Top 2016 San Francisco Giants Prospects: #15
#15: Jarrett Parker, OF, Age 27: Parker is one of the more interesting names on this list, and I certainly didn’t see it coming. The Giants 2nd round pick in 2010 (just behind Gary Brown) never really had a breakout minor league season. Yes, he always hit his fair share of HR and swiped a number of bases (28 in 2012), but they were usually matched with low batting averages and gaudy strikeout totals. While Brown was ascending to the top of Giants prospects lists, Parker was being asked to repeat at San Jose in 2012 and again at Richmond in 2014. His numbers, while consistent across the levels, were far from head-turning. In 2015, however, he finally had his breakout.
When Parker got called to the Majors for the first time last year, I couldn’t remember a hitter looking more lost at the plate. I honestly wondered whether he’d ever get another chance in the bigs. But Parker proved me wrong in a big way, surging offensively in Sacramento for 23 HR, then going on a September big-fly binge that will be hard to forget. I was listening to KNBR on my way home during the 3-HR game in Oakland, and Jon Miller’s call gave me goosebumps. There are thousands of minor league prospects in baseball at any one point in time… do you know how many of them will do what Parker did in September 2015 for the Giants? Not very many.
So, now the question becomes, is Parker merely a flash in the pan, or can he continue to produce at the highest level? It’s hard to imagine him (or Mac Williamson) getting a roster spot out of spring camp if the regulars are healthy, especially since Parker would make for 3 LHH outfielders on the 25-man. I just don’t see that happening. With Parker, you get a guy who is solidly built, athletic enough to play any OF position (though he really doesn’t stand out in one spot), and a major hacker at the plate. He might be the greatest “3-true outcomes” hitter in the system, as he has a high tendency to either walk, strike out, or drive one over the fence.
Personally, I think Parker could make for an interesting platoon partner for an MLB team. He should provide nice bench depth for a few years, at the very least. But after hitting a combined 29 HR in 2015, he’s a guy who we have to take seriously at this point.