Sunday, September 27, 2015

Who Is Jarrett Parker?

I first became aware of Jarrett Parker in the 2009-2010 offseason when I first started this blog.  I was doing write ups on the upcoming draft and Parker was one of several "5-tool" college OF's who seemed like players the Giants might draft with their #24 overall first round pick.  His junior season was terrific with a slash line of .355/.451/.664 with 16 HR and 20 SB. Just what the doctor ordered for the homegrown OF starved Giants!  The only problem was it did not seem like Parker was likely to be still available at pick #24!  His junior season line of .333/.428/.593 with 10 HR and 12 SB was nothing to be ashamed of, but it was disappointing in comparison to expectations and his stock slipped.  The Giants ended up taking Gary Brown in the first round, but when Parker slipped all the way to them in round 2, they grabbed him.

Even though Parker did not play in any pro games in 2010, the Giants gave him a aggressive assignment to High A San Jose for 2011.  While his BA of .253 was disappointing, he had an OBP of .360 and hit 13 HR's with 20 SB's.  I was a bit surprised that the Giants had him repeat High A in 2012.  His .247 BA was lower than the previous season, but he made up for that with an improved OBP at .366 and a big improvement in power with a SLG% of .443, 15 HR's and 28 SB's.  On the downside, his K rate soared to 35.6%.

He was finally promoted to AA in 2013.  The Eastern League is historically tough on Giants hitting prospect(at least until Matt Duffy beat it into submission), and expectations for Parker at this point were fairly low.  He responded by putting up almost exactly the same line as in San Jose, .245/.355/.430, 18 HR, 13 SB with an 11.7 BB% and a 30.7 K%.  I thought that might be good enough to get him to Fresno in 2014, but the Giants sent him back to Richmond where he improved to .275/.370/.463, 12 HR, 11 SB, 10.1 BB%, 24.6 K% in 419 PA's.  He was called up to the SF Giants the same day Matt Duffy got his call, but did not appear in any games and was sent on to Fresno where he put up a line of .278/.360/.456, 3 HR, 10.1 BB%, 25.8 K% in 89 PA's.

The Giants moved their AAA team to Sacramento and Parker put up the best line of his pro career in 2015, .283/.376/.514, 23 HR, 20 SB, 12.3 BB%, 32.5 K% in 501 PA's.  He got a brief callup in June in which he went 0 for 9 with 5 K's.  The Giants then initially left him out of the September callups until Gregor Blanco suffered a concussion.  Jarrett says he was tentative in that June callup and he resolved that if he ever got another chance, he would not hold anything back.  He showed that aggressiveness in several pinch-hit AB's that resulted in a couple of HR's and a double that would have been out of any park not named AT&T.  Then, yesterday happened.  First rookie in the entire history of the franchise to hit 3 HR's in one game.  First Giant since Willie Mays' 4-HR game to hit at least 3 HR's and drive in 7+ runs.  First MLB rookie to hit 3 HR's in a game since Andrew McCutchen.

So, what can we expect from Jarrett Parker in the future?  The K's are worrisome, but I think it is likely he would settle into a .250/.350/.450 line, similar to his minor league track record, and a .800 OPS from an OF these days is nothing to turn your nose up at.  But, he does not have a guaranteed roster spot for next season.  The Giants already have Hunter Pence, Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco under contract for 2016.  Marlon Byrd's option is almost certainly going to vest and the Giants would probably pick it up even if it didn't.  Nori Aoki has a team-friendly option of $5 M.  They also have Alejandro De Aza who will be a relatively low cost FA.  That's 6 veterans who are in play for 5 OF roster spots already.  With all that, though, while yesterday will likely be the best game of Jarrett Parker's career, he did have a very good season for Sacramento and it does not seem like there is much point in sending him back there again.  His performance this month has to have the Giants taking another look at their offseason game plan.

The Giants have historically heavily favored veteran option over rookies, but that may be changing as rookies like Joe Panik, Matt Duffy and Kelby Tomlinson have outperformed veteran options.  If the Giants were to bid some veterans goodbye and turn LF over to Parker in 2016, they would still have terrific insurance in Mac Williamson who should be ready by no later than June and if Big Mac didn't work out, Austin Slater could almost certainly play LF by mid-season.  The Giants have some big decisions to make very quickly after the season ends.  Jarrett Parker just put himself into an unexpectedly big role in that decisionmaking!


  1. Thanks Dr. B., I fully appreciate all that you do! Good work!

  2. Parker can slot nicely into Blanco's spot as a lefty who can play all OF spots and pinch run. Hopefully he can keep his K's low enough to match Blanco's offensive output.

    With Pagan's history I don't see a problem with keeping two of those vets and having a deep OF in Sac.

