Special Cloth Alert: Two Power-Speed Guys Ready to Explode

I don’t even know what “special cloth alert” means, but I do follow DJ Khaled on Snapchat so I say it a lot to Charlotte. And she’s just all like, wtf are you talking about now? OK then, jeez. Anyway, I’ve interpreted it as a positive based on the many special cloth alerts that Khaled has issued in 10-second bits of majesty. So now I’m offering up a special cloth alert on two power-speed hitters who have a real shot at improving upon their 2015 seasons and exploding into early-round assets.

Odubel Herrera | PHI | OF

Did you catch Herrera’s 2015? It’s easy to miss good-not-great seasons on terrible teams. Plus, he was a Rule 5 pick so he wasn’t super well-known coming into the season. He came up through the Texas org. as a light-hitting speedster with a .294/.354/.377 line, 3 HR, and 30 SB per 600 PA. He was given grades of 40 hit, 50+ speed, 50+ defense, and 20 power (35 raw). So how did he pop 8 HR – 60% more than his previous career high? Must’ve been a bunch wall-scrapers.

Orrrrr… he was a monster?

Herrera hit four no-doubt homers, most on the Phillies, and threw in two more “plenty” homers. He did have two wall-scrapers, but by and large he hammered his home runs. He didn’t hit enough homers to qualify for ESPN’s HR Tracker Golden Sledgehammer (18 needed), but he would’ve finished 11th in between Mike Trout (ever heard of him?) and Lucas Duda with an average true distance of 409.1 feet. Here are three of his smash jobs:

whack

pow

boff

Predictably, he doesn’t hit a ton of flyballs (nor should he) so I’m not thinking we’ll see a homer spike that even qualifies him for the Golden Sledgehammer in 2016, but I agree with the announcer in that blast off of Cashner in thinking that he can push double-digits with his home run count. He could also refine his base stealing approach after a year in the majors and add to his 16 from 2015 as well.

He only had a 67% success rate in his 24 attempts, down from the 72% he established on 178 attempts in the minors. On the same number of attempts, he’d only jump to 17 SBs, but I think experience is going to be a factor and not only lead to an improved success rate, but many more attempts. The net result of it all looks a lot like Kevin Pillar’s 2015 season: .278 AVG, 12 HR, and 25 SB.

Gerardo Parra| COL| OF

I wonder if it’s Baltimore backlash that is hurting Parra’s average draft position? I’m mostly kidding, but there doesn’t seem to be much excitement about a hitter with multiple double-double seasons (and a few others that were a homer or two shy) going to Coors Field on the right side of 30 years old. Is it some kind of carryover effect from his slump after joining Baltimore? Have all the AL-only players who were burned by an unproductive Parra conspired to push down his value in mixed leagues by ignoring him?

First off, you can’t blame those AL-only players for being annoyed. Parra posted an .886 OPS with Milwaukee prior to the trade and was on a torrid 1.013 OPS clip in his 50 games immediately before the trade. With Baltimore, he posted a meager .625 OPS in 55 games. He still had his second-best season ever with a career-high 14 HR. His 14 SB were one shy of tying his career-high.

OK, let me back up a second.

I’m overstating any discontent with Parra. I didn’t run the numbers, but his jump in average draft position from 2015 to 2016 has to be one of the highest in the outfield if not the entire league. He was being taken with the 469th pick in 2015 and now he’s up at 205th this year, but it still feels light given how bananas we usually go for anyone with a modicum of talent in Coors, let alone a league averageish hitter like Parra with punch and speed.

Interestingly, Parra has never hit a homer in Coors in 194 PA (plenty logged as a D’Back) – a fact I’m sure one of you will leave in the comments before even getting to this part. He has a .283/.344/.382 line in those 194 PA with 0 HR, 12 RBI, and 8 SB. He used to struggle to hit in Coors, but he’s been much better the last four years when looking at his OPS totals by season: .667, .375, .519, .899, .880, .840, and 1.077. The 194 PA itself is a small sample so of course each of the individual seasons are tiny samples, but at least he hasn’t just consistently been a .700-something OPS to reach that .725 bottom line.

I’m gonna get really crazy and guarantee that Parra hits at least one homer in Coors this year. Where else are you getting that kind of groundbreaking analysis? Nowhere, exactly. You’re welcome. But for real, why are Ender Inciarte, Alex Gordon, Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto, and Randal Grichuk going ahead him? How is Brett Gardner four rounds higher? I like Billy Burns fine, but he’s also about four rounds higher than Parra. Kole Calhoun 90 picks higher? GTFOHWTS.

I will grant that Parra’s struggles against lefties make him ripe for a platoon or at least some increased off-days against southpaws, but that’s not a new aspect of his game. He’s been a solidly productive bat with that flaw, plus he defense usually gets him in those games later so he might not get the start, but he can still pull a plate appearance or two entering as a defensive replacement. By the way, how fortunate has he been with his home parks? He has just slowly climbed the ladder of good parks before finally reaching the mecca. First Chase Field, then Miller Park, then Camden Yards, and now Coors Field. No wonder he’s 89 points better in OPS at home.

They don’t want you to have two potential studs in your fourth and fifth outfielder spots.  key





Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

newest oldest most voted
Robert
Member
Member
Robert

Major ?