A Parra Nines

Gerardo Parra has been identified as an up and coming prospect in the Arizona Diamondbacks minor league organization for quite some time. He has caught the eye not only of the Diamondbacks staff but all of baseball. Whenever the team attempted to broker a trade the other team invariably asked about Parra’s availability. To their credit the Diamondbacks have made Gerardo nearly untouchable instead allowing him to work his way through the various levels of minor league baseball. Parra has been a tireless worker at each level he has played. He has taken to heart the suggestions that coaches have given him and worked on the various aspects of his game. While he had always been a good hitter, sometime in the last year or so everything started to click for him.


The results have been astounding as Parra went from a quality outfield to a potential star in the making. With his new successes Parra received many mentions and accolades including being name to all-star teams and being the Diamondbacks representative in the Futures Game during the All-Star break. It didn’t stop there though. After a successful winter season for his native Venezuela Gerardo was asked to play for the Venezuelan national team during this past World Baseball Classic. That is quite an honor given the rich baseball heritage of that country and the fact that Gerardo did not yet have a single Major League Baseball at bat.

When Conor Jackson went on the disabled list with his mystery illness and with Chris Young and Eric Byrnes both struggling at the plate it seemed inevitable that the Diamondbacks would reach down to the Double-A affiliate and pull up Gerardo Parra to perhaps act as a spark plug to a sputtering offense. Since being called up Gerardo has made his presence known in the line-up. In his first 3 games he has gone 5-13 including a home run in his first at bat. He has 3 extra base hits in his first five and has an on base percentage of .429 which leads the team. Granted this is a very small sample size but does give you an indication as to the type of player that Gerardo Parra can become. This early success of course has everyone talking about why he was not brought up earlier and whether his bat will act as the spark that the Diamondbacks have been missing.

I agree Gerardo Parra has gotten off to a fast start and I hope he is able to sustain that but I think the prudent fan will take a step back and remember 2007 when the Diamondbacks tried something similar with a young third baseman that was brought up from Double-A during the season. At that point Mark Reynolds came up and tore through National League pitching his first few games and everyone then talked about how he would be a mainstay in the line-up and how the Diamondbacks had finally found the power hitter they lacked. Reynolds followed up his hot streak with one that was about as cold as you could get without actually getting frost bite. He followed that magical 2007 season with one in 2008 where he led the league in errors and strikeouts. I am not suggesting that Parra will do the same I am merely stating that 3 games and 13 at bats may be a little premature to be crowning him as the savior to the Diamondbacks. The bigger question will be what will happen to Gerardo Parra when major league pitchers begin to make adjustments (and they will). Can he quickly adjust himself to overcome falling into a prolonged slump or will he be like the other young players the Diamondbacks currently have on their roster who are mired in an extended hitless streak and struggle to get on base? This is the problem with the Diamondbacks roster; there isn’t a seasoned veteran who can teach the young hitters how to approach the game. They need someone like the Dodgers found in Manny Ramirez that can show through example how to be a major league hitter. Ramirez did wonders for James Loney and for Andre Ethier; the Diamondbacks need the same. Unfortunately those types of players don’t come along very often and when they do they tend to be expensive. That is not something the Diamondbacks seem interested in entertaining given their financial situation. So for now we do what we do every year we cheer for the hungry young hitter who comes to the big leagues and shows flashes of brilliance then falls back to earth and becomes an underdeveloped talent who struggles to adjust to the speed of the major league game.


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