We’ve heard a lot about the potential of Manny Parra over the years, unfortunately it has never translated to a big league diamond.  The trend has continued in 2010, as he’s posted the following line:

3 Wins
64.2 Innings
4.45 ERA
1.65 WHIP
66 Strikeouts (9.2 K/9)
31 Walks (4.3 BB/9)
.369 BABIP

There are a few things that jump out at you almost immediately.  First of all is the luck, which he clearly hasn’t had.  The strand rate is normal (75.7%), but the BABIP continues to be a problem for him.  Just look at his numbers through parts of his previous three seasons:

  • 2007 – .332 (26.1 IP)
  • 2008 – .337 (166.0 IP)
  • 2009 – .365 (140.0 IP)

This begs the question, is it bad luck or is it poor skill?  Before we decide on that, let’s look at the other numbers.

He’s a solid, though not elite, groundball pitcher.  Thus far in 2010 he’s posted a 49.2% groundball rate.  Over his minor league career he posted a 52.7% mark, so look for this to continue.

The strikeout rate is impressive, and not impossible for him to repeat.  Over his minor league career (564.0 innings), he’s posted a K/9 of 8.6.  He’s also shown signs at the major league level prior to this year, with a career K/9 of 8.1.  Even if he regresses some from his mark this season, seeing him maintain a mark of above 8.0 is very likely.

The control has been a problem, but is not indicative of what he is actually capable of.  Over his minor league career he posted a walk rate of 2.6.

Is it possible that he was rushed to the big leagues?  Being drafted in the 26th round of the 2001 draft, Parra was nurtured slowly, that is until 2007 in his 24-year-old season.  After that, he has been up and down between the minors and the majors, spending just 50.2 innings at Triple-A.

Could he have been better-suited, despite his age, to have spent a little bit more time at Triple-A against the upper level competition?  At this point we’ll never know.  What we do know is that Parra actually does have the skill set for potential success:

  • Strikeout potential
  • Groundball pitcher
  • Good control

Of course, we have not yet actually seen the control, which, when coupled with the bad luck, explains the terrible numbers we’ve seen from Parra over the past four years.  However, with his abilities, it’s not the time to simply think that he can’t put things together.

Those in shallower formats can ignore him, but if you are in a deeper league and need a pitcher to take a flyer on, consider stashing him on your bench, just in case.  He has the stuff and it could come together all at once.

What do you think of Parra?  Is there any chance that he’s viable in 2010?  Do you not believe in his potential?

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