A pair of highly regarded pitching prospects faced each other tonight as the AAA Tuscon Padres hosted the Sacramento River Cats and both were impressive. RHP Jarrod Parker, the top overall prospect in the Oakland A’s organization (BA) toed the rubber for Sacramento and went 6 innings, allowing 2 runs (1 ER) with a walk and 6 K’s.
His opponent, RHP Casey Kelly, #3 in BA’s ranking of the Padres’ prospects, was even better. Kelly also went 6 IP and allowed five hits and no ER while striking out 9 without a walk. A ninth-inning rally for Sacramento meant that neither pitcher figured in the decision.
Both players have been key pieces in high-profile trades recently. Parker was rising up through the Diamondbacks’ system when he was traded this past offseason to the A’s in a package deal that sent RHP Trevor Cahill to Arizona. Kelly was near the top of the Red Sox’ prospect rankings after the 2010 season when he was shipped with other prospects to San Diego for 1B Adrian Gonzalez.
Presently, Baseball America has them both listed in their Top 100 Prospects list with Parker at #26 and Kelly at #76.
Parker got into one major league game last year, going 5 2/3 impressive innings for the Diamondbacks against the Dodgers (4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K). Kelly hasn’t pitched in the bigs yet, but Ben Badler of BA detailed tonight’s performance and summarized that he may make his debut in the Padre rotation this year.