Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wait Til Next Year- Arizona Diamondbacks

Like the rest of the teams we’ve gone over thus far, this hasn’t been a great year for the Diamondbacks. Their offense hasn’t been bad. They’ve scored 561 runs so far this season, good for sixth in the National League. However, their 679 runs allowed are the most of any team in all of baseball, so there’s certainly some room for improvement there.

And improve they will. Though the Diamondbacks lost Dan Haren through a deadline deal and Brandon Webb to a shoulder surgery and impending free agency, the Diamondbacks will still field a legitimate stud pitcher, even if he experiences growing pains. Jarrod Parker, sidelined by Tommy John surgery for all of 2010, will return to the mound for the Diamondbacks organization and, potentially, their major league club.

Parker was taken by the Snakes ninth overall in the 2007 MLB Draft. He started living up to expectations from the moment he took the mound as a professional, putting up a 3.44 ERA with 117 K’s in 117.2 innings in A ball as a 19 year old in 2008. Then, in 2009, Parker split time between A+ and AA, putting up a 3.14 with an 8.8 K/9. However, his season was cut short in July by an elbow injury. Doctors determined he would need Tommy John, and he went under the knife of Dr. James Andrews (who seems to get his hands on every injured arm, leg, or other body part of any player in the entire league) in October 2009. After missing all of 2010, he’s expected back for Spring Training in 2011.

And Parker will be excited to get back to doing the things that earned the diminutive (6’1”) righty Roy Oswalt comps throughout the minors. As a 22 year old in 2011, Parker will probably begin the season in AA or potentially AAA. Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t stay long. The rebuilding DBacks will want to see what they’ve got in Parker and, assuming his rehab goes well, he could make the big club as a midseason callup. Ranked among the top 50 prospects in baseball by Baseball America in each of the last 3 years (most recently #36 pre-2010), Parker should come back strong and, with a successful rehab, will be back to dominating the minors much like he was before he went down with the injury. Diamondbacks fans should look for Parker to climb the ladder quickly and reach the big leagues before long. He could make an immediate impact on the Diamondbacks’ big-league club and the front office isn’t likely to ignore that possibility on a team as arm-starved as theirs is.

Check back tomorrow, when we’ll be looking at the near future of Jack Zduriencik’s Seattle Mariners, a sabermetrics-fueled squad that has been stymied by the lack of any sort of a power threat and the man who could help fix that.

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