    More likely I think they re-sign one, and have a nice ST battle among the kids for the 5th spot.

    I like Perez as the 5th OF, with Parker or Williamson getting the callup (and starts) if there's an injury.

    1. Perez? Wow! You and I are definitely not thinking along the same lines on that one!

    2. I figure the 5th OF will be limited to pinch running and defensive subs. If someone gets hurt for an extended period, one of Williamson/Parker will come up to get the real playing time.

  3. A couple more points on Jarrett Parker:

    1. Sabes has said in the past that he believes a hitter needs at least 1500 minor league AB's to be ready to play in the majors. Parker has 2200, so it seems like he is past ready.

    2. If you compare Parker's batting stance and swing with when he was in college and the lower minors, it looks similar, but there are subtle differences. He is in more of a crouch now with a lower center of gravity. He is leaning slightly forward now instead of slightly back. He has a much more stable looking base under him now. In addition, it looks like he is about 2 inches farther off the plate which gives him some room on the inside corner with his long arms still allowing him to cover the outer half of the plate. This is something I've been begging Brandon Belt to do for years now.

  4. Seems to me a big question for the spring is whether Parker can play a serviceable CF. If so, it increases the odds of him making the roster considerably.

    1. I guess it depends on your definition of serviceable, but yes, I think he could play it in a pinch.

  5. I figured I'd post here, although this goes to several of your posts.

    On Parker, you note 5 OFs. That means (I think) either we only have one reserve IF or you're going with 12 pitchers. They obviously went with a 13 man rotation this year but there were some good reasons for that. Do you think we're doing that again? If so, that seems pretty risky to me that they would only go with Kelby as the IF. I would think it would make more sense to have him and EA, and give Kelby some reps in the OF.

    In terms of Byrd, has his option vested? Honestly, if not, I'd rather have Parker over him given Byrd's age. $8mm seems a lot for a guy nearing 40. Not saying Parker takes his spot, but I'd be ok with that and move to a younger OF. Sign a big time LF, and keep Blanco and Parker. While you'd be giving up some vet experience, I think they can now see the positives of youth infusion.

    In terms of pen, assuming you're thinking a 12 man, who ya thinking? Presumably Romo, Casilla, and Lopez are your vets. Osich and Strickland are your next two. Kontos has looked very good. So if you're going with 7, don't you need a long man? Or is your thought maybe move Heston (or Blackburn) to that position to get another starter ala this year.

    In terms of your ratings, I wonder a bit about Okert. I may be wrong, but I thought he got hammered early and then he seemed really good the rest of the way. If that is right, I'm not sure I'd say his stock went down, even though he got passed up and would think he's next in line to take over Lopez (that will be a great young pen with Osich, Okert and Strickland). There are a bunch of guys ready to take Casilla's and Romo's spots too.

    FINALLY, been thinking the Belt issue. I like the idea of trading him a lot. Move Posey to first, let Susac catch and see what Sanchez and Brown can do. Garcia is also moving up quickly. I like Belt, but he's been injury prone and even this year when he was healthy he was hardly "break out". I would think there are some teams we could extract a good OF candidate.

    Best, and from the concrete hell of LA, thanks for a great year.

    1. I am assuming the 13 pitchers was an aberration due to injuries and difficulties with getting some of the veteran pitchers past 5 innings. The "standard" roster is 5 reserves divided between 2 OF's 2 IF's and a catcher.

      I don't think Byrd's option has vested, but the Giants are giving every indication that it will. The only way it won't is if they sit him only to prevent it from vesting and the Giants hate doing things like that to their players. So, my assumption is that it is going to vest.

      Bullpen will likely be Casilla back at closer with Romo, Lopez, Strickland, Kontos, Osich and Petit back as the long man.

      Okert did improve in the second half of the season, but go look up his bio page on, then look at his last 10 games and tell me if you would call that "really good."

      I was thinking more of a cost controlled pitcher of pitching prospect for Belt, but maybe a young OF would be good too. It just seems like they are already crowded in the OF with Mac on the way.

    2. In a completely non-hostile way, I'm actually interested in what you have to say. So:

      If you're going to trade Belt, how about some specifics? Because my experience of fan trades is that they're are almost always bad. They're almost always some combination of creating holes (like who is going to play catcher?) that need to be filled and aren't addressed, completely unrealistic (by over-valuing current players and under-valuing trade targets (practically scrubs for All-Stars)) and, over-all, weakens the team.

      So, to me, when you trade Belt you're doing a number of things and have to deal with the market and the ramifications of the trade:

      1. You're giving up the best catcher in baseball. His pitch framing, not in WAR, could be adding 3-to-4 hidden WAR (538 Sports).
      2. You're creating a FA/Trade need as there is, realistically, nobody on the Giants to replace him. Sanchez just isn't it. Susac is still a crap-shoot.
      3. You're giving up the 5th best 1B in MLB (including the best defensive 1B in MLB).
      4. You're giving up the #30 WAR player in MLB.
      5. Having had back-to-back concussion years, teams may shy away from Belt, making it very hard to get equal/good value.

