For San Francisco Giants rookie right fielder Jarrett Parker, Sunday afternoon’s loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks came with a magical moment.
Leading off the bottom of the fifth, Parker pulled a first-pitch change-up between the first and second basemen for his first major-league hit in his second career game. After going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in his first MLB start Saturday, the 26-year-old now has established a big league batting average.
After the game Parker smiled as he described the moment:
“When 41,000 people stood up and clapped, it hit me for a second. That was a pretty cool feeling.”
Parker joins an extensive class of 2015 rookies to collect their first hit in the show, including Cleveland Indian Francisco Lindor, who accomplished the feat on the same day. Parker was able to share his elation with his parents, who flew in from the Washington, D.C.–Virginia area where Parker grew up:
“I’m glad my parents were able to be here, and experience that. I’m sure they were more excited than I was.”
After attending the University of Virginia the Giants selected Parker in the second-round of the 2010 MLB amateur draft. He experienced his first taste of the big leagues August 1, 2014, when he was called up to replace Tyler Colvin. but one day later he was sent back to Triple-A without ever seeing the field.
Through 54 games at Triple-A Sacramento, Parker has hit .268 with 12 home runs, 36 RBIs and 10 stolen bases on 12 attempts. His offense is secondary to his defense, and his base stealing speed compliments a dependable glove (.973 career minor league fielding percentage) and strong arm (37 career minor league outfield assists).
The 6-foot-4 210-pounder has posted a .257 average in five seasons at four levels in the minor leagues, averaging 15 homers, 63 RBIs and 18 stolen bases.
About what he brings to the Giants, Parker said:
“I’m just trying to help out any way I can. I’m going in there, trying to have good ABs and trying to put something together. Once I made my first catch, I settled down and really just focused on helping the team win.”
As All-Star right fielder Hunter Pence nears his return from the 15-day disabled list, Parker will be forced to prove his worth behind outfielder Justin Maxwell. If Parker can deliver on his ability to hit, run, catch and throw at the big-league level, he could prove a more important piece to the Giants’ long-term success than the nine-year veteran.