Tag Archives: Gerardo Parra

Who are the Brewers getting in Zach Davies?

The Milwaukee Brewers may have traded away Mike Fiers, but they may have already replaced him, as well. After Doug Melvin sent Carlos Gomez and Fiers to the Houston Astros, he shipped Gerardo Parra off to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for right-handed pitcher Zach Davies.

Davies wasted no time in making a great impression with his new club, as he struck out seven batters in six innings while allowing just one run in his first start with the Brewers Triple-A affiliate.

But who exactly is the Brewers getting in Davies?

Here’s what Baseball Prospectus writer Jeff Long had to say about him:

Davies isn’t built like a pitcher. At 6’0″ 150 lbs, he looks more like a shortstop than a guy who throws darts on the mound. A lot of the speculation that surrounds Davies is because of his small build. People who know the game well question if he can last a full 32-start season, thinking his body will eventually break down. But pitchers like Tim Lincecum (5’11”, 170 lbs) and Travis Wood (5’11”, 175 lbs) have overcome their short and skinny stature to become successful major league pitchers. There’s no reason Davies can’t add his name to that list.

Davies’ fastball won’t overpower hitters, but he does a good job of hiding the ball up until he releases it, making the pitch seem much faster than it is. His strikeout rate of 21.1% is very good for a pitcher without blow-it-by-you stuff, although the strikeouts will probably drop a bit when he faces major league hitters. His changeup is his best pitch, but he’ll need to expand his arsenal or strengthen it in order to be an effective starter.

Along with his decent strikeout percentage, Davies does an excellent job of pounding the strike zone and forcing ground balls. He’s walked under three hitters per nine innings in each of his last three minor league seasons, and has had a groundball rate north of 46% in every season of his career.

Giving up Gerardo Parra, a free-agent-to-be who is in the midst of a career year, for a pitcher like Davies is a win for the Brewers, in my opinion. Parra is due for some serious regression in 2016, so to get a young arm who has the potential to be a solid back-of-the-rotation guy in return for him should be looked at as a victory.

At 22 years old and almost a full season of Triple-A under his belt, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Davies break into the rotation in 2016. He could easily transition to the No. 4 or No. 5 spot in Milwaukee’s rotation, which is in need of some quality arms.

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A little Gerardo Parra perspective

Gerardo Parra is going to be traded. There’s little doubt about that. He’s going to be moved because he’s the hottest hitter on a terrible baseball team. That’s as simple as logic gets.

But for some reason, there are Brewers fans out there who think Milwaukee should sign the outfielder to an extension. First of all, I can’t believe there’s more than one person who thinks this, but there is, just look on Twitter. Second of all, I can’t believe people think his production this season is actually sustainable.

Therefore, it’s time for a little Gerardo Parra perspective.

Despite what his fielding stats say in 2015, Parra is a top-tier outfielder. He won a Gold Glove in 2013 and can play every outfield position with the best of them. The majority of his career WAR total comes from his defense, because, up until this season, Parra’s offense has been suspect. Before the season commenced, Parra owned a career .326 on-base percentage and an 89 wRC+ as a six-year major leaguer. His only above-average season came in 2011, which is the only time he ever posted a wRC+ over 100. With a lack of power and too many ground balls, Parra has never been a “good” hitter.

Enter 2015.

Parra ranks 26th in wRC+ (135) and 23rd in wOBA (.371). His .193 ISO is by far a career high, and with two more home runs, he’ll also break another career mark. Parra’s BABIP is also a best, sitting at .360. When putting everything together, Parra has been one of the very best hitters in all of Major League Baseball. That’s right. Gerardo Parra, the player the Brewers got in exchange for a very fringy outfield prospect in Mitch Haniger and Anthony Banda, has been a better hitter than the likes of Michael Brantley, Kris Bryant and Adam Jones.

Does anyone really think Parra suddenly turned on a switch and became a top-30 hitter in baseball? To sane people, the answer is obviously no, but the people with brains in their heads aren’t who this article is targeted at. It’s directed at the insane. In other words, I’m hoping insane people read this.

