The Coors Effect

June 7, 2010 11:39 PM

First-round pick: OF Kyle Parker, Clemson

The Rockies went with my suggestion of picking a hitter in the first round.  Okay, so I seriously doubt the Rockies took my suggestion into account, but it goes in line with my thought process, for sure.

Kyle Parker is an outfielder from Clemson University, where he hit .364/.496/.709 with 19 homers and 57 RBI as a junior.  Those numbers alone suggest that the guy is a good metal-bat hitter, though it's not entirely clear how this will translate to hitting with a wood bat.  The power is there (anybody who's slugging .709, even with a metal bat, clearly has some power) but what's not clear is whether Parker will hit for average.  He struck out 52 times in 218 at bats this season; that's not an alarming number, to be sure, but he did whiff in nearly a quarter of his at bats.  That's balanced by solid plate discipline (49 walks) and, of course, the power.  All that said, Parker's ceiling appears to be that of a .280 hitter with 30-homer power.  Which isn't bad.

Now, that said, there are some problems with this pick.  The obvious problem is Parker's signability.  Normally college juniors who aren't represented by Scott Boras are very signable; they don't want to risk coming back and being drafted as a senior, when they have virtually no leverage in contract negotiations.  But Parker isn't your typical college junior.  When he's not smacking baseballs over the fence, he's Clemson's starting quarterback.  And he's not a bad quarterback, either.  More to the point, Parker will be a sophomore on the football field in 2010.  The gap between his football eligibility and his baseball eligibility is a result of him enrolling in college a semester early and immediately playing baseball (during what would have been the second semester of his senior year of high school), and taking a redshirt year on the football field.  Now, plenty of players before have played minor league baseball during the summer while continuing to play college football in the fall, but do the Rockies want Parker to continue to play football and not concentrate on baseball?  Do they want to risk him getting injured on the football field?  As a first-round pick, Parker is going to command a pretty big bonus, and the Rockies might not want to risk it in this case.

On the other hand, Parker is probably not going to be a big-time quarterback prospect in the NFL in a few years, so economically it makes a good bit of sense for him to give up on football and concentrate on baseball, which is likely going to be his meal ticket at this point.  The problem is that Parker might not think of it that way.  This pick has the potential to be a really good one, but it also has the potential to blow up in the Rockies' faces in a big way as well.  It will be interesting to see how the contract negotiations go over the next couple of months.

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