Oakland Athletics: Top Prospect Jarrod Parker to Make A's Debut on Wednesday
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It looked as though the 23-year-old might break camp with the A’s as part of their starting rotation, but issues with his fastball command in his final spring start (3.2 IP, 7 BB, 0 K) prompted an assignment to Triple-A to begin the season.
Featured earlier today in my roundup of the hottest minor league pitchers, Parker has enjoyed a strong start to the Triple-A season.
In four starts spanning 20.2 innings, Parker registered a 2.18 ERA and 3.30 FIP while striking out 21 and walking only six. The right-hander also posted a 2.17 GB/FB rate, though that will be much less important in the spacious Oakland Coliseum.
Selected in the first round of the 2007 draft out of Norwell High School in Indiana, Parker missed the entire 2010 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. However, he regained his form over the course of the 2011 season and ultimately finished 11-8 with a 3.79 ERA and 7.7 K/9 over 131 innings at Double-A Mobile.
Parker has a classic mix of fastball, breaking ball and changeup, all of which grade as at least solid-to-average offerings. His fastball can touch 96 mph, but he typically works in the 91-95 mph range with his four-seamer. He throws a heavy sinker about two ticks off the four-seamer, but it digs well and prompts swings-and-misses.
Parker’s bender is a slider in the mid-80s with tight break and solid command. His change lags behind, but it’s going to be an above-average offering for him and is definitely a pitch that will play in Oakland to both sides of the plate.
Barring an unexpected injury or general ineffectiveness, Parker should hold a spot in the A’s rotation for the remainder of the season. His performance at Triple-A reassured the organization that there are no overly concerning issues with his command, and that he’s ready for his first full season in the Show. One of my favorite prospects to watch—probably because I love his arm action and mechanics—Parker has the potential for an impressive rookie season.
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