MLB Oakland Athletics

Oakland Athletics: Jarrod Parker Faces Brand-New Challenge in 2014

Jarrod Parker

Cary Edmondson – USA TODAY Sports

Jarrod Parker entered the 2013 MLB season as an intriguing right-handed pitcher with still plenty to prove to the Oakland Athletics‘ front office. Well, Parker’s second year wasn’t a dud, but the 24-year-old pitcher didn’t exactly light the American League West on fire. With that being said, Parker has taken on a handful of new responsibilities this offseason and the 2014 season is likely to be a make-or-break year for this young starting pitcher.

Bartolo Colon will now be making starts for the New York Mets, which means Athletic’s manager Bob Melvin will have to select someone else to serve as the team’s opening day starter for 2014. Right now, all signs point to Parker getting the nod in game one against the Cleveland Indians.

Sure, Parker’s numbers from 2012 to 2013 didn’t change a whole lot. However, one statistic in particular absolutely skyrocketed and it has to worry Athletic’s fans across California. In 2012, Parker allowed a mere 11 home runs in over 181 innings, which was rather impressive for a pitcher in his first full professional season. On the other hand, Parker finished 2013 with an incredible 25 home runs allowed!

Moving forward, the home run allowed number is something that Parker needs to work on this season. As Oakland’s new ace, Parker will be faced with many new challenges in 2014, so let’s see if the 25-year-old is ready to make that leap from good pitcher to one of All-Star caliber.

See: Oakland Athletics 2014 Spring Training Profile: Jarrod Parker

Devin O’Barr is the Content Commentator for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @DevinOBarrRS, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.