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  • For Parmelee, the Clock is Ticking

    Chris Parmelee returns to the dugoutChris Parmelee offered Minnesota Twins fans a glimpse of his offensive ability on Monday in Milwaukee, when he launched a majestic, 420-foot home run to center field.

    Unfortunately, those glimpses have been entirely too rare for the 25-year-old. The solo shot was just his fourth homer – and seventh extra-base hit – of the season, leaving him with a .215/.293/.331 hitting line. That’s miserable production for a plodding right fielder whose value is tied almost entirely to his bat, and when combined with his similarly ugly .229/.290/.380 mark with the Twins last season, it paints a grim picture regarding Parmelee’s ability to hit major-league pitching.

    The Twins keep giving their former first-round pick chances to dig his way out, but Parmelee’s time to prove that he’s got more to offer may be running short, at least here in Minnesota.

    Surely this is a situation where the Twins would prefer to exercise patience. They have plenty invested in Parmelee, whose career minor-league track record suggests that he should ultimately be a competent hitter in the majors (maybe more if his small-sample Triple-A numbers are to be believed). Even though he has tripped over himself in two extended MLB chances now, he remains relatively young and inexperienced.

    But the window to make an evaluation may be shrinking. Parmelee was added to the 40-man roster following the 2010 season, so the Twins have already used up two of his three options (2011 and 2012). They haven’t used one this year, since he made the big-league roster out of spring training, but it’s hard to imagine he will stick much longer if his offense doesn’t pick up. With an OPS+ of 70 – third-worst on the team ahead of only Brian Dozier and Aaron Hicks, who both at least provide meaningful defensive value – Parmelee has been beyond brutal. Even a rebuilding team in a lost season can’t justify trotting that production out regularly, and if his playing time continues to wane (he’s started only 10 of the team’s last 20 games) it makes little sense to keep him on the roster.

    If he’s sent down, Parmelee will suddenly be headed toward a tough spot next spring. The Twins have numerous candidates to fill their outfield and probably would have some interest in retaining Justin Morneau if the cost isn’t exorbitant, so barring a turnaround in performance, Parmelee could be squeezed out. That’s not an ideal outcome for him or the Twins, who would enjoy having a usable inexpensive piece that they can plug in for a few years.

    I'm not quit ready to give up on Parmelee but his plate approach has been mostly ugly and, as his results continue to deteriorate rather than improve, it seems like major-league pitchers are gradually figuring him out rather than the other way around. It's not time to cut bait yet, but he has already relegated himself to part-time duty and with Oswaldo Arcia lurking in the minors, his place on the roster is very much in danger.

    Should he find himself bumped to Triple-A, he'll have an uphill climb ahead of him in order to remain in this organization long-term.
    This article was originally published in blog: For Parmelee, the Clock is Ticking started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 42 Comments
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Just to throw this out there, because I don't think you intended to dog his defense, but I've been more than a bit surprised by how good he's been in the OF.

      He has to hit a whole heckuva lot better to warrant a corner OF spot, but overall I don't think he needs his bat to counter any negative defensive value. It just needs to be better because of where he plays.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      It's one of those things, like Kubel, where he catches everything he gets to. He has a good, accurate arm. He makes the routine plays. He just doesn't have a ton of range, so he's advanced defensive stats likely won't look terribly impressive.

      Again, I think Parmelee is one of several guys that they should go with throughout the year. Let him work into and out of slumps, see what he can do.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Here's how the Twins organization does things:

      Promote prospects pretty slowly in the bottom leagues, even to have them repeat seasons at the same level. THEN when they show promise at AA, give them a September call-up or even a next season ST workout geared for the big leagues. What about moving them quickly to Fort Myers and then quickly to Rochester? Chris Parmelee (and Joe Benson . . . oops, and Brian Dozier) needed a full season of AAA ball and it should have started in August of 2011. Full stop.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Parmelee might bat 6th in the Rochester lineup given how that manager does things, by the way.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      Here's how the Twins organization does things:

      Promote prospects pretty slowly in the bottom leagues, even to have them repeat seasons at the same level. THEN when they show promise at AA, give them a September call-up or even a next season ST workout geared for the big leagues. What about moving them quickly to Fort Myers and then quickly to Rochester? Chris Parmelee (and Joe Benson . . . oops, and Brian Dozier) needed a full season of AAA ball and it should have started in August of 2011. Full stop.
      Well, there seems to be some selective memory going on there. All 3 of the guys you named happened to be pretty old for their levels b/c they struggled. Guys like Morneau and Kubel got plenty of time at AAA but forced their way to AAA while still pretty young. Arcia was promoted fairly quickly, as was Mauer. Plouffe spent forever in AAA. Posters were irate that Dozier started last year at AAA when he was already 25.

