By Jay Blue
Blue Jays from Away
Now that the season is over, the crew at Blue Jays from Away will take a look at the Blue Jays one by one and review how each player’s season went, whether he met expectations (or not) and look at how he fits into (what we think of) the Blue Jays’ plans going forward.
Ah, Ian Parmley. A couple of years ago, I wrote an essay about how Parmley is the only player from rounds four through 10 of the 2012 draft who's still playing baseball. This was the year in which the Jays drafted D.J. Davis first and Marcus Stroman second. Matt Smoral, Mitch Nay (both taken from the Jays in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft over the past two years), Tyler Gonzales (released a couple of years ago), Chase De Jong (traded to get international signing bonus money to sign Vlad Guerrero) and Anthony Alford came next. The next seven guys were college seniors who signed for well under slot, allowing the Jays to give over-slot money to the first bunch. And in the seventh round was Ian Parmley.
The fact that Parmley is still kicking is amazing. The fact that he made his major league debut in 2017 is nothing short of perseverance. Parmley was a guy who I thought wouldn't be able to figure out better pitching a few years ago when I saw him in Lansing. He could yank BP fastballs over the fence with surprising regularity, but he couldn't get around on pitches in the game, hitting everything the other way. Going into 2016, Parmley's best professional OPS was .612 in Vancouver in 2012, his draft year.
And then 2016 happened. Playing in double-A New Hampshire, no less, Parmley hit a stunning .294/.356/.379. Ok, so his BABIP was .391 but he still hit far better than I ever thought he could. Still, his power was lacking (just a .085 ISO, although that was a career high) but a good walk rate and a career-high line-drive rate (21.0%) helped also helped.
Coming into 2017, Parmley was slated to be a utility outfielder. He joined the triple-A Buffalo Bisons and hit well again, posting a .289/.332/.369 slash line with 12 doubles and a home run in 60 games leading up until June 22. It helped that his 2016 manager, Bobby Meacham, had moved up to manage the Bisons. With Parmley having had such a good season in 2016 under Meacham, there was an element of trust that the skipper had penciling him into the lineup.
And what happened on June 23? Parmley made his major league debut. At the age of 27, he went 0-for-3 against the Kansas City Royals. He got into two more games but didn't hit again before he was sent back to Buffalo, getting sent outright and losing his 40-man roster spot.
Parmley suffered a bit of let down the rest of the way. He didn't play as much, getting into 19 games from July 4 to September 4. He hit just .169/.222/.169 on his way to a .260/.306/.321 slash line.
But 2017 was a year of firsts for Parmley. Not only did he suit up in the major leagues for the first time, but he also made his professional pitching debut. The lefty got the win in a 13-inning game between the Buffalo Bisons and the Pawtucket Red Sox, throwing two innings and giving up no runs on two hits.
Parmley's probably going to be in tough to stay on the Buffalo roster in 2018. I count at least five potential outfielders and it's going to be tough to get all of them at bats. Parmley may be on the outside looking in, possibly from New Hampshire.
Parmley was sent outright to Buffalo, meaning that while he's not on the 40-man roster, it was his first outright assignment and he's still under his original contract.
2017 Regular Season Grades
Jay Blue: Incomplete
Emily: F (Small Sample Size)
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The 2017 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available! Visit the Handbook page for more information!