Parker French (Photo by Tony Farlow)
DENVER—High Class A Modesto righthander Parker French led the California League in ERA and WHIP, stellar achievements even more notable given Modesto’s anemic offense and 60-80 record.
French, 23, was the Rockies’ fifth-round pick in 2015 out of Texas. He began his first full season 2-1, 1.17 in four starts at low Class A Asheville before a promotion to Modesto.
“He’s made a bigger jump developmentally this year than we all expected, which is a credit to him,” farm director Zach Wilson said.
“He’s got a tremendous work ethic. He’s extremely mature in the way he goes about his work and who he is as a teammate and how he focuses on the things he needs to improve on.”
Parker logged 154.2 innings at Modesto and went 8-9, 2.85 with a 1.04 WHIP. He pitches consistently at the knees with a power sinker that pitching coordinator Doug Linton called “short, sharp and late.”
French complements his sinker with an above-average changeup and average slider that flashes above-average.
“The biggest delight we got out of his development this year was that his sinker had the same action—but the velocity was up,” Wilson said. “There were times he was touching 95 (mph), and he was averaging 93 . . .
“It certainly opened our eyes a little bit that he could do that and keep the same action that he had on the ball.”
French yielded nine homers in 177.2 total innings this year and averaged 1.5 walks and 6.3 strikeouts per nine innings. He excelled at drawing soft contact early in counts.
“He throws strikes,” Linton said. “He needs to throw, I don’t want to say more balls, but be able to throw balls when he wants to. He just really needs to expand the zone to his advantage.”
In other words, French needs to hone his ability to execute what Hall of Famer Greg Maddux called a pitching tenet: make the balls look like strikes and the strikes look like balls.
“That’s definitely the next step for him,” Wilson said, “but with his stuff and his makeup, I think he’ll make that adjustment very quickly.”
• Participants in the Rockies’ month-long Dominican instructional league program included shortstop Brendan Rodgers, second baseman-center fielder Forrest Wall, outfielder Cole Anderson and catcher Brian Serven.