      And it's a bit silly to blame the Twins on Parm. He earned a sept call up from AA. The following year he spent six weeks in the majors before spending most of the year in AAA. Hard to say that month ruined his development.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      It's one of those things, like Kubel, where he catches everything he gets to. He has a good, accurate arm. He makes the routine plays. He just doesn't have a ton of range, so he's advanced defensive stats likely won't look terribly impressive.

      Again, I think Parmelee is one of several guys that they should go with throughout the year. Let him work into and out of slumps, see what he can do.
      I agree that the Twins need to give Parmelee an extended trial. With Morneau in the last year of his deal, the team needs to know if he can hit enough to be an everyday player at first or in right. I think Parmelee has shown enough defensively that he can be trusted in right field. Besides catching what he gets to, he played the caroms in the corners and off the wall well. He charged hits well and made mostly very good throws. He made a catch that I saw live in spring training that rivals either of Hicks' HR robberies. I think that having someone like Parmelee who could shuttle between first and right would be nice if the club wants to use their superstar catcher more at first. In the end, though, it all will depend on how much he hits.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      It's one of those things, like Kubel, where he catches everything he gets to. He has a good, accurate arm. He makes the routine plays. He just doesn't have a ton of range, so he's advanced defensive stats likely won't look terribly impressive.

      Again, I think Parmelee is one of several guys that they should go with throughout the year. Let him work into and out of slumps, see what he can do.
      i agree about what to do with him, but I think comping his D to Kubel is way underselling him.
    1. Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
      Oldgoat_MN -
      Agree with Rick. Parmelee has to show something, and soon.
      I wonder if there is something that going to AAA would give him? How significant is more playing time? What's the point if he's not facing MLB pitching?

      Really don't know what to do with him. I've been impressed with his D for a big guy; no doubt he works hard.
      But yeah, can't wait very much longer through slash lines like he's putting up.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Apparently the manager does not agree, since Doumit started in the OF, and not Parmelee. How hard is this, exactly, to have a strategy to rebuild and grow from within? Apparenlty, really, really hard.
    1. ScottyB's Avatar
      ScottyB -
      Chris Parmelee is not a long term starter. He still has the potential to be a nice piece for a contending team. I've always said he is the equivalent of Randy Bush - a guy who could hit 10-15 homers, drive in 50-60 runs and play a little bit of RF, a little 1B, DH and be a nice pinch hitting option. It'll take some seasoning, but with the group coming up, that will be his role. Offer Justin a two-year deal, and if he turns it down take the draft choice. Parms is not the solution as starting 1B, now or in the future.
    1. Gernzy's Avatar
      Gernzy -
      They need to make a decision on Parmelee soon. I know the original plan was to have him take over at first base. With his current numbers there is no way they can trade Morneau and replace him with Parmelee. So now it seems that we really need to resign Morneau since there is no other good option available at 1B.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Interleague play has limited Parmelee's chances since the Twins have seen fit to put Doumit in RF. That won't be an issue when they return home, of course. They also started Colabello in RF for one game, so another chance for Chris was lost. Also, with Herrmann replacing Wilkin Ramirez, Gardy has seen fit to start Doumit in RF, knowing he has a third catcher available. It's very possible that Herrmann will be gone, if not today by the weekend with the near-certain return of Trevor Plouffe and the likely return of Ramirez. The Twins play two more series at NL parks, against the Nat on June 7-9 and against the Marlins on June 25-26. Parmelee would be advised to swinging better by then.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Quote Originally Posted by ScottyB View Post
      Chris Parmelee is not a long term starter. He still has the potential to be a nice piece for a contending team. I've always said he is the equivalent of Randy Bush - a guy who could hit 10-15 homers, drive in 50-60 runs and play a little bit of RF, a little 1B, DH and be a nice pinch hitting option. It'll take some seasoning, but with the group coming up, that will be his role. Offer Justin a two-year deal, and if he turns it down take the draft choice. Parms is not the solution as starting 1B, now or in the future.
      Maybe you are right, but the Twins aren't a contending team now, and probably won't be next year. I certainly think that the team needs to give him his at-bats and see what happens. We know that he got white-hot hitting in Rochester (not unlike Plouffe's streak in the majors last June) and a solid great month could propel his numbers into the satisfactory range. In some respects, this is the perfect laboratory to find out. He and his team are playing major league baseball and facing MLB talent, but the pressure of a pennant race is absent. There is much to be gained and little to lose by being patient and seeing how it pans out--maybe it's Randy Bush, maybe it is more, perhaps it is much less. Offering Morneau an extension is throwing good money after bad IMHO (really fodder for another thread). If Parmelee fails, find somebody else. There are lots of guys out there who could fill the bill for Morneau at a fraction of the salary.
    1. Crackin' Wax's Avatar
      Crackin' Wax -
      Quote Originally Posted by Gernzy View Post
      They need to make a decision on Parmelee soon. I know the original plan was to have him take over at first base. With his current numbers there is no way they can trade Morneau and replace him with Parmelee. So now it seems that we really need to resign Morneau since there is no other good option available at 1B.
      How would Plouffe be at 1B? Ya know... once the hitting side of his brain clicks on again, that is.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      Just to throw this out there, because I don't think you intended to dog his defense, but I've been more than a bit surprised by how good he's been in the OF.
      I would agree that he's been better than expected. He looks like an average defensive right fielder, which is impressive for a first baseman playing the outfield. But by no means is he a defensive asset.

