This week marks the first major call-up of the season. No, it’s not Mike Trout or Bryce Harper. It’s not even Trevor Bauer. It’s a pitcher ESPN’s Keith Law ranked as his 31st best 2012 prospect. His name is Jarrod Parker, and you should be taking notice.
Most have probably forgotten about this pitcher. He missed the entire 2010 season due to Tommy John surgery. After coming back in 2011, he pitched 130.2 innings in double-A for the Diamondbacks, posting a 3.79 ERA with a 7.71 K/9 and a 3.79 BB/9. In the offseason, he and Collin Cowgill were traded to the Athletics for Trevor Cahill. He will make his 2012 debut Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox.
He is projected as a number-two pitcher with a plus fastball, a plus slider (his out pitch), and an improved change-up. His key pitch is a hard-sinking fastball, working at 92-95 mph and hitting 96-97 mph at its best. He’s lost no velocity since the surgery, although he’s still working on command refinements. Parker is also pitching in a park that has turned Bartolo Colon into a Hall of Famer. Parker will have the luxury of being able to get away with a few mistakes here and there in that ballpark.
In keeper leagues, he is more than likely already picked up. In 12-team leagues, I think he is a must-add if you are in need of pitching. In 10-team leagues, however, I do not think he is a must-add now. He is a wait and see. He could be impressive, but more than likely, he will struggle with his command a bit like all young pitchers do. With the talent behind him (yes, I am talking about you Brad Peacock), I assume he will be on a short leash. If he stinks in his first two starts, he could be headed to triple-A to work on his command.
Depending on the depth of your league he is a nice cheap pickup with decent upside.
Top Pickups this week
Chase Headley — I cannot believe this guy is not 100 percent owned. It’s only like 5 percent of leagues, but still.
Alejandro De Aza — Cool name and a guy that gives you power and speed. Do not expect much more from the batting-average department.
Jake Peavy — The old man has found a bit of his mojo. Pick him up and enjoy the ride till he lands on the DL. Hell, you might even sucker someone into trading for him.
Lance Lynn — Every year, there is always the reliever-turned-starting pitcher that no one buys as a starting pitcher, then it’s the All-Star break and he is still a top-30 pitcher. I know it’s early, but I am giving that award to Lynn.
Bartolo Colon — What more does this man have to do? Ride the “waive” people!
Matt Harrison — He is looking awfully good. I am even more surprised he is available in almost 40 percent of leagues.
Denard Span — After the expectations from last preseason, I am surprised he is not owned in more leagues. He is doing exactly what you wanted from this guy last year (good average and SB), and this year, he is giving you just that.
Kendrys Morales — In 10-team leagues, I can understand cutting the cord on Morales, but 12-team leagues need to be patient. This guy is getting his sea legs back. Just give him time.