#8 Jarrod Parker – Arizona Diamondbacks
Kevin Towers, the Sombrero’s favorite GM, has quite a decision to make this spring with how to handle Jarrod Parker in 2011. Parker is now more than a year removed from Tommy John surgery and has repeatedly stated that he feels as good now as he ever has. His fastball is reaching the mid-90s and the slider is as deadly as ever. It is most likely the best right-handed slider in the Minors today, and Parker has two other secondary offerings that should grade as a 60 by the time he reaches his mid-20s.
Unfortunately, Parker missed all of 2010 due to his surgery, so this ranking may seem ludicrous to some people and is considerably more aggressive than most other ranking systems out there. Here’s why: Parker is the only guy in the game with the combination of arm speed, athleticism, command, and diversity of pitches, as well as a clear path to Major League starts in his early 20s. The fact that he already had TJS only reinforces his value because he basically has a new elbow. Based on early evaluations of his recovery, he seems more like a Jordan Zimmerman than a Francisco Liriano right now.
With the insane talent in 2011’s draft class, and the Diamondbacks possessing two of the first seven picks, there is a chance we might see a rotation along the lines of Parker, Daniel Hudson, and any combination of two guys from a list of Gerrit Cole, Matt Purke, Sonny Gray, and Taylor Jungmann. Wow. Can’t wait. Go Diamondbacks!