      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Again, I think Parmelee is one of several guys that they should go with throughout the year. Let him work into and out of slumps, see what he can do.
      Still waiting for him to work out of the slump he's been in for the past two seasons...

      Do you think they should keep him around all year even if he continues to play only ~50% of the time? I don't see that as being positive for his development.

      Quote Originally Posted by mikewantswins View Post
      Apparently the manager does not agree, since Doumit started in the OF, and not Parmelee. How hard is this, exactly, to have a strategy to rebuild and grow from within? Apparenlty, really, really hard.
      As I recall, Doumit hit a pretty crucial two-run homer in the game, his fourth this month. Parmelee, meanwhile, is hitting .206 in May. At the end of the day, Gardenhire is interested in trying to win games and I can't blame him for that.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Doumit and Parmelee are almost identical in hitting WAR measures. Their numbers are eerily similar. Given that the team is not going to win much this year, and Doumit is old and not part of the future, Parmelee should be playing, imo. If the strategy is to rebuild, then commit to the strategy, up and down the food chain of command. Partly commiting to a strategy is a really, really, bad idea.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      I would agree that he's been better than expected. He looks like an average defensive right fielder, which is impressive for a first baseman playing the outfield. But by no means is he a defensive asset.
      Agreed, but I think average was beyond what most of us felt like he was capable of coming into the season. At times (flashes obviously) I've been downright impressed. (That near homerun rob he pulled the other day. He seems to move really well to his right too)

      I just think some people are still slotting him like Seth did in the Kubel range and he is better than that.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      I just think some people are still slotting him like Seth did in the Kubel range and he is better than that.
      I think his point was that, like Kubel, Parmelee lacks footspeed but makes up for it with good routes and defensive fundamentals.

      I should follow up my previous question about whether it's wise to keep Parmelee up as a part-time player with the flip side of the argument: if they don't option him all year and his play doesn't drastically improve, they'll have the chance to start him back in Triple-A next season. He'd be a nice guy to have around as insurance behind Arcia et al.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Doumit and Parmelee are almost identical in hitting WAR measures. Their numbers are eerily similar. Given that the team is not going to win much this year, and Doumit is old and not part of the future, Parmelee should be playing, imo. If the strategy is to rebuild, then commit to the strategy, up and down the food chain of command. Partly commiting to a strategy is a really, really, bad idea.
      I agree play Parmelee now regularly (at least till the AS Break) lets see if he can get average up. Play him some at 1B to see if he can move back there. Long-term 1B may be Sano anyway. We need to know if Parms will be part of a contending team (hopefully next year).
    1. adjacent's Avatar
      adjacent -
      One of the things that Tom Kelly was saying while he was in the booth last week, was that Parmelee was having trouble catching up to fastballs. That is kind of a red flag, isn't it? I mean, young hitters can learn with time to lay off nasty braking balls, but if your bat is too slow to catch up to fastballs... Maybe somebody that knows more baseball than me can correct me here.
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