2015 has been an amazing offensive season for Parra, but it won’t last. And even he probably knows this. We have six years of sample size to determine this, and even though Parra, who just turned 28, has entered his prime, thinking his prime is that of an amazing hitter is crazy talk.

He’s been really, really good for 326 plate appearances this season, but in all likelihood, Parra will revert back to an amazing outfielder but just an OK hitter when 2016 hits. His performance will earn him a bigger free agency contract than originally thought, but it won’t be that of a perennial All-Star. And it shouldn’t be.

Parra will be traded by the Brewers, and it is absolutely the right decision.

Predicting who gets traded and who stays

We are now at the All-Star break, and for teams sitting at the bottom of the standings, like the Milwaukee Brewers are, it’s a welcome furlough. The four-days off is also usually the beginning of trade season, as teams are either getting ready to stack up for a postseason run or start shedding veterans in order to ignite the rebuilding process. In case you don’t know anything about anything, the Brewers will be doing the latter. At 38-52, they have the second-worst record in Major League Baseball. They are officially sellers.

Milwaukee is currently in possession of a handful of players who contending teams should be calling about. They have veterans with expiring contracts, but they also have players who are on the cusp of their primes, making them extremely coveted.

The Brewers won’t trade their entire roster (even though I’m not against the idea), but it’s safe to say they’ll be sending a few players out of the city known for its beer. So let’s make some predictions.

Players who will get traded

OF Gerardo Parra – Numerous teams are in need of outfield depth (see Kansas City), and with the way Parra has performed offensively, his name is one of the hottest on the block. Of outfielders with at least 300 plate appearances, he has the 13th-highest wRC+, not to mention his on-base percentage of .344 would be his best mark since 2011. Parra is as good as gone.

SP Kyle Lohse – I know his ERA and everything else you can possibly look at is downright terrible, but I still have this feeling that a team is going to take a flyer on him, for the right price, of course. The Brewers won’t get much back and they’ll probably to have pay some of his remaining salary, but with Lohse being a free agent after the season, why wouldn’t a team in need of a back-end starter go after him?

3B Aramis Ramirez – Every team needs hitting and Ramirez can still provide that at 37 years old. He’s a notorious slow starter and this season was definitely no exception. His numbers are finally beginning to improve, however. After producing a .272 wOBA in June, he crushed the ball in July and finished the month with a .366 wOBA. He, like Lohse, is in the last year of his contract (and career). He’s a rental who a team will trade for.

1B Adam Lind – He’s been the best player on the Brewers in 2015 and is probably the best hitter on the market. He’s already put up 2.1 WAR while creating an impressive 43% more runs than league average. Lind could bring back a fairly decent haul, especially compared to the other guys I listed above. If a team is looking for a high OBP player who hits home runs, Lind is the man for the job.

RP Francisco Rodriguez – I’ll admit I was wrong about Rodriguez. I thought he would be equally as bad as he was in 2014, but as it turns out, he’s been lights-out. His strikeout rate (30.8%) is back in line with his career norms and he’s no longer getting bit by home runs. He would be a very valuable add to a bullpen in need of a high-leverage reliever. The only thing stopping a team for making a play for him is his big contract. He’s owed $7.5 million in 2016 with a $6 million club option in ’17 ($2 million buyout). That’s a lot of money for a closer who’s been up and down in the past few seasons. Still, I think the Brewers will trade him yet again, but this time, there will be no reunion between the two.

Players who won’t get traded

OF Carlos Gomez – The Brewers should trade him, but I think they’ll wait another year. They need to be able to sell tickets in 2016, in spite of the talent-less roster they’re sure to put together, and people will pay to see Gomez. I feel like that is a terrible reason not to trade someone, especially since his value now is higher than it will be next year, but it’s what the Brewers will presumably do.

