Over the next few weeks leading up to, and into, spring training, we’ll be taking a look at minor league players in the Cubs organization that could contribute to the team in the next few seasons. Today, we are going to take a look at Manny Parra.
Parra is a 6’3″ 215 lbs pitcher that throws and bats left. He was drafted in the 26th round of the 2001 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers after going to college at American River (CA) JC. In 2002, he was named National Junior College Player of the Year by Baseball America. In high school, Parra also played some first base.
Parra spent 2002-2007 playing in the minors, compiling a 38-19 record. 2007 was his best year in the minors with a 10-4 record and a 2.45 ERA. On June 25th 2007, Parra pitched a perfect game against the Round Rock Express. He pitched this game for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. This was only the third nine-inning perfect game in Pacific Coast League history. Later on in 2007, Parra was finally called up to the active roster of the Milwaukee Brewers. He started 2 games and finished 0-1 with a 3.76 ERA.
In 2008, Parra would join the Brewers starting rotation. He started 29 games and finished with a 10-8 record and a 4.39 ERA. His split finger fast ball was the most effective in the major leagues. Parra went 11-11 the following year and his ERA ballooned up to 6.36 ERA. 2010 was the beginning of the end of Parra’s time in Milwaukee. His ERA was 5.02, but he ended up with a horrendous 3-10 record in 16 starts. Parra missed the entire 2011 season, but signed a 1 year deal with the Brewers for the 2012 season in their bullpen.
From 2013 to 2015, he was a solid middle relief pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds. He only played in 40 games in 2015 as he was battling soreness in his throwing shoulder and had multiple trips to the IR. In February of 2016, Parra signed with the Chicago Cubs. He was released at the end of March, but immediately signed back with them on a minors deal. He then was released again at the beginning of April and missed the rest of the 2016 season.
Parra resigned with the Cubs on January 27, 2017 on a minor league contract amd has been invited to Spring Training in Arizona. Parra has a career 29-41 record and has recorded 1 career save. He also has a career 4.92 ERA. If Parra can stay healthy, he could be a solid fit in a middle relief role with the Cubs. That would allow players like Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Carl Edwards, Jr., and Justin Grimm to take a night off. Parra could also bring an occasional spot start to the team down the stretch to keep the starting rotation rested. A lot will depend on his health and how he performs in Spring Training after missing an entire season. It would be great to see him return to form and contribute to a strong Cubs bullpen.