A Closer Look: Jarrod Parker


Over the next couple of days Swingin’ A’s will take a closer look at some of the prospects the Athletics scored in the Trevor CahillGio Gonzalez, and Andrew Bailey trades. Next we look at Jarrod Parker, the center-piece of the Trevor Cahill deal. 

The A’s are going younger. That much we know. This season, Oakland’s starting rotation should, in my mind anyway, feature a few young faces. Among those fresh faces is top pitching prospect Jarrod Parker, who was acquired in the Trevor Cahill trade.

Parker, 23, is a pitcher with a ton of potential to become a prominent figure within the Athletics’ organization. Oakland’s GM Billy Beane has spent a majority of the offseason replenishing a farm-system that was considered to be mediocre.

In the Cahill and Gio Gonzalez trades, Oakland has laid out the foundation for a solid starting rotation for the future. Along with Parker, who should be a No.2 starter if everything pans out with his development, the A’s also have Sonny Gray, Brad Peacock, and the promising A.J. Cole to help man their rotation for the future.

For the sake of this post, though, we’ll focus just on Parker.

The former first-round draft pick from 2007, Parker has the potential to be a front-end type starter for the A’s. He underwent Tommy John Surgery that caused him to miss all of the 2010 season, but he did pitch injury-free last year with Arizona and its minor-league affiliates. Still, the risk of injury is there with Parker, who saw his numbers decline last year.

After posting a 8.5 K/9 rate with Double-A Mobile back in ’09, Parker’s strikeout numbers declined to 7.7 K/9 this past year. In the end, though, Parker’s numbers for Double-A Mobile were still solid enough to make him appealing to Oakland’s front office.

He went 11-8 with a 3.79 ERA over 26 starts last year with Double-A. He also logged in a total of 130.2 innings of work with 112 strikeouts and 55 walks. The walks are little much, but with a little more seasoning his command should improve.

Parker also received a September call-up last season with Arizona. In 5.2 innings with Arizona, Parker allowed four hits, no runs, one strikeout, and one walk. He should, given Oakland’s current staff situation, get a shot at competing for one the spots open in Oakland’s rotation this spring.

Given his injury history, though, Parker’s durability could still be brought into question. Hopefully for Oakland, Parker’s health holds up during his development.

Parker boasts a fastball that can reach the mid-90’s, a slider, and a change-up. He’s a guy, in mind, at least, with a high ceiling, possibly even higher than Cahill’s. He has the potential to exceed Cahill’s talent, which would help explain why Oakland wanted Parker in the first place.

The risk is there for Parker, but he is under team control for six more years and has front-of-the-rotation potential too. He’ll just have to prove to A’s fans that he belongs in the rotation this year. I’m thinking he’ll do just that.

Barring, of course, any injuries or setbacks. We all know how much Oakland loves injuries.

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