The Colorado Rockies designated outfielder/first baseman Kyle Parker for assignment on Tuesday, possibly marking the end of the 2010 first-round draft pick's tenure with the organization.
That the Rockies chose to remove the once-promising Parker -- and not one of a handful of low-ceiling relievers and utility players littering the roster -- from the 40-man to accommodate newly signed Gerardo Parra is telling. Parker flashed big-time power at the lower levels of the minors but struggled to hit consistently in Triple-A and never really hit at all in the majors, apparently forcing the Rockies to sour on him much more quickly than players who had similar issues in the past.
That's a nice change of pace from the Dan O'Dowd era -- speaking of which, that could be why Bridich decided to cut ties with Parker, who wasn't drafted under the current Rockies GM's watch, so quickly -- but it's still nothing short of disheartening that yet another Colorado first-round pick is on the verge of flaming out.
Beginning with Greg Reynolds in 2006 and ending with Parker and Peter Tago in 2010, the Rockies' first-round picks from each season of their competitive (term used loosely, but what else can we call it?) stretch have compiled 3.8 rWAR during their time with the club. That's especially unimpressive when considering that two players -- Rex Brothers, whom Colorado non-tendered last month, and ultimate wild card Tyler Matzek -- combined for almost double that total (7.5), and that the Rockies had eight total first rounders picks in that time frame.
Compare that 3.8 rWAR with the value provided by the first-round picks for the rest of the NL West clubs over that same period:
The Padres -- the only team that fared worse during the Rockies -- at least drafted Logan Forsythe, who has gone on to provide good value for the Tampa Bay Rays. The D-backs also produced players who either turned into contributors or, in the case of Max Scherzer, stars for other teams. Until Parker, Tago or Brothers wind up doing the same for another team, the Rockies can't say the same thing.
Much of the Dodgers' value can be placed on one player, Clayton Kershaw. L.A. didn't make great use of its high picks other than that, but their selection of Kershaw shows the value of landing a first-round star at least once in a blue moon.
And how about the Giants? Constantly chided for not having an upper-echelon farm system, San Francisco managed to produce Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey during that five-year stretch. Those players helped the Giants win three World Series titles during the following half-decade.
The Rockies, of course, did a good job finding later-round value with the likes of Nolan Arenado (2009 second round), Charlie Blackmon (2008 second round) and Corey Dickerson (2010 eighth round), among others. But Colorado was unable to bolster its biggest need with any players capable of providing much more than replacement value. For the past few years, we've witnessed the consequences of that, with the Rockies averaging 93 losses per season since 2011.
The bad news is that the Rockies have received -0.9 rWAR from their first-round picks from 2011 through 2015. But 2013 first rounder Jon Gray looks like the real deal while Trevor Story and Tyler Anderson (2011), as well as David Dahl (2012) and Kyle Freeland (2014), are close to taking the leap to the big leagues.
Those players, each a product of a renewed focus on player development, will need to give the Rockies a whole lot more than their predecessors did in order for the team to start contending sometime in the next couple of years. As for Parker and his generation of fellow first rounders, it's not too late to pick up the pace, but odds are that group will go down in the books as the one that set the Rockies back a half decade.
It's a harsh realization, but it's one the Rockies must learn from in order to be better in the future.