Prospect Q&A: Rockies OF Kyle Parker
By Tyler Maun / MiLB.com
Rated as the Rockies’ No. 8 prospect by MLB.com, outfielder Kyle Parker broke through to the Major Leagues for the first time this summer. With rosters expanding next week, Parker is likely to see an extended role with the Rockies for the rest of the big league campaign. The 24-year-old former Clemson quarterback has put together a steady campaign for Triple-A Colorado Springs in 2014, slashing .286/.335/.447 with 14 home runs and 70 RBIs. I caught up with Parker prior to the opener of the final Sky Sox homestand of the season.
MiLB.com: You’ve had a really consistent progression throughout your Minor League career. What have you gotten most from your first full season of experience at the Triple-A level?
Parker: My approach has become a little different. This league is a lot different from past leagues that I’ve played in. Guys have a better understanding of what they’re doing. You can learn a lot, and I feel like I have.
MiLB.com: Your first MLB game came on June 16 in Los Angeles. After your call-up and flight, you arrived mid-game at Dodger Stadium and got your first at-bat later that night. What do you remember about the craziness of that day?
Parker: I didn’t imagine it that way, getting there in the fifth inning, but you can’t ask for anything more. It was a great experience.
MiLB.com: When you show up in the dugout on a day like that, and you see a lot of familiar faces you came up through the organization with, how much did that help settle you down?
Parker: It’s definitely good, especially having a lot of guys up there who are younger that I’ve been around. It’s easy to transition and fit in and feel like you’re part of the team. It’s something good. Guys who have been in the organization who go up — there’s a good connection between the guys who are already up there and the guys who are down here.
MiLB.com: Being a former Division I quarterback at Clemson, how do you view your ability to mix in with your teammates in the clubhouse or on the field in the grind that is Minor League Baseball?
Parker: I think it’s different down here. It’s 25 guys all working to get to the same level. A lot of guys in here have goals and agendas and things that they need to accomplish to get better at. Everyone’s here working hard and trying to take that next step, so it’s easy to mesh and get along with people because everyone has the same mindset.
MiLB.com: Have you let yourself think at all about how, in a couple of weeks, you might get a very extended look at the Major League level when rosters expand for September?
Parker: Yeah, I would hope so, but I’m just trying to get better here and finish up and then see what happens. I feel like whatever is going to happen is going to happen. Hopefully I put myself in a good position.
MiLB.com: What’s been your favorite road trip so far in the PCL this season?
Parker: I think Nashville. I love the city, and I’m from the South, so it’s familiar territory.
MiLB.com: Who are the Sky Sox you like to watch most in the cage or at the plate?
Parker: [Jason] Pridie has been around for a while. Just being around guys who play the game for a long period of time, they’re interesting to watch. You want to figure out how they do it and how they keep coming at it every day.
MiLB.com: Who’s the Sky Sox pitcher that you’re glad you don’t have to face from the other side?
Parker: I would say when [Chad] Bettis has his stuff, he’s pretty filthy. I’ve played with him for a while, so when he’s on, I wouldn’t want to face him.”