by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Parker is a prospect who is often overlooked, which did make some sense entering the season. The Rockies appeared set in both corner outfield spots and also brought in Justin Morneau to man first base. Where exactly were the AB going to come from? Now Michael Cuddyer is out until August and Carlos Gonzalez is on he DL as well. Suddenly there’s an opportunity and the 2010 first round draft pick (26th overall) should get a shot to take it.
He has the ability to play the outfield, while also spelling Morneau at first against lefties. In other words, he could play the exact role Cuddyer does and is just 24-years old. With Cuddyer a free agent at the end of the season, Parker not only can gain the playing time this season but potentially cement a role in 2015 and beyond.
The thing that jumps out about Parker is his power potential. While he only had 7 HR in the Pacific Coast League (which obviously is disappointing), he had hit 21 doubles and 3 triples. He also had hit 20+ HR in each of his first three seasons in the minors, showing his potential.
Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 (click here for his Top 10 Rockies prospects) talked about the potential for even more from Parker. He said:
“He has massive raw power that is just starting to translate into in-game power. While his stat line shows 23 home runs in both 2013 and 2012, the raw power he shows in batting practice isn’t yet fully actualized. While batting practice is well, batting practice, it’s the best place to see a player’s flat raw power. Parker can hit balls out to right just as easy as he can to left. In fact, I saw him hit a 450 foot home run to right and it was done with a combination of wrist and lower body strength.”
That’s promising, especially playing in Coors Field. He may never be an elite hitter, but he does own a minor league career .293 average and has maintained a solid strikeout rate as he’s moved up in levels:
- 2012 – 18.8% (High-A)
- 2013 – 18.8% (Double-A)
- 2014 – 19.1% (Triple-A)
He does own a minor league career groundball rate of 46.5%. While that’s not a bad number, we’d like to see more than a 16.4% line drive rate from a player with little speed. It’s going to impact his ability to hit for a strong average, though .265ish certainly isn’t out of the question.
That would play just fine, especially with the power potential to go with it. He doesn’t have the same power that Brandon Moss has, but does anyone question Moss’ value from last season as he hit .256 with 30 HR?
There’s definitely a lot to like with Parker, so those in dynasty formats would be well served to grab him now before it’s too late. As for his production in 2014, that remains to be seen. He’s worth watching in yearly formats, but is hardly a must add at this point (unless you are desperate for power).
Sources – Minor League Central, Prospect 361, Baseball Reference, Fangraphs