Let's play a round of "Name These Players"...
402 IP, 24-26, 5.08 ERA, 81 ERA+
1.662 WHIP, 10.5 H/9, 1.1 HR/9, 4.4 BB/9, 8.1 K/9, 1.83 K/BB
95.1 IP, 4-7, 6.23 ERA, 71 ERA+
1.920 WHIP, 10.3 H/9, 0.6 HR/9, 7.0 BB/9, 7.4 K/9, 1.05 K/BB
Player A? Manny Parra.
Player B? Jorge de la Rosa, and his numbers while in Milwaukee.
Lately, Parra is drawing a lot of comparisons to JDLR, and cosmetically, sure, they're alike -- both are left-handers with incredible stuff, but for whatever reason can't seem to get everything to click. The similarities over their time in Milwaukee end there -- Parra's numbers have been quite a bit better than JDLR's ever were.
Granted, Parra's also had more of a chance to prove himself than Jorge ever did, but Parra's rate statistics have been far better -- just look at their BB/9 and K/9. While Parra's career WHIP is ugly, it's still much better than JDLR, who was nearly averaging 2 baserunners an inning.
I only bring this up because Parra had one of the worst starts of his career yesterday in Atlanta. While his defense didn't do him many favors -- if you want an explanation as to why his BABIP never seems to regress, take a look at the piss poor efforts by Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks yesterday -- he can only blame himself for grooving 0-2 pitches with the bases loaded.
If you've been reading this blog for very long, you'll know I'm a big Manny Parra fan, and I still am, as hard as it might be after yesterday. The kneejerk reaction would be to pull him from the rotation once Yovani Gallardo and Doug Davis are both healthy. I still think this would be a mistake. Parra's out of options, so the Brewers need to know for sure what they have in him. They need to give him the opportunity JDLR never got before he ran out of options.
Some may argue that they've seen enough of Parra to know that he's not going to put it together anytime soon, and that may be true. But I think the Brewers need to keep him in the rotation until the end of the season. By that point, you'll have about 3 full years of starts from him to evaluate. Before this year, he had one pretty good season in 2008 and one horrible season in 2009. If he can recover from this disaster of a start in Atlanta, fix whatever mechanical issues that appear to be causing this inconsistency, and finsih the year with passable numbers, he's a nice asset to have at the bottom of the rotation. If it's only downhill from here, at least you know you gave him a shot before letting him figure it out somewhere else.
Jorge de la Rosa never figured it out until he got to Colorado -- he couldn't even hack it with the Royals. His age during his first season with the Rockies? 27. How old is Parra this year? 27.
Maybe he's close to figuring it out.