Editor's note: We've made a change with the PuRPs list this year, deciding to unveil each player individually over the course of a few weeks. To keep track of the rankings, keep checking our PuRPs list StoryStream.
PuRP No. 11: Kyle Parker (314 points, 16 ballots) | Summer 2014 Ranking: 9 | High Ballot 5, Mode Ballot 10
Parker, a 25-year-old righty outfielder/first baseman currently on the 40-man roster, is a prospect who has moved up the system ladder pretty consistently despite never really exciting me with his potential. The former Clemson quarterback and 2010 first-round pick of the Rockies was expected to crush homers at the lower levels given his prodigious power when drafted, but he failed to dominate in Low-A, and in the first half of 2012, was slowed by a hand injury.
However, there was a reason that Parker was a first rounder despite never fully investing all of his time in baseball. The power is there, the patience at the plate is improving, and the athleticism (for a corner outfield position, anyway) is certainly present. though his major league future is most likely to come at first base. And the results finally started to reflect the tools: Parker's line in Modesto ended up a robust .308/.415/.562 (152 wRC+) before he posted an above-average season at Tulsa (.288/.345/.492, 135 wRC+).
In fact, Parker has been above average offensively at every minor league stop. This season in Colorado Springs, Parker posted a pretty typical Pacific Coast League line of .289/.336/.450 (good for a 102 wRC+) in 542 plate appearances. He struggled mightily in a big league cameo, racking up 14 strikeouts in 26 plate appearances, but three of those were against Clayton Kershaw during his almost perfect game and many others were against high-leverage relievers, so I won't hold that too much against him.
Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs placed Parker 15th among Rockies prospects. His take:
Parker is another in a long line of Rockies' quarterback picks (he started at Clemson) that includes Todd Helton, Seth Smith and Russell Wilson. Parker signed for $1.4 million as a late first rounder in 2010 and has hit well at every level, but scouts are skeptical this will continue at the big league level. There's some swing and miss to his game that scouts think will increase against top-end pitching, holding back in above average raw power while his defensive indifference limits him to first base, likely in a platoon role.
In addition, Nick Faleris of Baseball Prospectus labeled Parker as one of Colorado's three "Factor on the Farm" players for 2015. Faleris on Parker:
Parker didn't dazzle in his brief major-league stints last summer, but there is still enough pop in the profile to warrant a look in 2015. The Clemson product is unlikely to hit for average thanks to pull-happy tendencies that yank his barrel off line and provide significant hurdles to proper plate coverage on the outer half. Still, Parker could prove useful as a power bat off the bench capable of spot starts at first base and either outfield corner, albeit with limited defensive value.
I'm a believer in Parker's potential MLB talent (I slotted him 13th on my list), though I'm not as high on him as I should be given his placement on this list. I believe he belongs here, but I'm just not yet a believer that he'll be a true impact player at the major league level. He'll be on the fringes of the roster conversation for 2015, but it wouldn't surprise me to see Parker optioned up and down multiple times this year.
Contract Status: 2010 first round, 40-man roster, two options remaining
MLB ETA: Now-ish