hitter might swing and miss more often at strike 3 is that pitchers don't have to throw it over the plate unless it's 3-2. If the hitter is not in plate protection mode and still trying to hit it out, yet, not wanting to take strike 3, it can lead to more swinging strikes on for strike 3.

      He might be able to fix this problem by swinging at strikes earlier in the count but then his walk rate would drop.

  5. Parker is definitely the forgotten man from that 2010 draft. He is consistent though, and seems to be the kind of player who does a little bit of everything, with no skill really standing out above the rest. He did receive some praise this fall for his defense in CF. The other day, either in a post or a comment, I made the statement that Parker may be a "poor man's Hunter Pence," without the batting average. After looking over Pence's minor league numbers, I completely take that back. The Rev was an absolute beast in the minors (that was before my time following the farm). But, I still think Parker's performance over the last couple seasons is enough to get a few people looking, and probably why he was assigned to the AFL. Higher draft picks generally seem to get more chances, so I don't see why he won't at least get some kind of a look as a 4th OF-type if he has a decent season in Fresno. The Giants need somebody to step up out there.