With left field at Coors field, you need a little bit more defensive ability along with what is normally expected of the position, a hitter. The Rockies made a move this year that many fans don’t like, as they traded away the kid who “could hit on Christmas morning,” Corey Dickerson. I won’t lie, this move does disappoint me a little as well with a return that isn’t really as good as it could’ve been. The Rockies lost a bright spot in their lineup, but got back something they are always lacking, bullpen pitching. The Rockies don’t have trouble on offense and rarely have enough bullpen arms to end the year, so trading away a surplus outfielder in an already crowded outfield wasn’t a bad move.
The reason the Rockies were able to make this move was because of the pickup of their new left field starter, Gerardo Parra. This isn’t a terrible acquisition, it isn’t great either, but it does give the Rockies a slightly more defensive outfield at the cost of offense, which they have plenty of. Parra is only 28 years old and he is coming to Colorado, where players come to revitalize their hitting careers. Parra will be a fine fit for the Rockies and their lineup and will likely see his offensive stats increase to some of his better seasons. Parra has been a streaky player throughout his career, but I do expect some good things out of him this year.
Gerardo Parra: Parra is a career .277 hitter with .326 OBP and .404 slugging. His lower on base will fit right in with the Rockies as a team that doesn’t traditionally walk very much, but his more aggressive approach will bode well at hitter friendly Coors. Parra is not a big power guy, he’s only hit 10 home runs or more twice in his career, but he can hit a lot of doubles and triples, which fits in perfect for the big gaps at Coors. I expect Parra to hit around .285-.295 and hit about 35 doubles. Parra slots into the lineup as a 5 or 6 hole hitter and will be a good guy to drive Nolan or Cargo in after they get on base. I believe he will also produce a little more power being at Coors, with at least a .430 slugging percentage. Parra started off great at Milwaukee last year before being traded to the Orioles. Being back in the National League is good for him and the Rockies. Parra isn’t an instrumental part to the Rockies future, but if he has a good year, the Rockies can trade him for some more prospects in the future. Parra can come here and show other teams he is a viable option for outfield and may get someone to overpay for him due to inflated Coors field numbers.
Parra is also a two time gold glove winner in his career and while both of those time in 2011 and 2013, a few years ago now, they still show he can play defense. The vast expanse of land in the center-left field gap will be less hard on Charlie with a more capable outfielder manning left. The Rockies will have one of the better defensive outfields and this plays perfectly due to Coors shape. Parra won’t win a gold glove again, but he can still play left and won’t cost the Rockies any wins while out there.
Brandon Barnes: I haven’t mentioned Barnes yet because I don’t expect a whole lot out of him. Barnes is solid defensively and can make some impressive plays in the outfield, but he isn’t a starter and is definitely more valuable as a clubhouse presence over an on-the-field presence. He is a high energy guy, lots of fun, and will keep guys happy and energetic throughout the long grind of a season. While this may seem insignificant, it is actually quite important and it is worth it to keep Barnes on the team. Barnes will fill in at spot starts for any of the outfielders and can come off the bench as a guy who might make something happen. His heart and hustle are the reasons he’s on a major league team right now, but that isn’t always enough to keep someone up with the Major league team. Barnes could see himself in triple-A before the year is up if he continues to play as he has in years past and if someone in the minors shows themselves worthy of MLB playtime. The Rockies are a team in rebuild mode (or at least they should be) and with the prospects they have in the outfield, Barnes will have to progress beyond anyones expectations this year to stay on the club.
Left field is not a super exciting position for the Rockies this year,, although it will be fun to see how the newcomer Parra performs. Overall, this position is similar to first for Colorado. Some unexpected production could surprise some people, but overall it is a position that will see changes in the coming years and won’t produce any all-stars with the current players at the position.