The Diamondbacks have an off day, so I am not really sure what to do with my time. I know what you are all thinking and the answer is yes – I only say good things about Gerardo Parra. How could you not? The first half for the Arizona Diamondbacks was disappointing for me. I understand that the team is in first place, but there have been some overall problems with this squad. Gerardo Parra, however, is not one of them. I once took a picture with Parra at Coors Field and he said he liked my Diamondbacks jersey, so you could say we are pretty tight.
We went into this year not knowing if Parra would even get a chance to play. The D’backs entered the season with 38 outfielders for three spots, so naturally, Parra was on the outside looking in. I am going to call him a 5-tool player, but for different reasons. Tremendous baseball smarts takes the place of “hitting for power” as the fifth tool. I guess you could make the argument that he does not hit for average, but he makes up for it with a good OBP and by being really awesome. If you think about Parras’ game, there really is not a weak spot. Nothing is fantastic, but nothing is poor. Parra is just a solid baseball player no matter which way you spin it. Parra gets my make-believe MVP award for his defensive ability. Gerardo has an actual canon in place of his left arm and players all around baseball will tell you the same thing. Personally, I think Gerardo Parra is one of the best outfielders in baseball for a few reasons. GP does not care about his body at all (in a good way). He will slide, crash, leap, spin, and do other verbs every game for Arizona. If there is a wall in his path, you better believe that Parra is prepared to run through it. Also, he has great baseball smarts. Parra understands the game and how it should be played. For some reason, players are losing their baseball smarts and instincts lately.
The one thing that I do not like about Parra is that his strikeout numbers are high. I can’t remember the last time Parra has not struck out to lead off a game. However, with a free-swinger like GP, strikeouts are inevitable. I would like to see Parra settle down in the second half and be more professional at the plate and really milk some great at-bats.
Gerardo possesses a very important aspect of baseball: swag. From finger wags to bat flips, GP has it all. Parra knows how to use his swagger without looking like a total idiot. He has a bad case of “Eric Byrnes Syndrome,” where you hate playing against him, but you really want him on your team. On a somewhat related side note, Eric Byrnes is my favorite player in Diamondbacks history.
Arizona plays on Friday, so until then, I think I’m just going to watch re-runs of Ice Road Truckers.