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MI to target later in draft

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Several of us have been thinking about what SS/2B the O's could target after the 1st round. Well, Justin Parker from Wright State will probably be a little later (BA suggested 4th thru 8th rounds), but he could be someone to keep an eye on.


Under The Radar

Justin Parker, ss, Wright State

Chances are, you know more about Parker's little brother than you know about him. Righthander Jarrod Parker was the ninth overall pick by the Braves last June out of Indiana's Norwell High, signing for a $2.1 million bonus. But more and more scouts are taking notice of older brother Justin, a junior shortstop who batted .379 with a school-record 26 doubles last year for Wright State.

Like his little brother, Parker was drafted as a pitcher out of high school, but he went in the 43rd round to the Twins in 2005. Wright State's coaches loved his toughness and athleticism and moved him to shortstop as a freshman. That toughness has been on display for all to see this season, as Parker was hit in the face by a pitch from Arkansas' Kendall Korbal in WSU's third game of the season. He broke his jaw and was supposed to be out for six weeks, but he came back three weeks early and played the hero in the Raiders' first series win of the year against Eastern Michigan last weekend.

In the first game of the series, Parker broke a 7-7 tie with a two-out, two-strike, walk-off three-run homer, capping a 3-for-5 performance. Later in the nightcap, in a seven-inning contest, the Raiders trailed 4-0 in the bottom of the sixth, when Parker blasted a game-tying grand slam with two outs and two strikes. Wright State won the game with a run the next inning to improve to 3-10 heading into this weekend's Horizon Conference opener against Valparaiso.

With plenty of strength in his 6-foot-1, 190-pound frame, a mature offensive approach, good speed and arm strength, Parker could be drafted between the fourth and eighth rounds if he submits another strong season. He won't go ninth overall, but who's to say he won't wind up being the better-known Parker brother?

"A lot of people say he's just like his brother, but he's older, so people are starting to realize that Jarrod's a lot like him," Wright State coach Rob Cooper said. "He's a special guy."

He's off to a hot start this year, too. He's only played in 6 games, due to that broken jaw, but in the 6 games he has played in he's hitting .450 with 2 HR's and 11 RBI.

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2 drafts ago, we seemed to have targeted middle infielders. Being that we really haven't hit the bullseye yet on any of our middle infield prospects, I think we're going to be targeting some again. This guy Parker sounds nice. They project him as a 4th rounder at the earliest.

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