You’re reading the 2018 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at the season had by every player to play for the Rockies in 2018. The purpose of this list is to provide a snapshot of the player in context. The “Ranking” is an organizing principle that’s drawn from Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR). It’s not something the staff debated. We’ll begin with the player with the least amount of rWAR and end up with the player with the most.
★ ★ ★
No. 17, Gerardo Parra (0.5 rWAR)
Much has been written about Gerardo Parra’s time as a Colorado Rockie. The outfielder signed in 2016 seemingly as a stop gap veteran for the Rockies many outfield prospects in the minors but he became so much more and so much less seemingly all at once during his tenure.
Parra’s 2018 began with a starting role that he struggled in and ended in a limited bench role that he excelled in — overall he wasn’t good by most measures. He had a .714 OPS playing half his games at Coors Field, his OPS+ dropping to a middling 82. Parra’s statistics don’t lead you to any good conclusions and his time as a Rockie may not be remembered fondly by many.
But Parra was a rare player who seemed to transcend his play on the field. Even during his worst slumps, his bottom of the barrel ABs, there was a feeling that Gerardo was a key part of the team. Maybe it was his Instagram, his playful antics during pregame, or maybe it was just that guys seemed to be drawn to him. Whatever it was, Parra’s struggles were never so overwhelming that his off field value was pushed out of your mind.
The idea of veteran presence is mocked throughout baseball communities. For the most part, the mocking is justified. Signing bad old players for some mythical presence in the locker room is a misguided team building exercise forged by ex-players. For Parra, this definitely seemed to be the way he was trending. Bad, aging, money player who didn’t provide the Rockies with anything but some mythical support that couldn’t be quantified. But, by the end of it, with Parra racking up pinch hits and supporting the club throughout a tight playoff race, it started to feel like when you start to believe in ghosts. Who is to say that math has all the answers? Certainly not mathematicians. They would never tell you that math has all the answers. So could it be that Gerardo Parra really was providing much needed veteran presence?
I would hate to be a just asking questions kind of guy, but I’m just asking questions here. Overall, was Parra good on the baseball field in 2018? No, that answer is no, and we have enough evidence to point us there. But was Parra valuable to the Rockies for things he provided in the locker room, online, and with fans? Well, I guess that’s subjective.
Gerardo Parra was a land of contrasts. There was good, there was bad, there was ugly, and there was discourse. Oh, there was discourse.
The Rockies declined Gerardo’s 2019 team option, so it seems as though his time in Colorado is at an end. If he leaves, he leaves Colorado remembered as someone who was simultaneously hated and adored by fans. Which, hey, at least he’ll be remembered. There are worse fates.