At 3.0 fWAR on the season, it would be misleading to say that Gerardo Parra hasn’t been a productive player or the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2013.
In fact, he’s actually on his way to having arguably his best season yet … though it might not always seem that way for the desert snakes, who are in a dogfight for for a second Wild Card spot and need every bat firing on all cylinders to stay relevant at six games back.
And well, let’s just say that Parra isn’t full-speed ahead in that department right now.
Much of his value to the team, as it’d been most of the season, comes from his stellar 16.1 fielding runs above average defense. Offensively, though, you don’t need to look too much further than his .717 OPS to see that he’s lagging behind.
Yes, he can still hit in bunches — his five-knock performance back in the August 24 marathon between the Diamondbacks and the Philadelphia Phillies will tell you that, but what he isn’t doing is hitting consistently. He’s gotten base hits in just four out of his last eight starts, and compounding the Jekyll and Hyde act is the fact that his walk rate has plummeted to just 4.0 percent through 101 PA this month.
That’s to say that the team doesn’t exactly know which Parra that’s going to get on a day-to-day basis, though his .290 OBP shows that the medium isn’t exactly a happy one.
Arizona has been trying to get him going, too, though after his 0-for-4 performance on Friday in what ended up being a razor-thin 1-0 loss against the San Francisco Giants, I’d think we can safely say that batting him at leadoff was, in fact, not a very good solution.
Not to say that he cost the game with the 0-fer, of course — that’s not something you can say in any shutout, really. However, given that Parra was the designated table-setter on this day against a relatively weak Giants team that the DBacks out-hit 7-3 and probably should have beaten, it’s hard to say that he didn’t have more of a hand in the loss either, especially considering that the No. 2-4 hitters went a combined 4-for-11.
The worst thing? It’s stating the obvious, but these are the types of games that the Diamondbacks have to win so that they can afford a loss or two against tougher opponents down the stretch.
And while Parra is helping them do that with the glove, they’re going to need him to find some consistency at the plate for his contributions to really matter on a game-to-game basis.