GERARDO PARRA: 2016 GRADE F (fWAR -1.8)
In isolation statistics are meaningless. Especially advanced statistics. Although advanced statistics attempt to make life easier, they are not without flaws. Wins Above Replacement is an attempt to evaluate all of a player’s contributions on a baseball field. A difficult task to say the least. Therefore stats like this should be taken with a grain of salt. Wait … what does have to do with Gerardo Parra?
Well, according to fWAR Parra was the worst player in all of baseball in 2016. That’s hard to believe. Parra wasn’t a superstar, but the worst player in all of baseball!? We need to run a thought exercise.
Player A: 375 PA, 2 HR, 44 R, 24 RBI, 14 SB, .217/.260/.300 DEF: 2 A, 2 E, 170 PO.
Player B: 289 PA, 2 HR, 18 R, 19 RBI, 3 SB, .205/.294/.261 DEF: 4 A, 1 E, 134 PO.
Which player is better? Well, it is difficult to tell because both stat lines are similar. Both players hit below .220, one had a better OBP but also had an equal but opposite difference in slugging. Now, which player is Gerardo Parra? The answer is neither. The fact is that both of these players posted a better fWAR than Parra. In 2016 Parra’s stats went like this: 381 PA, 7 HR, 45 R, 39 RBI, 6 SB, .253/.271/.399 DEF: 9 A, 5 E, 116 PO.
Getting away from the numbers, the simple eye test tells us that Parra was a better player than both Player A and Player B. The only explanation this writer can compute for Parra having a lower fWAR is for the fact that Parra had fewer putouts and uncharacteristically had five errors. All of this being said, Parra clearly had a lackluster 2016. Once you consider the size of Parra’s contract and his output, it simply wasn’t good enough. The good news is that the Rockies have a two-time Gold Glover winner with a career .274 average as their reserve outfielder heading into 2017. Expect a bounce back season for Parra. Also, the irony of bashing fWAR is not lost on this writer.