Jarrod Parker goes for the Athletics today as Oakland comes into town for a four game set with the Blue Jays. Oakland had a fairly comfortable lead in the AL West a little while ago, but Texas is 9-1 in their last 10 games due to a cupcake schedule in August. This means that going into tonight's game, Oakland and Texas are tied atop the division along with holding the second wildcard spot. Jarrod Parker was drafted 9th overall in 2007 out of high school by Arizona and is in his second full year in the major leagues. The 24-year-old right hander has a 4.02 ERA and a 4.63 FIP in 22 starts with a modest 1.84 K/BB this year. Parker hasn't got enough strikeouts to be a very dominant pitcher so far in his major league career.
Parker's repertoire consists of a sinker, fastball, changeup, and slider with his hard stuff sitting mid-90's. Before breaking into the majors, Parker's slider was considered to be his best pitch, but his changeup has become nasty and gets a swing and a miss more than 50% of the time. That being said, his slider is still a plus pitch and hitters rarely square it up for anything more than weak contact.
This is what Parker's wicked changeup looks like:
There's also a few good posts on Parker over at Fangraphs. First one is on his changeup and the other one is an interview with him. I'm sure you've gathered that Jarrod Parker is very good and eventually he's going to be a dominate pitcher at the front end of the Oakland A's rotation.
One to Watch
Eric Sogard is in the midst of a great stretch for Oakland with the left handed hitting infielder hitting .311 since the beginning of July. He also made Matt Garza go crazy with his bunting skills a few days ago. The Oakland lineup is pretty balanced so pitching around the crafty Sogard likely won't be something that Blue Jays' starter Esmil Rogers considers.
On the topic of Rogers, he is on a run of bad starts and his grip on a spot in the rotation may be loosening. Two starts ago in Oakland he went just 4.1 innings allowing 8 earned runs.
The lineup that I'd like to see against the fairly split-neutral Parker would be:
- Reyes SS
- Lind 1B
- Bautista RF
- Encarnacion DH
- Rasmus CF
- Davis LF
- Izturis 2B
- Lawrie 3B
- Thole C