Colorado Rockies: Bud Black Expecting Parra to Bounce Back in 2017
There have been a lot of questions ever since the Colorado Rockies ended last season about how Gerardo Parra would fit into the team’s plans in 2017. New Colorado manager Bud Black addressed some of his thoughts about Parra on Sunday.
Last season was anything but a good first impression for Parra in a Colorado uniform. We talked a lot about Parra’s shortcomings in 2016 in this article. However, Black is ready to look past Parra’s pedestrian .253 average and just nine walks in 381 plate appearances from last season.
“Last year was a rough year for him, no doubt about that,” Black said. “There’s still a skill set in there that helps a Major League team. I like the versatility. I know they popped him in at first base and that could prove to be valuable as well. Whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, we talked about the talent that you have on your roster. Common sense tells me that the more good players you have, the better off you’re going to be. I think he’s a good player. He just has to bounce back.”
More from Rox Pile
- A Colorado Rockies Thanksgiving
- Colorado Rockies: What if Todd Helton had played football instead?
- Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon out for the season
- Colorado Rockies: Injuries shift look of roster ahead of Dodgers series
- Colorado Rockies: Has Sean Bouchard earned a second look in 2023?
Yes, Black is talking about Parra possibly playing first base at some point again this season. It’s part of the roster versatility that should be a strength for the Rockies in 2017. New signees Ian Desmond and Alexi Amarista have the capability to play multiple positions … just like Parra.
“My expectations are of the player I have in my mind from what I saw in Arizona,” Black said on Sunday when asked about his 2017 expectations for Parra. “There was a stretch in Milwaukee where he put it together too and that’s my visual of him. A guy who can play all three outfield positions and we can move him to first base. At points in his career, he’s been a formidable offensive performer. He was able to pop the ball out of the ball park. Show some power and hit for average. Make plays in the outfield. Accurate arm. A good all-around player. My expectation is to see that come back.
“We talk about the pride factor of players who have off years. Players don’t get to this level unless they have a lot of pride.”
Black is following the cues of Colorado general manager Jeff Bridich, who talked to Parra after season’s end and told him to put 2016 behind him. That’s asking Parra to do a lot, not only because of his poor statistics but also because of a June ankle injury that cost him his health throughout the rest of the campaign.
“Players put pressure on themselves for a lot of different reasons,” Black said. “The best advice you can give is to say, ‘Hey man, play your game and be yourself. You have talent.’ You can’t force anything.”
Next: Grading and Analyzing Colorado's 2016 Outfielders
Competing with David Dahl for the starting role in left field, Parra will have to become the player Black envisions rather than the one Rockies fans saw way too often in 2016.