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June 12, 2013

Overthinking It

The Ever-Underappreciated Gerardo Parra

by Ben Lindbergh


After nine games, Yasiel Puig’s video archive at MLB.com comes close to filling four pages, at 12 clips per page. Marcell Ozuna, another exciting 22-year-old right fielder who’s hit .324/.364/.462 since his arrival in April, is still stuck on page three. Almost every play Puig touches turns into a highlight. If he isn’t hitting homers, he’s recording outfield assists; if he’s not in the game, it’s because he’s just been ejected from a bench-clearing brawl. Whatever he does, it happens at the center of the spotlight. It took him one week to be named National League Player of the Week, and it took him four words to appear in this article, which isn’t even about him. More than the amateur draft, more than Biogenesis (fortunately), baseball in June has been about Yasiel Puig.

So when Puig was thrown out attempting to advance to third on a Jerry Hairston single on Monday, it wasn’t immediately clear who the star of the story was: Puig, or Gerardo Parra, the player who made the throw. It took another viewing to determine that Puig’s presence in yet another highlight was just a coincidence, that it was Parra who’d earned Puig some extra airtime on SportsCenter, not the other way around. The throw was perfect, an on-the-fly strike to Martin Prado that nailed the speedy Puig in plenty of time,

and Parra put an exclamation point on the play by signaling the first out of the inning and channeling Dikembe Mutombo’s finger wag in one efficient motion.

Puig is new to the league and might not have known better, but he isn’t the only player who’s regretted running on Parra; Arizona’s all-terrain outfielder tied for the NL lead with 12 outfield assists in 2011 and holds sole possession with eight so far this season.* But if that continued willingness to test him is indicative of a lack of respect for his skills, Parra’s opponents aren’t alone. Hype-wise, Parra is the anti-Puig, and even his own team has gone out of its way to avoid relying on him in an everyday role.

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Related Content:  Gerardo Parra,  Diamondbacks

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Call-Up: Mike Zuni... (06/12)
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Overthinking It: This ... (06/08)
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Premium Article Overthinking It: The L... (06/14)
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