Jarrod Parker: The Hidden Ace


August 14, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher

Jarrod Parker

(11) delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros during the first inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

To say Jarrod Parker had a rough April is a little like saying a turkey had a rough November.  To say Jarrod Parker is having a great August, well…

That’s just the truth.

As we speak, Parker’s six innings deep against the Orioles, another team scratching for a playoff spot.  In a hitter’s park, he’s allowed one run, a solitary solo shot in the third inning.

Through August he’s three and O with a complete game to his credit.  He’s allowed four (!) walks and struck out 26.  His ERA is 2.15.  Jarrod Parker is doing that rarest of things for young pitchers.  He’s getting better as the season goes on.  He’s pitching deeper into games.  He’s throwing harder, 95 and 96 in the 7th and 8th inning.  At pitches 46 to 60, batters are hitting .202 against him.  That’s ridiculous.

More ridiculous?

At pitches 61-75?  The batting average is a cool .100.

Think about that.  As the game goes on he gets stronger.  Nastier.  Tougher to hit.

And more than that, he’s pitching smarter.  The Parker who rattled in April and May is gone, replaced by this cheek-bulging hitter’s nightmare.  With Colon on the DL, Milone scuffling and Griffin so deep inside his own head, it’s a wonder we don’t just hang a “Gone Fishin’” sign from the end of his nose, more and more Jarrod Parker is stepping into the role of stopper, the guy the A’s count on to stop the bleeding.

Right now, A’s nation is agog over Sonny Gray.  And that’s great.  He’s a good young pitcher who’s made a couple of quality starts. 

Call me in September.

In September there’ll be film on Sonny Gray.  There will be charts and there will be tendencies.  Teams will adjust and we’ll see if Sonny can.

Call me in September.  Call me when Sonny has to call his own games, when like Jarrod, he’s been through four different catcher in a year.  Call me when you see Sonny shake off the fastball and yank the string on the change-up he knew, he just knew he could put past Nelson Cruz

Call me when he’s been through an April like Jarrod had.

We’ve had Jarrod for three years now.  Teams know what he can do and what pitches he has.  He’s been around the West and been around the League.  Teams have adjusted.  And Parker has adjusted back.

Jarrod Parker has long had potential.  He’s long been a prospect.  It’s time to hang another label on him.