Brewers Bet on a Different Sort of Regression

Though it wasn’t very flashy, the Brewers quietly made a deadline trade with the Diamondbacks, dealing a couple minor leaguers for a guy with a negative WAR. Going to Arizona: Mitchell Haniger and Anthony Banda. Haniger is the better prospect of the two, although he’s got a low ceiling and an unspectacular 2014 campaign under his belt. Going to Milwaukee: Gerardo Parra, who joins an outfield that already includes Carlos Gomez, Ryan Braun, and Khris Davis. Parra’s WAR stands at -0.3.

But, a year ago, it was 4.6, tied for 26th in all of baseball. With that kind of massive decline, you assume an offensive dropoff, and, sure enough, Parra’s wRC+ has dipped. But his modest skills are intact, and the biggest reason for the statistical dip is on the defensive side. The numbers think that, this year, Parra’s been a roughly average defensive outfielder. Last year he was fourth in baseball in overall Defense rating, right by the spectacular Gomez. Beyond that, Parra’s played all over, and here are his league rankings between 2009 – 2013 (1000-inning minimum):

Left field: 8th out of 60 in UZR/150
Center field: 20th out of 64
Right field: 1st out of 47

There’s a good bit of evidence that Parra is one of baseball’s better and more rangey outfielders. He hasn’t been hurt in 2014, and his own manager thinks he’s been fine. The Brewers are assuming that Parra is better than his 2014 statistics, and you can’t really blame them:



Assuming Parra’s still a good defensive outfielder, then he has value, and he improves a Brewers team that’s still fighting for its life. At the plate, he’s weakest against lefties, but as it works out, Parra’s left-handed and Davis is right-handed so we could have the makings here of something of a platoon. At least, Parra’s a fourth outfielder and defensive replacement, and few teams have a guy with such a great standout skill available on the bench. It’s a somewhat low-impact move for the Brewers, but Parra’s better than Logan Schafer, and this raises the team’s floor. Plus, if they’re extra daring, they can control Parra for 2015 as well. So far the Cardinals have made the NL Central splashes, but the Brewers paid relatively little for a guy who, several months ago, would’ve cost an upper-level prospect. It was a good time to strike.

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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

11 Responses to “Brewers Bet on a Different Sort of Regression”

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  1. Richie says:

    Yup, excellent buy-low move for a player whose skills (defense, hit righties) they can definitely use.

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  2. Dub Giles says:

    This was a great move by the Brew Crew. They pick up a player who has proven himself defensively and has plus plus platoon potential (PPPP). He’s going to be a key component for them down the stretch. As a Pirates fan, I thoroughly dislike this deal.

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    • BMac says:

      Khris Davis is better against both lefties AND righties than Parra (batting average aside, WAY more power), so it would be a counter-productive platoon, benching the better hitter.

      If you throw out the first month or so of the season (when Davis was getting death threats which took him off his game), this isn’t even close.

      Defensive replacement? Parra is tracking worse than Davis there, too, in 2014.

      If Parra gets off the bench to start more than the occasional game, he is contributing negative value. Pirates fans can relax.

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      • ValueArb says:

        Saying Parra is worse defensively because of this year is like saying a’.240 hitter is now a .300 hitter because of two hot months. Parra is still in his prime, hence a premier defender who hits adequately well, and every team could use someone like him.

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  3. Zak says:

    When Parra is in the OF, do the Brewers move Braun back to left and Parra to right since Parra has the better arm (though Braun is no slouch in that department)? Also, Gomez and Parra next to each other should make for very rangy and strong armed OF.

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  4. Garrett's Mom says:

    Isn’t it all just the same kind of regression?

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  5. JK says:

    great move, but the crew still need a power RHP who can throw strikes more reliably than Jeffress

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    • AZ says:

      Yeah, I wonder how much more Towers was asking for Brad Ziegler. It seems he is just what the Brewers need, and would have fit right into this trade with another mid/low level prospect going back to Arizona.

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    • oh Hal says:

      How many relievers is enough? They don’t need a reliever.

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  6. KT says:

    Love these gritty grinders we got for some lazy Venezuelan.

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