Gerardo Parra, CF (current ADP: #391):
The Diamondbacks have made a few noteworthy moves this off-season, but their biggest was acquiring Mark Trumbo from the Los Angeles Angels (I still can’t get used to saying that) in a three-team deal. In order to land the power-hitting left fielder, the D’Backs had to part ways with one of their prized prospects, sending 25-year-old center fielder Adam Eaton to the Chicago White Sox.
While the trade netted Arizona a slugger who has averaged 31.6 home runs over the past three seasons, it also opened the door for Gerardo Parra to finally get consistent at bats.
Parra has been a regular for the D’Backs during his entire five-year career, but he’s admittedly never been secure in his role. He has a brighter outlook for 2014, though. “It was hard,” said Parra. “The only thing was, I was waiting for my time. Right now, it’s my time.” It’s also the right time for fantasy owners to start paying attention to the Venezuelan.
Trading Eaton to the White Sox may have been easier said than done for the D’Backs. By doing so, it will allow Parra to play center field full time — a boon for them, considering he’s won two Gold Glove Awards.
Coming into his prime years (he’ll be 27 in May), Parra could also be poised to break out offensively.
In 2013 — his first full season — Parra set career-highs in home runs (10), runs (79), doubles (43), and walks (48). He also made a career-best 663 plate appearance over 156 games. His baserunning was a little disappointing — swiping only 10 bases after accumulating 30 in the previous two years — but batting leadoff for an entire season could get him back in the 15-20 SB range.
He won’t have a 30-homer season, but his exceptional defense guarantees him regular playing time, and batting at the top of a potent D’Backs lineup will make him a nice contributor for your fantasy team.
2014 Projections: .281/.350/.413, 12 HR, 58 RBI, 82 R, 20 SB