The Twins had an obvious need in the bullpen, so the addition of Blake Parker made sense. Surprisingly non-tendered by the Angels he offers a low cost potential solution to the back of the Minnesota bullpen…
Or does he? While Parker did post a solid 3.26 ERA over 66.1 innings for Los Angeles, all of his key underlying numbers took a step backwards from 2017:
His pitch usage was relatively static, primarily throwing his fourseam fastball (57.42%) and split-finger fastball (31.15%). However the velocity on his fastball was down, going from 94.04 mph to 92.78 mph last season. That had a significant impact on his pitches, as his split-finger fastball wasn’t playing up as well:
- Whiff% – 25.22% to 20.45%
- Groundballs per BIP – 55.56% to 45.83%
Opposing hitters also tattooed his fastball, hitting .314 with 10 HR against the pitch (in 2017 they hit .174). None of that sounds promising, and when you throw in his 89.4% strand rate, 37.5% Hard% and .297 BABIP it all points towards a significant regression.
You could argue that the key to Parker continuing his success is going to be rediscovering his velocity, but keep in mind that it was actually 2017 that appears to have been the aberration. It’s actually the only year that he’s appeared in the Majors and carried an average velocity greater than 92.88 mph on his fourseam fastball.
So without the strikeout potential and with the risk of home run issues continuing, is he really a good bet to thrive as the team’s closer? Addison Reed, Trevor Hildenberger and Trevor May are just a few of the names who seem like better fits for closing duties. In other words, don’t get excited by the signing.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
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