Kyle Parker has just been designated for assignment by the Colorado Rockies. The now 26-year-old was the Rockies 1st round pick in the 2010 draft out of Clemson. From 2011-2013 he hit quite well, reaching Double-A in that time frame. Let’s take a look at those three seasons.

Year Lvl PA 2B 3B HR BB K AVG OBP SLG
2011 A- 516 23 1 21 48 133 .285 .367 .483
2012 A+ 463 18 6 23 66 88 .308 .415 .562
2013 AA 528 23 3 23 40 99 .288 .345 .492

That first season he had pretty big strikeout numbers, but he produced well in that season and really cut down on the strikeouts in the next two seasons. The power certainly showed up, though it should be noted in 2012 he was in the California League and in 2013 he was in the Texas League, both of which are quite hitter friendly. Still, even with that adjustment, the power showed up and his plate discipline did improve from that 2011 season. The jump to Double-A did lead to his walk rate being nearly cut in half. He did cut his strikeout rate with the jump a tiny bit as well. While it was a step backwards, 40 walks and 99 strikeouts is still well within the acceptable range for the rates in relation to each other.

In 2014 he reached Triple-A and eventually the Majors. Let’s first focus on what happened in Colorado Springs for Parker that season. He hit .289/.336/.450 with 30 doubles and 15 home runs. Solid numbers on the surface. But, then we need to look at the fact that it was in the Pacific Coast League, where the average hitter posted a .276/.344/.427 line on the season. Still, slightly above-average production, but he was also a 24-year-old at the time. His walk rate took another big hit as he drew just 33 on the season. His walk rate went from 14.3% in 2012 to 7.6% in 2013 to 6.1% in 2014. His time in the Majors was rather limited, and split up into several call ups. He managed just 26 plate appearances, but didn’t draw a single walk and struck out 14 times.

He entered the 2015 season ranked as the Rockies 20th best prospect according to Baseball America. He spent the first two months in Triple-A before playing one game for the Rockies, then returning to Triple-A. He was called up to Colorado on August 1st and spent the rest of the year in the big leagues. In his time with Albuquerue he hit .280/.326/.431 with 24 walks and 102 strikeouts in 388 plate appearances. His walk rate stayed the same as the year before, but his strikeout rate jumped from 18% to 26%. He spent time with the Rockies down the stretch playing mostly left field. He got into 46 games and racked up 112 plate appearances. The outfielder struggled mightily in his big league time, hitting .179/.223/.311 with six walks and 37 strikeouts.

Let’s now take a look at how he’s performed at the Triple-A and Major League levels over the last two seasons:

Lvl PA 2B 3B HR BB K AVG OBP SLG
AAA 930 49 7 24 57 204 .285 .332 .442
MLB 138 4 1 3 6 51 .182 .217 .295

The two things that jump out are the absolute poor performance in the big leagues and the real struggles with plate discipline against the advanced pitching in Triple-A and the Major Leagues. That strikeout-to-walk ratio is all kinds of ugly and one that in no way will be able to continue and see any sort of success in the big leagues.

But, there could be a silver lining of sorts. After years of performing better against right handers, the right handed swinging outfielder actually performed quite well against left handers in 2015. At the Triple-A level he hit .279/.357/.495 against lefties and had 14 walks with 27 strikeouts against them. In the Major Leagues his splits were also very different. His OPS was .168 points higher against lefties, granted in two very small sample sizes.

Heading over to Fangraphs we can look at how he’s approached the strikezone in his limited big league action. He chases pitches at an incredibly high rate, swinging at non-strikes 42% and 39% of the time in the last two seasons. He’s also really struggled at making contact on pitches within the strikezone. In 2014 he made contact just 76% of the time on strikes he swung at and just 65% in 2015. For a comparison, in 2015 there were 248 players with at least 350 plate appearances in Major League Baseball. Chris Carter ranked dead last in contact rate on strikes at 73%. There are quality hitters who struggle to make contact in the zone. Kris Bryant ranked 245th worst in that group. Ale Rodriguez ranked 241st. Struggling on contact in the zone isn’t going to kill a hitters ability on it’s own. But when you couple that with an incredibly high rate of swinging at pitches out of the zone as well, it’s crippling.

Kyle Parker may have a shot to help a team out as a power bat off of the bench against left handers, where he seemed to take a step forward in 2015. But his career has shown that as he’s faced more advanced pitching, he’s really struggled to make the adjustment. He will be 26-years-old when the 2016 season begins and he’s had enormous struggles in the big leagues and has some concerning signs at the Triple-A level. A team could be interested in taking a look at Parker as a possible platoon option in the outfielder corners or maybe even first base, but it’s hard to see him being helpful for the Reds who need to add hitters who can get on base for more than they need hitters who may smack an occasional home run.

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Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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