Many people thought Jarrod Parker would have a successful rookie campaign, but no one expected him to be as successful as he was. Just look at his line from 2012:
140 Strikeouts (6.95 K/9)
63 Walks (3.13 BB/9)
74.3% Strand Rate
On the surface it doesn’t appear like luck played a role, though you have to take into account a 25.6% line drive rate. Among pitchers who qualified for the ERA title, that was the worst mark in the league. Yet, the BABIP looks reasonable…
When we look at his home/road split things start to become a little clearer:
- Home – 2.61 ERA, 1.18 WHIP
- Road – 4.54 ERA, 1.36 WHIP
The line drive rate was equally bad at home (25.5%) as compared to the road (25.7%), so we have to turn our attention to the luck numbers. At home he posted a .281 BABIP and 80.4% strand rate, while on the road he was at .301 and 67.9%. Given the line drive rate, which one do you give more credence to?
While he showed more strikeout potential prior to missing the 2010 season due to Tommy John surgery, at Triple-A in 2011 he posted a 7.71 K/9. Couple that with the move to the American League and last year’s number was highly believable.
In regards to his control, you could easily argue that it was better then expected and easily could regress. At Triple-A he posted a 3.79 BB/9, though still was at 3.24 for his minor league career. Part of it simply may have been working his way back on the mound, which is entirely fair. He also was significantly better after the All-Star Break (2.06), then before it (4.34). Given his Triple-A mark (despite the time off), it is easy to guess which is likely closer to the truth. Do not be surprised if things do take at least a small downturn in hs control (and therefore his WHIP as well).
Obviously, pitching in the friendly confines of Oakland is going to help any pitcher but unless Parker can reduce the quality of contact he gives up there is no chance he comes close to matching last seasons’s numbers. While he does have decent strikeout ability, his control will likely regress making things that much more difficult.
He is young and therefore appealing on the surface, but now may be the best time to cash in on him. His value may never be higher and other owners are salivating over last seasons’s success and the prospect of another step forward. Unfortunately, chances are he takes a few steps back in 2013.
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