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. “

  1. I had such hopes for Parra and Cueto last year. They scored off the charts in terms of MLB equivalency for their minor league performance according to Baseball HQ. Really thought I figured out rookie pitchers as the same data supported Gallardo and Rich Hill’s breakout 2007s.

    Now I’m humbled and steer clear of rookie pitchers.

    But Parra’s a sophomore with K-potential…agree he’s a sleeper….i’d take him at the right price….

  2. sean says:

    Parra is definitely a target of mine — if not in the draft than on the early season watch list. If he doesn’t burst out of the gates, he should be available in most formats on the waiver wire. It’s a nice luxury to be able to spot start a big lefty pitching in the NL.

    @grey: this post begs the question: do you just have trouble folding a losing hand? With Gordon and others, seems like you have a little trouble letting go ;)

  3. Ben says:

    I’d definitely like to get Parra in the later rounds of the draft.

  4. Grey

    Grey says:

    @sean: Nah, I liked Hafner, Rich Hill, Carlos Zambrano, Volquez, Hamilton, etc last year and they’re all less likely to be on one of my teams. Vice versa, I hated Phillips, Braun, Zimmerman, etc. last year and like them this year.

  5. We made the same pre-season pick last year. i see no reason why Parra cannot be a top 30 pitcher this year.

  6. BigFatHippo says:

    @Grey: @patrick dicaprio: Yahoo has him at 58, think he has enough upside to crack top 30?

    I may be able to steal him at the end of an auction for a buck or 3 based on last years #s.

  7. Grey

    Grey says:

    @patrick dicaprio: Thanks for jinxing him.

    @BigFatHippo: Any guy that can strikeout as many as he can is a good gamble to take. If he cracks a 4 ERA and gets some luck on Wins, a top 30 pitcher is possible.

  8. BigFatHippo says:

    @Grey: Kinda worried about his whip wrecking my overall pitching staff though. If he could just throw strikes dammit.

    Could always sit him when he’s going bad but there’s no real formula for him like there is with Wandy. You just sit Wandy on the road until he proves he can pitch there.

  9. Grey

    Grey says:

    @BigFatHippo: With your pitching staff, you probably want to go for a safer bet late. You don’t need Parra’s upside.

  10. Wombaty says:

    Quick (but not directly related) question: is there any site that lets you select the stat categories and then uses existent projections–marcel, chone, etc.–to generate rankings for your individual league?

  11. BigFatHippo says:

    @Grey: OK thanks.

    Just trying to figure out who that 6th starter is gonna be. I only have a month, auugggghhh.

    So, a safe bet? Wandy for one, maybe Guthrie, Penny ferchrissakes? Would say Carp, but no way he goes for under 10 in my league. BTW, he’s throwing free and easy in ST, has Poppa Dunc grinning like the Cheshire cat.

  12. BigFatHippo says:

    @Wombaty: I used Baseball Monster last year, worked out pretty well.

  13. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Wombaty: No idea about that. Sorry. You could use Point Shares to figure out how the teams will all rank.

    @BigFatHippo: Guthrie is a good candidate for safe. Penny, Wandy and Carp, no, not safe enough.

  14. BigFatHippo says:

    @Grey: So I’ll target Guthrie I guess. He’s ranked 77 in Yahoo so it may be doable.

    I’m writing all this down so I don’t have to rely on my pornographic memory, er photographic.

  15. James says:

    How many starting pitchers are in everyones league, and do managers drop their hitting bench to max out their pitching rotation (to rotate pitchers)? Or does everyone have max innings?

  16. James says:

    Oops – “pitching rotation in the playoffs..”

  17. Grey

    Grey says:

    @James: Come again, I’m not following the question.

  18. big o says:

    wow . on the heels of that either comment , you follow with THAT line ?
    definately time to move back east , son . hah .

    i think sean’s observation is correct , but he missed the target .
    from what i’ve seen , in the short time that i’ve come to know you .
    it’s guthrie !!

    and now , you’ve infected hippo .

  19. big o says:

    ethier * comment

  20. James says:

    How many pitchers constitutes a rotation in your league?
    Do you have a maximum number of innings for the season? For example, 1500 innings and you cannot go over that amount.
    If not, will managers drop hitters on their bench to add a pitcher to accumulate statistics like wins and strike outs.

  21. James says:

    The last question is in the playoffs because you don’t need a bench once it starts…

  22. Grey

    Grey says:

    @big o: Guthrie is a FOG, Friend Of Grey’s. But he’s not a #1 pitcher. He’s a good endgame bargain.

    @James: In my league? Or you mean in the RCLs? The rules are in the comments in that post, I believe Comment #54 has the rules. I usually play with a max on innings or a max on starts, say 180 starts or 1500 IP.

  23. James says:

    Any league — I was just curious how you guys played.

  24. Grey

    Grey says:

    @James: Gotcha. Yeah, 180 or 1500 usually. I don’t like H2H that much.

  25. There is a lot to like about Parra. From June on, his GB% was 52% and his K/9 went up month by month from 6.6 to 8.1 to 9.1 to 10.4 in September. His control was improving as well until he wore down in September.

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