DUNEDIN, Fla. — Ian Parmley looks to the emergence of small ball to book his ticket into the Major Leagues, and is being taught how to master the craft by one of the best — Hall of Famer Tim Raines.
Parmley, a 27-year-old outfielder, is entering his sixth campaign with the organization and after finishing last year in double-A New Hampshire, hopes to continue to build off what was his strongest season yet.
He ended 2016 with a career high batting average of .294 and an on base percentage of .365 and has stolen a total of 68 bases over his tenure with the franchise, crediting much of his success to Raines.
“Tim’s a great guy and I’ve been working with him since being drafted in 2012 so I’ve got to know him really well,” Parmley said, with a smile, at the Bobby Mattick Complex in Dunedin. “He’s helped all of our base stealers in this organization whether they’re in the minors or all the way up in the big leagues.”
The speedy Seattle native understands that with the way the game has begun to shift, his opportunity to crack a big league roster may be at its apex.
“I definitely have above-average speed which helps out a lot in this game,” Parmley said. “A lot of guys out here in years past wouldn’t have gotten an opportunity, but with the game shifting in that small ball direction, it’s giving guys more of a chance to make it to the big leagues.”
Teams that have found success in recent seasons such as the Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs to name a few, have established a balance of power, contact and speed, making them a nightmare matchup for opponents who remain reliant on the long ball for success.
“Every team still needs that power in the lineup, but in years past, the teams that have won and made it to the World Series have been more balanced teams,” Parmley said.
“They have the power in the front end and then guys that get on base a little further down that lineup … the more base runners that you have, the more likely you’re going to win the game.”