Acquired: International Free Agent, 2012 ($60,000)
Birthday: October 22, 1994
2014: Gulf Coast Cardinals (R)
(You can find the 20/80 grading primer here)
In all honesty, I had no idea who Frederis Parra was until I was doing my usual morning perusing of Baseball Prospectus' Monday Morning Ten Pack on June 30th of last year. Here's some of what Jeff Moore had to say:
Great pitcher's body that should hold more weight. Player has a quick arm and extremely loose arm action that generates easy velocity. Fastball sat between 90-94 over six innings of work and he maintained his velocity. The pitch has little movement but he generates a good downward plane. Pitcher used his fastball exclusively for first three innings and was still effective. Featured a slider at 77-78 mph with hard downward break. Pitch was inconsistent at present but further along than most GCL sliders and showed the potential to be a plus pitch. Changeup was currently ahead of the slider and was a present average pitch on the day I saw him. Player was consistent with the pitch and threw it for strikes. Features only some arm-side fade, but his quick arm speed created additional deception. Will be a plus pitch when he learns to generate more movement on the pitch.
All that for just $60,000 bucks? Sign me up!
The grades for Parra feature some pretty large gaps between present and future projection, mainly because there's just a ton of upside here that's not been realized yet. However, any pitcher with two (and possibly three) potential plus pitches certainly has my interest no matter where he is in the minors. I've got no video on Parra and haven't seen him at all just yet, so everything you'll read in this profile is coming from chatter among various evaluators around the web.
I've seen reports of the fastball hitting 95-96 on occasion last summer but with similar comments about lack of movement, which is why I graded it a bit below average. Getting good downward plane on the heater is likely why Parra got so many ground balls last year, but lack of life won't hurt much in the GCL where he can overpower hitters with it -- it will hurt him as he moves up.
The slider is probably the make or break pitch. If it develops into a plus pitch, Parra is certain to get a chance at a big league bullpen as he'll have the fastball slider combination that generally gives right handed hitters fits. Without it, Parra will be overly reliant on deception and movement from his fastball to the changeup, neither of which have a ton of life, as Moore pointed out in his profile. The issue I have with the pitch is that it's probably not quite hard enough, if the 77-79 mph reports on it are accurate. Good MLB sliders are usually 4-5 mph harder for those who throw their fastball with similar velocity to what Parra has. The hard downward breaking action that Moore notes was also noted in a couple of other places, but to be a good swing-and-miss pitch in the future, it's going to have to look more like the fastball and not give hitters as much time to adjust.
The changeup is solid by all reports, but lacks the fade necessary to really be a plus pitch. Luckily for Parra, the Cardinals seem very adept at assisting pitching prospects with developing that particular pitch and he seems to have pretty decent command of the offering already. Good command of all three pitches as a matter of fact, meaning he will likely move as fast as his developing stuff allows him to.
It's hard to really know much about his ability to sequence without seeing him throw a couple of games, but there's plenty of time for Parra to develop this as he moves through the system.
A good a candidate as any to start the year in the Peoria rotation given that he's one of the more advanced guys in the short season leagues that has any sort of ceiling. I'm hoping he starts there as I'm giddy to get a look at him and will have a more chances to see him if he's in the Midwest League.