This is an ongoing series where I recount some of the memorable moments of 2015 involving Virginia ballplayers. In this installment, I look at Giants OF Jarrett Parker (Stafford).
Parker, a LF, was a 2nd round pick (74th overall) in the 2010 FY Player Draft. He would spend the 2011-2012 seasons with Single-A San Jose and for 2013-2014 he came back home, sort of. He would play with the Richmond Flying Squirrels of AA, and just 75 minutes from home. Over the course of his first 4 pro seasons, Parker slammed 61 HR, stole 73 bases, and batted .255. His main struggle was his high strikeout total, as he did top 100 in each of the 4 seasons.
While with Richmond in August 2014, the Giants happened to be on the east coast for a series with the Mets, and Parker was called up to the big team and spent one game in the dugout with them. He did not get into the game and flew back to the west coast with the team, who then sent him down to nearby AAA Fresno.
On June 10 of this year, Parker was called back to the big team, but 4 games and one hit in 11 AB later, he was returned to Fresno. He came back on September 11 and got his first ML RBI that night. He was rewarded with a string of games of playing time, and through September 25th, was batting .318. Parker was starting to show a lot, A LOT of promise, as the Giants settled in for a game against their cross-bay rivals, the Oakland As, on the night of Saturday, September 26.
If Parker was showing promise before this game, he made Giants brass stand up and take notice afterwards.
Parker slammed 3 Homeruns, and drove in 7 runs, in a Giants 14-10 win over Oakland. He became the first Giants rookie to ever slam 3 homers in a single game, and the first Giants player with 3 HR and 7 RBIs in a game since……Willie Mays.
This game followed up homers in previous 2 games, giving him 5 HR in 3 games, and this monster game raised his batting average up to .370 and his on-base % to .414.
Parker continued his hot streak the next day, with 2 more hits, raising his average to .400 and his on-base % to .455. He leveled off after that, and when he got 2 hits in the season finale, he finished with a .347 batting average and a .407 on-base %.
From Colonial Forge HS in Stafford to success at UVA, to the major leagues, Jarrett Parker appears to have won himself a permanent spot with the San Francisco Giants. On Opening Day 2016, he will be 27.
The San Francisco Giants are now in a rebuilding mode. Winners of 3 World Series championships this decade, the Giants are on the verge of missing the postseason altogether in 2015. With that in mind, they are starting to give some younger players a chance to prove themselves by giving them regular playing time and seeing what they can do. While they have a solid nucleus of a lineup already (Belt, Panik, Duffy, Crawford), they are looking to add from within.
One such young player is OF Jarrett Parker (Stafford/UVA). Parker got a cup of coffee with the big club earlier in the summer, and after going 1-9 in 4 games, was returned to Triple-A. He came back to the big club with the September roster expansion, and after a few appearances as a pinch-hitter, got a start on September 20. Parker was starting to show a lot of promise, batting .318, when he entered Saturday’s game against the Oakland Athletics.
If Parker was showing signs of promise beforehand, his game yesterday afternoon across the Bay made Giants brass take notice, BIG TIME!
Parker clubbed three homeruns and drove in 7 runs, including a grand-slam homerun in the 8th inning to put the Giants ahead for good, as San Francisco won the slugfest 14-10.
A few other tidbits about Parker’s career game:
- He became the first rookie to hit 3 HR in a game since Andrew McCutchen in 2009 for the Pirates.
- The last Giants player to club 3 HR and 7 RBIs in a single game? Willie Mays.
- Parker has 5 HRs in his last 3 games-in fact, his last 9 at-bats! The last Giants player to homer in 3 straight games, including a multi-hr game in that binge? Brandon Belt in 2011.
Parker is batting .500 with 8 runs scored, 6 HRs, and 12 RBIs since coming back to the big club on September 11.
For years, even decades, the University of Virginia has been known as a hotbed of talent for the sport of football. (Every NFL draft since the early 1980s has seen at least one NFL player get drafted out of UVA.) But make way, football, Major League Baseball is gaining steam.
As of Tuesday, September 15th, when the Orioles recalled P Tyler Wilson (Midlothian) from Triple-A Norfolk, a record 10 Wahoos appear on major league rosters. Here is the rundown of the UVA-to-MLB pipeline:
San Francisco Giants reliever Javier Lopez (Fairfax) played at Virginia from 1996-1998. He currently leads all active major league players with 4 World Series rings. (2007 with the Red Sox and the three SF titles of the 2010s.)
St Louis Cardinals IF Mark Reynolds (Va Beach) played at Virginia from 2001-2004. His 236 career homers are 23rd among active major league players.
Washington Nationals IF Ryan Zimmerman (Va Beach) played at Virginia from 2003-2005. In the 2005 draft, he was selected in the first round by Washington, the very first draft choice in the history of the Washington Nationals, who had just moved to DC from Montreal. Zimmerman is the last player left from the team’s inaugural season in Washington, and has clearly become the face of the franchise. His 10 career Walk-off homers are 2 short of the NL record). On March 30th, 2008, he christened the new Nationals Park with a walk-off HR to beat the Braves. In the summer of 2015, he cracked the 200 HR milestone. In his time as a National, his resume also includes an all-star game, a Gold Glove, and 2 Silver Sluggers.
