Welcome to the 2017 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at the in-season contributions of every player to don the purple this past season. The goal wasn’t and isn’t to quibble with order. Instead, it’s to get a snapshot of a player along with a look forward. For that reason, we simply sorted by Baseball-Reference’s Wins Above Replacement (rWAR) and will start at the bottom and end up at the top.
No 16, Gerardo Parra (0.9 rWAR)
After an injury-marred first season with the Rockies in 2016, outfielder Gerardo Parra was a solid contributor with some big moments in 2017’s playoff run.
Parra came in last place on this list for 2016, a season that saw him hit just .253/.271/.399 and accumulate -2.7 WAR in 102 games, missing a long stretch of time with an ankle injury after a collision with Trevor Story.
His starting spot was in doubt coming into 2017, but with an injury keeping David Dahl out for the season, Parra played more than he did the year prior, getting into 115 games and hitting .309/.341/.452 with 10 home runs and 71 RBI, a line that looks much more like what the Rockies expected when they signed him to a three-year, $27 million deal after the 2015 season. In fact, both his .309 average and .793 OPS were career highs for Parra.
In addition to his strong surface-level numbers, Parra also cut his strikeout rate from 19.2 percent in 2016 to 15.8 percent this season, and nearly doubled his walk rate from 2.4 percent to 4.7 percent. He also had a strong season in the field, being named a finalist for the NL Gold Glove in left field along with Miami’s Marcell Ozuna and Cincinnati’s Adam Duvall. He had 5 DRS in the outfield this year, up drastically from his -8 mark in 2016.
Parra did miss a month in the summer with a strained quadriceps muscle, but excelled both immediately before and after the injury, hitting .467/.482/.653 in 21 games across June and July with eight doubles and a pair of home runs.
A healthy number of Rockies fans doubted Parra coming into 2017, and who could blame him after his rough debut with the club, but he proved to be a valuable asset, especially given the injuries and ineffectiveness that hampered other Rockies outfielders.
With Carlos Gonzalez likely out of the equation, Parra looks to figure in the mix for the two corner outfield spots once again next season. He will likely have a battle for playing time on his hands, though, as Dahl, Raimel Tapia and even Ian Desmond could find themselves flanking Charlie Blackmon in the Rockies outfield.