      So, you need to replace a guy that, despite being sat to play Posey 25 times this year, still generated enough WAR to rank 30th in MLB before he got his noggin thumped and ended up with another concussion. You're also losing Posey's 3-to-4 hidden WAR because WAR doesn't include pitch framing.

      So, by my count you're going to need to get 7 WAR from Belt's trade (3 for the lost pitch-framing, 4 for Belt himself, moving Posey will be an offensive WAR wash). Which means you're going to have to gamble on high-quality prospects that may, or may not, pan out. Or dip into the expensive FA pool and bust your budget and, possibly, lose other players.

      In my book it's easy to say 'trade so-and-so.' But having been a Giants, 49ers and Warriors fan for decades and decades... I'm not a big fan of trades. It always seems like whatever team I root for ends up on the short-end of the stick.

    3. Sorry you wasted all that typing, but it was more idle chatter than anything.

    4. I was sort of thinking about a post over on MCC of a proposed trade for Sonny Gray. If Belt and maybe a couple of pitching prospects would get you back a pitcher of that caliber who still has 4 years of cost control, I think you'd have to think about it. Unlikely you could land a pitcher like that, but hey, the Braves got Shelby Miller for Jason Heyward.

      PS: I'd want to know more about what's wrong with Sonny Gray's hip before I'd trade Brandon Belt and some prospects for him.

    5. It wasn't a waste of time. It was a good process to go through to be more formalized with in my thought-processes about the 'trade so-and-so' thing that fans do. I've seen it a lot, but in all the years never really put it down in even the briefest detail.

      Truth is, it's just not easy. I went and looked at catchers that might be half-way decent Posey replacements and I really couldn't find any that have his skill set that would be interested in a player-for-player trade so, at best, it'd probably a 3-way player swap.

      It's just not easy to go all 'Captain Picard' and "Make it so."

    6. I was thinking of a 3 catcher roster with Susac, Brown and Posey with Posey playing at least 2/3 of his games at 1B. He does hit better when he isn't in the squaaaaat everyday.

  6. I remember the excitement when John Bowker first came up so I am going to reserve too much about the future until later but this has been an incredible week for the kid. Saw a stat today where he has hit .500 off fastballs and .167 off all other pitches so my guess is that he will start to get a steadier diet of those now. Same article also seems to hint that the Giants still like Mac a lot, and I am thinking probably more overall.

    Interesting wrinkle for sure but got a ways to play out.

    Billy Baseball

    1. Parker managed to handle some offspeed stuff today. No dingers, but some nice basehits to keep the line moving.

  7. Is Parker's HR binge any more impressive then Heston's No-No? I think not. As Heston has learned, you have to show up over a full 162 game season. Parker has a lot to disprove, namely a K rate hovering around 30% - that's unlikely to drop at the MLB level. Yes, some players do elevate their game when they step up to homeplate in the majors. But the odds don't favor Parker over a full year and over vets like Aoki, Byrd, Blanco, de Aza who have proven they can put the ball in play.

    Let Parker start out next year in AAA and earn it.

    1. Whoa, whoa whoa! Who compared Parker's HR binge to Heston's no-hitter? Apples and oranges there, buddy! How many no-hitters have been pitched by rookies? How many rookies have hit 3 dingers in a game? Yeah, Heston's no-hitter was impressive, but that takes nothing away from what Parker did yesterday.

      Look, I know all about samples sizes so don't act like I've never heard of a flash in the pan, or didn't live through John Bowker, Dave Kingman, Dirty Al Gallagher, Bobby Etheridge and a whole host of others. Parker obviously still has work to do to establish himself. The K rates are an issue, but you might want to check out the K rates of some very highly rated prospects who have made very successful transitions. Parker has put in his 1500+ minor league AB's and had a really good season for Sacramento and now this. What else does he have to do to "earn" it in your eyes? How does he ever get to establish himself if he keeps getting sent back there? Like I said in the post, it's not like the Giants would be cutting off all other options if they commit to giving Parker a roster spot. They would still have 4 other veteran OF's plus Big Mac waiting in the wings in Sacramento.

    2. PS: Bet you'd never heard of Bobby Etheridge before!

    3. Speaking of Bobby Etheridge, his bio page on Baseball Reference says he died just a few days ago on Sept 19, 2015 in Mississippi at the age of 72. I remember clearly when he arrived in the majors in 1967. Hit close to .400 for his first week. Ended up hitting .228. He played some in 1969 and hit .260. RIP.