My 2008 preseason pick to win the NL Rookie of the Year award was Manny Parra. Aren’t you glad you’re listening to me for fantasy baseball advice? In Rudy’s top 20 risky pitchers post, he didn’t label Manny Parra an injury risk for 2009. He said, “Throws five pitches (Fastball, Curveball, Changeup, Split-Finger, and Slider) all for balls (4.07 BB/9 IP). Big spike in MLB pitch count (2,403) but only 323 if you factor in Minors. 20% breaking ball rate is fair. Feel like his bigger issue will be throwing strikes in 2009 vs. staying healthy.” And that’s me quoting Rudy! I agree with Mr. G, but let’s look a bit more at Parra because I have a real good vibe about him and I think he can be a 2009 fantasy baseball sleeper.
Last year, Parra had a 7.97 K/9 rate and nearly made 30 starts, coming up just short at 29. He was 25 at the time. For a first full season, those are pretty solid marks, but somewhere in the 2nd half of the season it all went wrong. Post All-Star break, Parra posted a 5.32 ERA. What’s weird about that is he had a better K rate AND (caps for emphasis and those with bad eyes) a better walk rate in the 2nd half of the season. Zoinks! So his ERA ballooned while striking out more per inning and walking less. That doesn’t make a whole lotta sense, Big Bird. You’re right, Mr. Snuffleupagus. So what was going on there? Hmm… I’m going use Step One from my brand-new, unwritten pamphlet called, “Use Your Brain, Grey” and see what I can surmise. (BTW, when Johnny Mize visited brothels, he went by Sir Mize — oofa!)
In the 2nd half of the season, Parra had a BABIP of .372, showing he was pretty unlucky. So his poor luck forced him to stop nibbling on the corners and attack hitters more, which raised his Ks (because he has solid stuff) and lowered his walks. The problem, he was attacking a little too recklessly and it raised his ERA. He should’ve nibbled a little more. Wow, this not-yet-written pamphlet works! Now it could all happen again, so let’s not start blowing each other just yet. In the top 80 starters for 2009 post, I put Manny Parra‘s 2009 projections at 11-9/4.10/1.40/160. To quote my Jewish grandmother, “You could do worse. “