Oakland Athletics P Sean Dolittle played at Virginia from 2005-2007. In 2014 he was 10th in the AL with 22 saves, and made his first all-star game.
Also currently on Major League rosters: Cleveland Indians P Kyle Crockett (Poquoson), Arizona Diamondbacks IF Phil Gosselin, Tampa Bay Rays OF Brandon Guyer (Herndon), Seattle Mariners C John Hicks (Richmond), San Francisco Giants OF Jarrett Parker (Stafford), and Wilson.
Major League Baseball, Wahoo strong!!!!!!!!
Since moving from New York to San Francisco in time for the 1958 season, the San Francisco Giants have been, well, not inept, but highlights have been few and far between. Oh sure, they have had great players like Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, and other notable names. In 1989, they got swept in a World Series that was best known as the Earthquake Series. In 2012, Matt Cain joined a very exclusive fraternity by throwing one of only 23 Perfect Games in baseball history, and first in franchise history.
But in terms of winning, the Giants were not doing so. From 1958, the first year in San Francisco, until 2009, the franchise had only 7 playoff appearances. Think about that for a minute, 7 in 52 seasons, and only three of those resulted in pennants (1962, 1989, 2002).
Times have drastically changed in the City by the Bay. In this decade, the Giants have won three World Series titles, generating talk of whether of not the Giants have become a modern dynasty. At the same time, Minor League Baseball returned to Virginia’s Capital City, Richmond, in 2010, with the new Richmond Flying Squirrels, San Francisco’s Double-A developmental club.
Baseball fans in Virginia’s Capital have watched with pride as several former Flying Squirrels have gone on to stardom 3,000 miles away in San Francisco and help resurrect the Giants franchise.
1B Brandon Belt and SS Brandon Crawford both played for the inaugural Richmond Flying Squirrels squad of 2010. 2B Joe Panik (2013) completes 3/4 of the Giants starting infield that played here. OF Matt Duffy (2014) batted .332 in 97 games before bypassing Triple-A and going to the Giants, and at 23, was the youngest player on the Giants World Series roster.UTIL Andrew Susac (2013) batted .256 with 46 RBIs in 84 games with the Squirrels before debuting in San Francisco in 2014. On the mound, P Hunter Strickland (2014) recorded 11 saves for the Squirrels before heading west, and in the NLDS, he recorded the save in an 18-inning game against Washington-at 6 hours and 23 minutes, the longest playoff game in baseball history.
With the slew of players heading west from Richmond, who could be next? I like 2 names. OF Jarrett Parker (2014), a Stafford-native, hit .275 with 12 HR, 58 RBIs, and 11 stolen bases in 100 games with Richmond before actually getting promoted to San Francisco, where he sat in the dugout for one game, before getting sent down to Triple-A, where he hit .278 in 24 games. I also like SP Jack Snodgrass (2013-2014). Snodgrass has won 23 games while posting a 3.64 ERA at Richmond. Conventional wisdom says he will be at Triple-A to start 2015, but with the Giants rotation having some question marks after Madison Baumgarner, Snodgrass might get a chance to break camp with the big club.
Earlier today I posted a story on here about how Jarrett Parker has been a key cog in Richmond’s rise to the top of the division standings in he Eastern League. Now, he has been rewarded. I have just learned, via Twitter from the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and the Giants, that Parker has been called up to the big club. The OF and Stafford native will join the Giants in New York tonight for their game against the Mets, but he is not in the starting lineup.
Parker, a 2010 Giants draft choice and playing only about 70 miles away from home, was hitting .275 with 12 HRs and 58 RBIs in 99 games with Richmond this year.
For baseball fans in Virginia’s capital city, these are exciting times. The Flying Squirrels, the Double-A Eastern League affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, are leading the division with just a month left in the season. They are up by 6.5 games over Akron in the standings, and a comfortable 10-game lead over Bowie for a playoff spot. Should they hold on, it would be the second playoff appearance for the Squirrels in the 5th year of location in Richmond.
So, what has gottem them this far? A big part of it has been the hitting of Stafford-native OF Jarrett Parker. Parker, a 2010 Giants draft choice, is hitting .275 with 12 HR and 58 RBIs, and is hitting .421 over his last 10 games alone! Minor league free-agent signee 3B Mario Lisson has put up similar numbers to Parker’s, but in 14 fewer games. On the pitching side of things, LH Jack Snodgrass, a 2011 draft choice, is 9-4 with a 3.14 ERA. Out of the bullpen, 26-yr old RH Cody Hall, a 2011 Giants draft choice, is 1-4, but has a 2.92 ERA, including a 0.71 ERA in his last 10 games. With the injury to fellow reliever Derek Law, Hall has stepped in and become the closer for the Squirrels.
When Richmond had the Triple-A Braves, they played in 10 IL finals matchups, winning 5, including the 2007 squad that went all the way to the Triple-A title game. With the Squirrels, the pieces are in place for Richmond to pursue its first title since 2007 and first as a Double-A squad.