- Full name Gerardo Enrique Parra
- Born 05/06/1987 in Santa Barbara Del Zulia, Venezuela
- Profile Ht.: 5'11" / Wt.: 209 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- School Licei Francisco Pulgar
- Debut 05/13/2009
Organization Prospect Rankings
After winning the Midwest League batting title with a .320 average in 2007, Parra split 2008 between Visalia and Mobile but made his strongest impression after the regular season. Starting in center field for Zulia in his native Venezuela, he was hitting .333/.412/.522 in mid-December and ranked among the Venezuelan League leaders in several offensive categories. While the individual grades on Parra's tools aren't overwhelming, the sum of what he brings to every game adds up. His best attribute is a smooth batting stroke that generates bat speed. He also has a good approach at the plate and a feel for putting together quality at-bats. He's not a spectacular center fielder but is smooth, can run and makes all the plays. He has plenty of arm for center field, with good accuracy. Parra won't ever hit for great power, with a top end of 12-15 home runs a year, so if he has to move to an outfield corner he starts to look like a tweener. He can improve his plate discipline and learn to pull the ball more to get the most out of his swing. Parra will return to Double-A to open the season but should move up at some point and earn a September callup. As long as he can stay in center field, he should be a productive big leaguer.
Parra followed up his strong U.S. debut in 2006 with the Midwest League (.320) batting title in 2007, also earning a promotion to high Class A for the last month of the minor league season. He capped his year by starting in the outfield alongside Carlos Gonzalez for Zulia in the Venezuelan winter league. Parra leads the next wave of Latin American talent coming through the system, and his tools draw comparisons to Gonzalez in every phase except power. He's the best pure hitter in the system and sprays balls all over the field, showing sound mechanics and a good approach. He has a plus arm and good defensive instincts, and he always plays with energy. Parra hasn't yet shown the power to fit the ideal profile for right field, but his bat speed suggests it could come as he matures. His speed is a tick below-average, though he was playing center field in winter ball, so he'll have to drive more balls out of the park to be a regular. In an organization loaded with talented young outfielders, it's hard to see where Parra will fit. But the logjam also means he'll have time to develop his game. He'll begin 2008 back in Visalia but should move to Double-A at some point during the season.
Parra made his domestic debut last season and impressed everyone who saw him, finishing among the Rookie-level Pioneer League batting and stolen-base leaders and rating as the league's No. 5 prospect and best outfield arm. More than one Diamondbacks official compared him with Carlos Gonzalez, and one said he's further along than Gonzalez at the same stage. Parra can do everything, but what impressed people the most was how well he handled the Pioneer League and made adjustments as a 19-year-old. He's a student of the game who always has a good plan at the plate, and he's great at centering the ball on the bat. He doesn't have a huge frame so he won't be a masher, but he'll certainly be a home run threat if only because of his bat speed. He has a cannon arm in right field, as well as good speed and great defensive instincts. Parra can still improve his plate discipline and handle inside pitches better, but there's not much to quibble with. On top of everything else, he has passion for the game and never takes an inning or an at-bat off. He'll make his full-season debut in low Class A this season.
Minor League Top Prospects
Parra nearly made South Bend's Opening Day roster in 2006 as an 18-year-old, but a nagging hamstring injury ended his chances. He made up for lost time this year, winning the MWL batting title (.320) while displaying the league's purest hitting ability and strongest outfield arm. His constant energy also drew praise. "That might not be the last batting title he wins," another scout said. "His batting practice is so impressive. He never turns on a ball or hits it out of the park. It's hands inside the ball and spray, spray, spray, a page right out of the Tony Gwynn B.P. book. Then in games, he can turn on balls and hit them out of the park." With a quick bat and sound swing mechanics, Parra projects as a .290-.300 hitter with 15-20 homers annually. Those numbers would play better in center field, and while he saw action there for South Bend, his slighty below-average speed makes that unrealistic in the majors. His instincts give him basestealing ability and good range for right field, though there's some concern that he could become a tweener rather than a big league regular.
Gifted young outfielders are plentiful in the Diamondbacks system, and they have another now that Parra has emerged. He ranked among the Pioneer League batting and stolen-base leaders as a 19-year-old, while also toting the circuit's best outfield arm. He's very refined for his age, controlling the strike zone well and using his speed well on the bases. The only thing currently missing from his right-field package is power, but he centers the ball so easily on the bat that he should become a home run threat once he strengthens his 6-foot-1, 188-pound frame. He has a good approach, though he did struggle with inside pitches.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Southern League in 2009
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009
- Rated Best Defensive Outfielder in the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009
- Rated Best Defensive Outfielder in the Southern League in 2008
- Rated Best Defensive Outfielder in the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008
- Rated Best Batting Prospect in the Midwest League in 2007
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Midwest League in 2007