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Braves NRI In-Depth: Jordan Parraz

Jordan Parraz was originally at 3rd round pick out of Junior College by the Astros in 2004, and after a solid 2008 that saw him hit .289 with a .818 OPS, 31 doubles, and 21 stolen bases for High A Salem, he was traded to the Royals for left handed pitcher Tyler Lumsden. Lumsden never made it to the Majors with the Astros, but neither did Parraz for the Royals, playing well in his first year in the organization, hitting .348 with a .973 OPS, though injuries limited him to 81 games between AA and AAA, then following with an average season with AAA Omaha in 2010, hitting .266 with a .760 OPS, 27 doubles, and 11 homers. After that season he became a Minor League free agent, signing with the Yankees, spending all of 2011 with AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre, hitting .289 with a .802 OPS, 28 doubles, 9 homers, and 52 RBI in 495 plate appearances. After the season, he again became a Minor League free agent, signing a Minor League contract with the Braves in November.

As a hitter, Parraz is a bit of a tweener. He's consistently hit for a solid average, with a career .289 to is credit, but he's never shown much pop. He can be counted on to hit about 25 to 30 doubles each year, but has never hit more than 14 homers, with just 20 combined the last two years at AAA, and at 27 years old it's unreasonable to expect he'll suddenly develop over-the-fence power. He doesn't make up for the modest power with speed either, as he's combined to steal 17 bases over the last three seasons, after putting up 20 to 30 stolen base seasons while he was in A ball. Defensively, Parraz plays almost exclusively right field, where he's a solid defender with a strong arm.

Despite the invitation to Major League Spring Training, Parraz has little chance of making Atlanta's roster out of training camp, since Atlanta's bench is relatively set, with David Ross, Erik Hinske, Matt Diaz, and Jack Wilson all assured of spots, leaving only one open place on the roster for a bench player. If the Braves choose to fill that final spot with an outfielder, Jose Constanza would seem to have the inside track, and even if he falters, a player like Luis Durango, who provides speed and more versatile defense would seem to have an edge over Parraz. And there's always the possibility the last spot could go to an infielder like Brandon, Hicks, Drew Sutton or Josh Wilson, in which case Parraz wouldn't even be in the competition. Parraz will likely begin 2012 at AAA Gwinnett's everyday right fielder, where he'll provide a steady, if unspectacular, veteran presence to the lineup. A great season combined with injuries in Atlanta could lead to him making his Major League debut as a Brave, but with the aforementioned competition, and younger players like Myke Jones and Cory Harrilchak possibly pushing for callups later in the season, a number of things would have to go perfectly for Parraz for that to happen.

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