Gerardo Parra: Brewers Newcomer Runner-Up

stevenjewell
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Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Garza           Total Votes: 9   First Place: 4 (Write-up here)
Gerardo Parra     Total Votes: 4   First Place: 1
Mark Reynolds   Total Votes: 3   First Place: 1
Jeremy Jeffress  Total Votes: 2   First Place: 1
Zach Duke            Total Votes: 2   First Place: 0
Will Smith            Total Votes: 1   First Place: 0

This season, LF/CF/RF Gerardo Parra was our Brewers Comeback Player of the Year runner-up.  Matt Garza won the award handily, in part due to a lack of any true competition. This is clear, given that a fourth outfielder who made only 134 plate appearances with the Brewers came in second.

Parra, who has two Gold Gloves to his credit, made his presence immediately known via solid defensive play, in part while replacing the defense-deficient Khris Davis in left field late in games.

Parra actually had a negative WAR as a member of the Crew, but this is in part due to being forced into center field duties, where he was below average according to defensive metrics. Parra in center was still a blessing, however, as it kept Logan Schafer‘s career .603 OPS out of the lineup.

In addition, Parra is a plus-plus defender in the corners, and saved several runs that would have easily scored on Davis. He also made offensive contributions, hitting 3 home runs with a .708 OPS over 46 games.

In many ways, Parra had the worst statistical season of his career, but his new job as the Brewers’ fourth outfielder should suit him even if he doesn’t bounce back. Defensive prowess has always been Parra’s calling card, but now more than ever his fielding excellence is necessary to boost his value.

There have been talks that Parra could platoon with Davis against righties, but Davis posted a better OPS than Parra against them, .749 to .704. It is possible that the Brewers would overlook this in favor of runs saved by Parra’s defense, but I believe the Crew still plans to let Davis evolve into more than a platoon option.

For a few years now the Brewers have lacked a viable bench bat, and while Parra may be more of a bench glove, the Crew also hasn’t had a solid backup in the outfield either. Parra looks to stabilize the Brewers outfield depth going into 2015 as one of the best fourth outfielders in the game.

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