March 9, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves center fielder Luis Durango (30) workout prior to the game against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Comparing Jordan Parraz, Luis Durango, and Jose Constanza


My main concern so far this Spring has been Drew Sutton and Pastornicky/Simmons. To me they were the bigger issues and the ones that could affect the team more. But the most entertaining position battle has arguably been the fourth outfielder job. Coming into the Spring I assumed Jose Constanza would be the buy for the job but Luis Durango and Jordan Parraz have caught many eyes so far.

Here is the slash lines on each of them so far. Remember they are ALL small sample sizes and most likely don’t reflect their actual skill but they could have an influence on who gets the bench spot on Opening Day.

  • Jose Constanza- .160/.192/.160, 4 K’s, 1 BB, 25 AB’s
  • Jordan Parraz- .393/.452/.571, 3 K’s, 1 BB, 28 AB’s
  • Luis Durango- .500/.600/.500 1 K, 5 BB, 20 AB’s

Each person probably has a person they like more than the other two and it’s hard to pick a guy based on less than 30 games so I’m going to try and dig a bit deeper on all of them so you and I can both figure out who would work better in the fourth outfield role.

Before doing this here are my quick thoughts of the three candidates:

  • Jose Constanza- the fastest of the three players, and probably the best suited for a pinch running role as well as back up outfielder. His swing is arguably worst of the three but he proved last season that he could make a difference and get on base when the team needed him. His defense isn’t great but because of the speed he is able to be at least average in center.
  • Jordan Parraz- has the most potential offensively and is the only on of the three to get an extra base hit this Spring. He has a homerun and a triple. He has also shown some ‘clutch’ hitting so far and while you may not believe in those sort of things, it still leaves an impression. His defense is said to be solid even though he has had a few questionably plays.
  • Luis Durango- the player I know fewest about out of the three but has shown incredible discipline at the plate drawing 5 walks and striking out just once.

 

Jose Constanza

March 19, 2012; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves right fielder Jose Constanza (17) grounds out during the bottom of the third inning of a spring training game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Disney Wide World of Sports complex. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

AVG OBP SLG BB% K% SB/% BABIP
Spring .160 .192 .160 1 BB* 4 K* 1/50%
MLB (2011) .303 .339 .385 5.0% 11.8% 7/64% .333
AAA (2011) .312 .361 .351 6.9% 11.3% 23/74% .353

Coming into the Spring I felt that the bench spot was Jose Constanza’s job to lose. That might not have been true but he hasn’t done much to help his case so far this Spring. He hasn’t been very impressive at the plate and all of the people who were upset with him getting so many at bats instead of Jason Heyward are chuckling right now.

There is no was he keeps up a .300 average in the bigs and his walk rates haven’t been too impressive throughout his career either. The only thing he has done that is pretty much a lock to happen is his sub .400 slugging percentage. He’s definitely a singles hitter.

It would be okay for him to be a singles hitter if he was still an above average base runner but despite his speed he has been caught stealing too much. He could still probably be a good pinch runner but I wouldn’t say he is a big threat on the base paths.

Like I said earlier he is fine defensively and can play all three outfield positions so he isn’t being hurt in this category. What we have with Constanza is really a AAAA type player. He is likely never going to get a starting job in the bigs and on good on quality teams he will be a questionable bench player. There may be believers in his swing, but as of right now I am not one of them.

 

Jordan Parraz

Mar 12, 2012; Jupiter, FL. USA; Atlanta Braves center fielder Jordan Parraz (74) is tagged out by St. Louis Cardinals catcher Koyie Hill (44) at Roger Dean Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Braves 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

AVG OBP SLG BB% K% SB/% BABIP
Spring .393 .452 .571 1 BB 3 K 1 CS
AAA (2011) .289 .362 .440 8.5% 18.4% 5/55% .346
AAA (2010 .266 .350 .410 7.8% 18.4% 8/62% .300

Ben Duronio had a quick look at Jordan Parraz yesterday. Here is a bit on what he thought of him:

In 25 spring plate appearances, Parraz has hit .417/.481/.625. Obviously this is a small sample size, but he is in competition for a final bench spot and has performed above expectations. When looking at his minor league career, Parraz has shown he can get on base at a solid rate and hit for decent power. The .151 ISO he produced in triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre last year (Yankees) is not remarkable, but he does many things well at the plate for a potential bench player.

Parraz has had a couple game winning hits this Spring and like I mentioned earlier the only real hitter in the group. The other guys are big on singles but like Ben mentions—and the slugging percentage agrees with—he can hit for decent power.

If last year and what we have seen this Spring is any indication of future performance Parraz would be the best bet for the role. He can offer the team the most offensively while being serviceable in the field. He isn’t a stolen base threat in the least bit but he may take a couple bags here and there.

 

Luis Durango

AVG OBP SLG BB% K% SB/% BABIP
Spring .500 .600 .500 5 BB 1 K 2/50%
AAA (2011, Padres) .243 .328 .294 9.2% 15% 10/67% .293
AAA (2011, Astros) .273 .362 .299 12.2% 12.8% 18/67% .318

Here are some of Gondeee’s thoughts on Luis Durango:

Durango’s addition to the Braves will likely make him the fastest player in the organization. He can fly, he’s getting better at stealing bases, he works the count, and he keeps the ball on the ground which allows him to use his speed to get to first…

One thing Durango has going for him over Constanza is more extended Major League player time, and more experience pinch hitting — with better results. He’s also younger than Constanza by two years, and he’s a switch hitter, while Constanza only bats lefty.

Gondeee was right on with Durango. He is fast and knows how to take a walk and get on base. He has less power than Jose Constanza which is scary, but he is better on the base paths and according to Gondeee a better pinch hitter.

I’m sure Fredi Gonzalez is salivating at the thought of Durango being on the bench and I think he could be a useful player. The question is whether we can afford to have an empty bat who is primarily another wheels guy.

However if the offense comes back to life and we don’t have as big a need for a bat on the bench he is probably the best bet as a pinch runner. I have heard that his defense is above average as well but I have nothing to confirm or deny that.

 

So based on all of the things I have went over Jordan Parraz would be my choice to have a spot on the bench come Opening Day. I feel like his bat is needed with the team still struggling a bit offensively. Things could easily change however. We have a couple more weeks of Spring Training and they are likely going to be the deciding factor for this extremely competitive position battle. The offense could come around and the team feel better with a great pinch runner like Durango, or the team could decide that Jose Constanza’s run last year was no fluke and he has earned the role.

All of three of these players have their own strengths and weaknesses and all of them could be good bench options. Finding the best one could be a bit difficult however. Who would you give the fourth outfield spot to?

 

Tags: Atlanta Braves Jordan Parraz Jose Constanza Luis Durango Spring Training

  • Big Bad Bob

    I vote for Parraz.
    While Constanza and Durango are speedier, Parraz does have more MLB experience and the better bat.
    For the past 2 years, the Braves have lived or died in close games of 2 runs or less. I think that the Braves would be better served with a player who has a better bat than glove (remember Brooks Conrad’s many late inning exploits in 2010?) As long as he is used properly, Parraz could be extremely useful.
    IMO!

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

     @Big Bad Bob Parraz’s offense is easily better than the other two and he has shown a knack for the late inning heroics as well. Let’s just hope he can make that a habit.