Adjusting to role in Majors, Parker hits first homer
Rockies' 21st-ranked prospect goes deep in Tuesday's loss to Mariners
By Dargan Southard
DENVER -- On a night centered around Jon Gray's Major League debut, Rockies first basemen Kyle Parker made sure to get in on the firsts as well.
In Colorado's 10-4 loss to the Mariners on Tuesday at Coors Field, Parker clubbed his first Major League home run off Seattle reliever Mayckol Guaipe. The solo shot, which was projected by Statcast™ to land 428 feet away, was crushed to right-center and came on the second pitch of the sixth inning. It was one of three home runs Colorado hit on the night.
"I knew I hit it pretty much as sweet as I could get it," Parker said. "It was a little low and away, but I knew I hit it really, really well."
Parker, who the Rockies selected 26th overall in 2010 out of Clemson, hasn't seen much consistency in his still-developing Major League career. He first had three different stints with Colorado in 2014, accumulating just 26 at-bats over 18 games.
Parker was again called up earlier this year but appeared in just one game before being optioned back down to Triple-A Albuquerque. Although he can play both first base and the corner outfield spots, positional blockage has remained Parker's biggest hurdle.
But with outfielder Corey Dickerson back on the disabled list and first baseman Wilin Rosario now at Triple-A, Parker was called back up on Saturday. An opening has emerged.
"I just feel like the last couple times I've had opportunities, I've tried to do too much," Parker said of his previous promotions. "But lately, it's just been nice to get comfortable. To have consecutive opportunities has definitely been nice."
Since his latest promotion, Parker, the Rockies' 21st-ranked prospect according to MLB.com, has started three of four games -- split between left field and first base. He now has three hits over the last two contests, and Rockies manager Walt Weiss noted how Parker "looks a lot more comfortable this time around."
Tuesday's homer was more evidence of just that.
"It's been tough for him the last couple times he's been up," Weiss said. "It's been spotty play, so it's tough to put anything together like that. But he looks a lot more comfortable, a lot more confident this time.
"We're still going to share the at-bats, but Parker's going to get a lot of them."
Dargan Southard is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.