C Jonathan Lucroy – Lucroy’s going to stay in Milwaukee as well. The Brewers will have to be unbelievably blown away in order to trade a great catcher with a team-friendly contract like Lucroy. I think Lucroy will be involved in a mid-season trade next season, but not this one.

RP Jonathan Broxton – Making the playoffs and doing well once you’re there is nearly impossible without a quality bullpen. Basically everyone is looking for bullpen depth. By old-school numbers Broxton has been less than quality in 2015, which is why I don’t see him being moved. The Brewers would get next to nothing in return for him. so maybe their mindset is, why bother?

SS Jean Segura – I struggled with Segura. I can easily see him being traded, seeing as how Orlando Arcia is coming for his job. But which team is going to give up what the Brewers demand for him? That’s the big question here. Segura is a young and defensively talented shortstop who hasn’t hit much to date. What’s he really worth? Because that’s unknown, I think Segura stays put.

Pick an outfielder: Khris Davis vs. Gerardo Parra

When the Milwaukee Brewers acquired Gerardo Parra from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a July trade, Ron Roenicke assured us that Khris Davis wouldn’t lose much time in left field. And although it began that way, it was Parra, not Davis, who was being penciled into the lineup card more often towards the end of the season.

So the question has to be asked; who would you rather see in left field? The last time we played this game (Marco Estrada vs. Brandon Kintzler), Estrada was traded just a few days later, so maybe this is a bad idea. But oh well, let’s do it anyway.

The two outfielders bring different things to the table. If you want defense, Parra’s your man. If you covet over-the-fence power, Davis will get your vote.

We’ll start with Parra.

Parra is a six-year veteran who owns a career .313 wOBA and 90 wRC+. In other words, he’s nothing special as a hitter, but is still serviceable. Most of his value comes from his glove. He’s the owner of two Gold Glove awards (2011 and 2013), and has a 61.5 UZR as an outfielder, third-highest since 2009. In 2013, he was worth over four wins, but his value dramatically decreased in 2014, which made it easy for Arizona’s front office to ship him off.

In 440 plate appearances with the Diamondbacks last season, Parra posted -0.4 WAR. But as a Brewer, he was a completely different player. In only 134 plate appearances, Parra accumulated 0.5 WAR. I expect him to finish 2015 with a WAR around 1.0, but that obviously depends how much playing time he receives. If he even comes close to that, the Brewers will walk away from the trade victorious. Mitch Haniger, the player Milwaukee traded away, is at best a fifth or sixth outfielder, and doesn’t have much value.

Unlike Parra, Davis isn’t a great defender. He was better than expected in 2014 (3.1 UZR), but still nowhere near his counterpart’s ability. Instead, Davis is known for his pop. Last year, Davis told me that he likes being the team’s secret weapon, but after a year in which he hit 22 home runs and posted the highest ISO on the team, he’s no secret. Leading the team in isolated power is pretty impressive when you realize he beat out guys like Carlos Gomez and Ryan Braun. Despite this, however, his on-base percentage (.299) and wRC+ (107) left a lot to be desired and are a bit worrisome. He only drew 32 walks and struck out at a 22% clip. Luckily, 2014 was just his first full big league season and he has time to progress. He exceeded people’s expectations. Who says he won’t do that again?

Platooning the two is also an option. As you can imagine, Davis doesn’t like hitting off righties and Parra loathes the thought of seeing a southpaw. If the Brewers choose to follow this route, Parra would see the majority of the playing time as most pitchers in the NL Central are right-handed. Personally, I’m not a fan of platoons, but sometimes it’s necessary (see Scooter Gennett).

Davis is still listed as the starting left fielder according to the Brewers’ official website, and I think that’s the right call. With Davis’ power ability, he needs to be in the lineup every day, and improvement should come from the 26 year old along with a better understanding of how the game is played. Parra is a great bat to have off the bench who will replace Davis in the late innings of close games. But if Davis continues to flounder when it comes to getting on base, Ron Roenicke may have to sacrifice his power and go with Parra.

It’s time for you to make a decision.