Top Prospect Alert Features

Top Prospect Alert Baseball News Blog

Top Prospect Alert Fantasy Player Reports

Exclusive Prospect Interviews

Top Prospect Alert Original Stories

Prospect Photo Gallery

Top Prospect Alert Trivia

Top Prospect Alert Message Board

MLB Hat Store

Minor League Store

NFL Hat Store

NFL Team Apparel

NFL Player Jerseys

NCAA Hat Store

NBA Hat Store

NBA Player Jerseys


Baseball Coaching Videos ·
Cheerleading Coaching Videos
Football Coaching Videos ·
Softball Coaching Videos ·
Tennis Coaching Videos ·
Tom Emanski Baseball Videos
More Sports Coming Soon

Binoculars · Goggles
Monoculars · Scopes

Web Hosting Reviews

Digital Cameras:

Cannon Powershot ·
Fugi Finepix ·
Kodak Easyshare ·
Olympus Stylus Verve ·

Pre-Lit Christmas Trees

Skin Care Product Store



 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Manuel Parra

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 10/30/82, Age: 20, Height: 6’3’’, Weight: 200, Bats: L, Throws: L. Acquired: Brewers – Drafted in the 26th Round of the 2001 Draft (American River JC). 2002 Stats: (Rookie – AZ Brewers) 0-0, 4.50 ERA, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 HR, 0 BB, 4 K; (Rookie – Ogden) 3-1, 3.21 ERA, 48 IP, 59 H, 3 HR, 10 BB, 51 K. 2003 Stats: (Low-A – Beloit) 11-2, 2.75 ERA, 134 IP, 124 H, 9 HR, 22 BB, 113 K.

Manny Parra is one of the few players in the recent past that the Brewers have broken the piggy bank for, dishing out $1.55 million to sign him as a draft-and-follow in the middle of the 2001 amateur draft. Their faith (and cash) appears to have been justified this season, as Parra has broken out in the Midwest League, giving the Brewers yet another blue-chipper to add to their vastly improved farm system. Parra, a Sacramento area native, was not scouted coming out of high school, so he decided to attend nearby American River Junior College. In his time there Parra improved dramatically, and the Brewers chose him in the middle rounds of the 2001 draft, hoping to buy both the organization and the player some time in the decision-making process. I am a bit torn on the use of draft-and-follow (DFE) for the "small market" teams, otherwise known as the teams that refuse to spend frequently. Sure, it buys the organization time to watch the development curve of the player, but if the player blossoms as they hope he will, he may very well price himself right out of the team’s range. For teams like the Yankees (who, incidentally, have used the DFE strategy extremely well over the years) that have money to burn, it’s like locking up the rights to multiple top-round picks for 12 months every draft, at least it is if your scouts are adept at unearthing these late bloomers. For the more frugal teams (to be polite), they often won’t take the gamble anyway, even if the player outperforms their wildest expectations. The latter type of situation leaves me wondering what exactly the teams were hoping for when they called the players’ names. In Parra’s case, the Brewers did decide to put up top-round cash the day before their rights to him expired, so off he went to rookie ball. In Ogden, the Brewers had him working on throwing more fastballs, fewer curveballs, and reducing his pitch counts. He did all of those things, posted a better than 5:1 K:BB ratio, but still gave up 59 hits in 48 innings. This season in Beloit, Parra has barely allowed more than a baserunner an inning, thanks to some tremendous control, and has once again put up better than 5:1 K:BB ratio. Parra’s repertoire includes a riding fastball (4-seamer), a running fastball (2-seamer), a cutter, a curveball, and a changeup. He throws in the 90-94 range comfortably with both fastballs, and his curveball definitely shows signs of being a quality strikeout pitch. As with most young pitchers, his changeup is the last pitch to come along, but it is improving nicely. Between the change, the cutter, and the two-seamer, he should have plenty of stuff to challenge right-handed hitters. His control, as evidenced by the statistics above, is outstanding for a youngster. At this point, he still gives up a few more homers than you would prefer a pitcher of his caliber would be allowing, but that’s small potatoes to some extent. Parra is a very poised 20-year old, and should be a part of the big club’s rotation sooner than you might think.

The Brewers are much closer to competing than most of the other bottom ten franchises, and the development of players like Manny Parra is the primary reason. From the current major league roster, only Richie Sexson, Geoff Jenkins, and Ben Sheets should be assured of jobs in 2006, and even at that point Jenkins will be on the downhill side of his career. Fortunately, Prince Fielder, Brad Nelson, Corey Hart, JJ Hardy, and David Krynzel will be up to bolster the offense, and while I don’t see anyone coming up that will wrest the "ace" title away from Ben Sheets, guys like Luis Martinez, Mike Jones (the arm injury just delays his arrival by another year), Pedro Liriano, Jeff Housman, Tom Wilhelmsen, and Parra are all good enough to have chances at rotation spots in a few years. Parra’s control is the key to my thinking that, eventually, he could slot into the #2 or #3 spot in the Brewers rotation. Luis Martinez has great stuff, but even in his successful 2003 he has walked over 4.0 batters per nine. That won’t get it done in the big leagues. Mike Jones, if he comes back satisfactorily from arm surgery, is good enough to be a #1, but the improvements that Ben Sheets has made with his control this year strike me as the kind that will stick. He should be around (and good) for a long time. I would project a rotation of Sheets, Jones, Parra, Martinez, and (I’m not kidding) Matt Kinney or Pedro Liriano by 2006. That, coupled with the offense, could have the Brewers above .500 for the first time in a very long while. Parra is supposedly battling through a sore shoulder right now, so health, as always, is a major issue in his future. If he can make it another two years or so, I would say he has a good shot to progress as expected. He did have a stress fracture in his elbow while he was in high school, but that was apparently unrelated to baseball and should probably not affect our estimates of his health going forward. Parra will probably complete this year in Beloit and move straight up to Huntsville for 2004. The Brewers like to skip most of their better pitching prospects over the bandbox in High Desert, and with good reason. If High Desert’s park were in the majors, it would inflate offense almost as much as Coors Field, according to the minor league numbers that we’ve seen. Pitching in Huntsville next season would put Parra in line for a call-up at some point during the year, and a shot at a back-of-the-rotation spot for 2005. For a comparison, it is uncanny that Manuel Parra is a spitting image of one of my least favorite pitchers’ in the majors: Mark Buehrle. Same stuff, same size, similar stats at a similar age. If he can rise that quickly, the Brewers will definitely have themselves something, although Parra would be well served to keep the ball in the hitting zone a tad less than Buehrle. Regardless, I think that the Brewers clearly have a future member of their rotation in Parra.


Top Prospect Alert is owned by:
Ben Lipson

© 1999 - 2004 All rights reserved to Top Prospect Do not copy without permission from the owners of Top Prospect

Fantasy Baseball Central
You'll find it at .... Fantasy Baseball Central. Fantasy & Rotisserie Baseball strategy and advice. Plus over 750 links to information on Fantasy Baseball."
Visit Fantasy Baseball Central!

TPA Hat Store

Choose from over 1000 MLB Hats

Choose from over
3600 College Hats
from over 250 Schools