From the BillingsGazette.com:
“If he was a second- or third-round pick, it wouldn’t have surprised me,” Mustangs manager Rick Burleson said. “I think he’s that good. But the fact that we got him as late as the 12th round is a good bargain.”
Parker collected two hits in the season-opener, and the next night he had three hits, including his first home run. The first baseman delivered two hits in each of the next two games before getting another hit in the fifth game of the season. Parker finally took his first 0-fer last Sunday, six games into the season.
By that time his average was at .526.
And he hasn’t slowed down much since, though he missed two games this past week with a sore hamstring.
One of the keys to Parker’s early-season success has been his patience at the plate. Parker “doesn’t panic with two strikes,” Burleson said, and the numbers back that up: Through his first 37 at-bats, Parker has struck out just five times, compared to nine walks. His batting eye has helped him obtain a .521 on-base percentage, third in the Pioneer League to teammate Chris Heisey and Idaho Falls’ Luis Castillo.
The patience wasn’t always there, though. As recently as his junior season at Cincinnati, Parker walked just 16 times and struck out 31. But Bearcats’ associated head coach Brad Meador helped Parker make a minor adjustment to his stance before his senior season, and Parker swears it’s had a major impact.
“My junior year I was crouched down so far, it kind of took some of my power away gap-to-gap,” Parker said. “This year I stood back up, just got my timing down, concentrated on getting my (front) foot down early so I could recognize which pitch was coming.
“It’s helped me out a lot with patience. You see the ball. It used to be I was out on my front foot so much and it didn’t matter what the pitch was, I couldn’t lay off because I was already committed. But now that I’m (standing) back and my foot’s down and everything’s back, I can see the pitch and see if it’s going to go in the dirt. Just one little minor thing helped me a ton.”
At the rate this kid is swingin’ right now, we’ll be seeing him shortly in Dayton.