Manny Parra was a pitcher that many thought could enjoy huge success in 2009. He had shown flashes the previous season going 10-8 with a 4.39 ERA, but the underlying numbers pushed people to breakout aspirations. How many pitchers post flyball rates of 26.6% (in 2009, the answer is just three)? However, what Parra posted last season was far from a breakout. In fact, the numbers he posted were an abomination:
116 Strikeouts (7.46 K/9)
77 Walks (4.95 BB/9)
Yes, he suffered from tremendous bad luck, with the BABIP (then again, he did have a .337 BABIP in 2008) and a strand rate of 64.7%, numbers that you have to expect him to rebound from in 2010. That instantly makes him a bounce back candidate and a sleeper in all formats, but exactly how far can he come?
His control was terrible in 2009, something that he has struggled with during his entire major league career. Over 322.2 innings he has walked 158 batters, good for a BB/9 of 4.4. While working his way through the Brewers system, he was significantly better, posting a BB/9 of 2.6 over 564.0 innings of work.
Before we get overly excited, the majority of those innings were pitched at Double-A or lower. Over just 50.2 innings pitching at Triple-A (between 2007 & 2009), he walked 20 batters, a BB/9 of 3.6. That’s better then what he’s done in the major leagues, but also is not close to his success at the lower levels.
If he is going to struggle with his control, he is going to never fulfill the potential many people believe he possesses.
The flyball rate from 2008, which many people point to as his calling card, is also a little bit skewed. Over his minor league career he posted a 28.6% rate. However, in 2007 when he split time between Double & Triple-A, his flyball rate was at 31.8% (40.6% at Triple-A).
With that type of performance, it is nearly impossible to anticipate him being able to maintain such a miniscule rate. With more flyballs will likely come more home runs. More home runs mean more runs allowed. More runs allowed mean his ERA is likely going to suffer.
Parra has shown a decreasing strikeout rate. In the minor leagues he struck out 8.6 batters per nine innings, which fell to 7.97 in 2008, his first full season in the major leagues. That number took another step back last season, so you have to begin to wonder how good of a strikeout pitcher he can be.
During his short stints at Triple-A, he did post a 7.89 strikeout per nine innings, so there is hope that he can rebound from his struggles last season. While it isn’t going to be a huge jump, the ability to get a swing and miss a little more often will certainly make a difference, especially with some improved luck.
Let’s take a look at my early projection for him:
165.0 IP, 11 W, 4.64 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 140 K (7.64 K/9), 75 BB (4.09 BB/9)
Is it an improvement over his 2009 numbers? Absolutely. The BABIP I have him at is .316, so that fulfills his better luck, but the numbers are still pretty ugly. The bottom line is, if he cannot get his control in line, he is not going to fully break out.
We’ll revisit this in the coming weeks to see if things change, but what are your thoughts on Parra? Am I being overly negative? Do you see him performing significantly better then this?
To read the previous article, click here.