Gerardo Parra

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Gerardo Enrique Parra

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Biographical Information[edit]

Gerardo Parra reached the majors at age 22. He made the postseason All-Star team for his league each of his first three pro seasons before missing in 2008, his 4th year.

Parra was signed by Arizona Diamondbacks scout Miguel Nava at age 17. He hit .384/.444/.561 for the DSL Diamondbacks (Boca Chica?) in 2005, scoring 53 runs in 64 games. He stole 26 bases in 36 tries and led the Dominican Summer League in batting average. He made the DSL All-Star team as one of the outfielders. Gerardo batted .328/.386/.467 for the 2006 Missoula Osprey with 23 steals in 30 attempts. He He hit .396 against southpaws. He tied for 5th in the Pioneer League in stolen bases, was 9th in average and tied Chris Valaika for the most hits (89). He was again an All-Star outfielder in his league. Baseball America rated him as the #5 prospect in the circuit, right behind Sean O'Sullivan and well ahead of league MVP Valaika.

Parra split 2007 between the South Bend Silver Hawks (.320/.370/.435, 24 SB in 32 tries, 10 outfield assists in 110 games) and the Visalia Oaks (.284/.303/.382 in 24 games). His 171 hits led Diamondbacks farmhands. He became the first Silver Hawks player to win the Midwest League batting title, beating out Travis Snider by .007. He joined Snider and MVP Gorkys Hernandez on the league All-Star outfield. Baseball America rated him as the #8 prospect in the MWL, third among outfielders behind Hernandez and Snider. They rated him as being the best batting prospect and having the best outfield arm in the loop.

The young Venezuelan star entered 2008 as the #3 prospect in the Diamondbacks organization according to Baseball America. He split the year between the Oaks (.301/.381/.413 in 50 games) and the Mobile BayBears (.275/.341/.419 in 73 games). He stole 28 bases overall, while being caught 13 times. He had 13 outfield assists but 11 errors. Parra played in the 2008 Futures Game as a backup for the World team. He entered in the 5th inning as the right fielder, replacing Wilkin Ramirez in the lineup; Gorkys Hernandez moved from RF to LF as Ramirez had manned left. He quickly saw action, catching a Dexter Fowler fly that inning. In the 6th, facing Jake Arrieta, he flew out to Greg Golson. He came up in the 8th against Casey Weathers and singled to load the bases with one out but was stranded.

Parra was on Venezuela's roster for the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Gerardo began 2009 with the Mobile BayBears. After 29 games, he was hitting .361/.469/.491 and had scored 23 times. With Arizona in need of offensive help, he was called up to the majors, with Josh Wilson being dropped from the roster in his favor. He debuted in the big leagues a week after his 22nd birthday, batting second and playing left field. He homered off Johnny Cueto in his first major league at-bat and finished the day 1 for 4. He was the 100th player in MLB history to homer in his first at-bat. He hit .290 with 5 homers and 60 RBIs in 120 games for the D-Backs as a rookie, claiming the job of starter of starter in left field.

Parra was a regular in the Diamondbacks' outfield from 2009 to 2014, first mainly in left, and then in right field beginning in 2013, although he saw playing time at all three spots. He won two Gold Gloves during the period, in 2011 when the award was for outfielders in general, and in 2013 specifically for his play in right field. With the bat, he was a line drive hitter with limited power - his highest total for homers during that stretch was just 10, in 2013, but with decent batting averages, with a high of .292 in 2011. Still, with few homers and middling walk totals, his OPS+ was usually below 100, except for 2011 when it reached 113. 2011 also marked his first postseason appearance, but it wasn't too great as he went 1 for 18 in Arizona's loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in the Division Series.

On [[July 31], 2014, he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in return for Anthony Banda and Mitch Haniger, launching a more nomadic phase in his career. He hit .268 in 46 games the rest of that year, consistent with his prior performance, but then got off to a red hot start with Milwaukee in 2015, as he batted .328 in his first 100 games. For the second straight year, he was moved at the trading deadline, heading to the Baltimore Orioles in return for P Zach Davies. However, he fell back to earth after the trade, hitting just .238 the rest of the way. However, his combined batting line of .291 with 14 homers and 51 RBIs in 15 games, with an OPS+ of 111 made it one of his most productive years overall and he turned this into a three-year contract with the Colorado Rockies.

Parra's first year in Colorado, in 2016 was a bit of a disappointment, as he hit just .253 with 7 homers in 107 games, and in the favorable hitting environment of Coors Field, that was equivalent to a very poor OPS+ of 65. However, he bounced back with two better seasons in 2017­ and 2018, during which his performance was equivalent to what he had done in Arizona. He played 115 and 142 games, hitting .309 and .284, and appeared in the postseason both years. In the 2017 Wild Card Game, he went 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI as Colorado lost to Arizona, then the next year he went a combined 4 for 8 as the Rockies advanced to the Division Series stage before being eliminated.

Facing a weak free agent market after the 2018 season, it took Gerardo a while to fin a team before he signed with the San Francisco Giants on February 14th. It should have been a good fit as the Giants were weak in the outfield and did not really have any prospects pushing for playing time, but he failed to seize the opportunity, hitting just .198 in his first 30 games and was released on May 7th. A week later, he signed with the Washington Nationals who wanted him solely as a back-up outfielder and pinch-hitter. At the suggestion of his very young son, he changed his walk-up music in order to change his luck with his new team, adopting the children's tune "Baby Shark" as a lark. However, he hit a home run in the first game in which he played the song, and it quickly went viral, as the Nats started to come out of a deep slump that had almost cost manager Dave Martinez his job and the fans began to sing along loudly with the music, and then dress up in shark costumes as he became a meme, in spite of his limited role on the team. He hit .250 in 89 games and 188 at-bats, but with good power - 11 doubles and 8 homers - as the Nats claimed a wild card spot in the postseason. he did not see much action in the Nationals' conquest of their first-ever World Series title, going 1 for 6 with a run scored in the postseason, but the "Baby Shark" theme got national attention during that time. Following the season, on November 19th, he signed a free agent contract with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball.

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