Parada goes yard in first multihit Fall League performance

October 15th, 2023

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The mark of a good hitter is the ability to adjust, not only over a long season but also in the short span of an at-bat. With one swing Saturday, proved why he remains an enticing offensive catcher.

MLB Pipeline’s No. 89 overall prospect went deep off fellow Top 100 talent  (No. 54) for his first Arizona Fall League homer in Glendale’s 7-2, seven-inning loss to Salt River during Saturday's tripleheader at Goodyear Ballpark. Parada added a single for his first multihit effort in AFL play.

Jobe had previously struck out Parada on three pitches in the second inning, the last two of which were 97 and 98 mph fastballs that the right-handed slugger swung through. The Tigers righty brought the heat again in their second matchup in the fourth, working a pair of 96 mph four-seamers past Parada to make the count 2-2.

But instead of shortening up and trying to sit fastball, Parada flashed back to AFL Opening Day on Oct. 2. Jobe and Parada matched up once that night at Salt River with Jobe winning the battle on a swinging strike three on an 86.9 mph changeup.

“Be ready for the fastball, but you have to make adjustments,” Parada said. “As things go, he struck me out on the changeup before. I hadn’t seen it all day, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it came, and it happened to.”

Jobe dropped in an 82 mph off-speed pitch that caught too much of the plate, and Parada took advantage, driving the ball to straightaway center where it hit the batter’s eye about 10 feet above the yellow line and well above the 410-feet sign on the outfield wall.

“Jobe has a good fastball, and so he’s trying to play off it, especially on a strikeout pitch,” Parada said. “He has that good changeup that he likes to throw late. … It stayed up. It was a good pitch, but I got the best of him on that at-bat.”

Add in the sixth-inning single, and Parada’s 2-for-4 showing bumped his AFL OPS up 200 points from .444 to .644 through seven games with Glendale. It’s been a slow start, albeit in a small sample, for the backstop who went 11th overall in the 2022 Draft out of Georgia Tech, but Parada chalks that up to finding his bearings in a new setting.

“The pitchers are good, and you have to tip your cap to them if they’re making good pitches,” he said. “Hitting is hard, so when you get those two-hit games, you have to go with them and embrace them because it’s not easy especially here with all this pitching.”

Among the reasons why the Mets sent their No. 5 prospect to the Fall League in the first place were to make up for some time lost to a right ankle sprain and to expose him to more quality arms after his stints with High-A Brooklyn and Double-A Binghamton.

Parada finished his first full season with a .248/.324/.428 line and 14 homers over 105 games. While the backstop earned some above-average hit tool grades coming out of college, he looked like more of a power-first hitter in the Minors -- a reputation he leaned into with Saturday’s blast.

With the second week of action over, the AFL is officially one-third done, but now that he’s seen more of the league, Parada might just be getting going.

“Some of the guys you get to see more than one time now,” Parada said. “I have a little information about them. It’s a lot easier to hit when you have a little more information than no information.”

Jobe finished with four strikeouts and two runs allowed (one earned) on five hits and two walks over four innings to earn his third win. The Detroit righty threw 62 pitches, 41 for strikes and 14 for whiffs. Jack Brannigan (PIT No. 21) and Caleb Roberts (D-backs) went deep for the Rafters.