Texas notes: Parker proving his power

Former football star leads Drillers in homers, batting average

Kyle Parker is hitting .278 with six homers in 28 Double-A games. (Rich Crimi)

By Todd Traub / Special to MLB.com | May 7, 2013 6:00 AM ET

Kyle Parker is happy to have just one sport on his professional resume.

The former Clemson quarterback and current Colorado Rockies prospect proved he could cut it on the gridiron before settling on baseball as his career. Now roaming the outfield for the Tulsa Drillers, Parker has no regrets about how things have gone and no reason to be concerned about how they are going.

"I'm good here," said Parker, who leads the Drillers with six home runs. "I think I'm on the right path. I'm in the right place. I feel good about it."

Parker is in a line of Rockies players who played quarterback in college, a group that includes Todd Helton, Matt Holliday, Seth Smith and John Sullivan. Of the group, Parker had the best run as a collegiate signal caller.

He played two seasons at Clemson, finishing with 32 touchdowns and 4,739 passing yards. His freshman year in 2009, Parker hit 20 homers and passed for 20 TDs, making him the only Division I player ever to do so in the same school year.

"I'm just glad I got an opportunity to play and put up some good numbers," Parker said. "It's a pretty cool thing to have accomplished."

The Rockies took Parker 26th overall in the 2010 Draft, but he turned down a deal that included a $2.2 million signing bonus and required him to skip football. Instead, he signed for $1.4 million and played another season on the gridiron.

"At that point I didn't know if I just wanted to play baseball or if I wanted to pursue football, and after the year I knew what I wanted to do," said Parker, whose father, Carl, played wideout for the Cincinnati Bengals in 1988-89.

Parker's 2010 season was up-and-down as he battled injury, and the Tigers went 6-6 after winning the ACC the previous year.

"I always worked hard and tried hard and felt like I had a better opportunity here," Parker said of his baseball choice. "Probably a better career in the long term."

Once he settled on baseball, Parker hit 21 home runs at Class A Asheville in 2011 and 23 at Class A Advanced Modesto the year after. Last year's home runs came despite wrist and thumb injuries that limited Parker to 102 games.

"For me it's simple," he said. "I just try to hit the ball right back up the middle and swing as hard as I can."

With Parker's help, Tulsa has been battling with Springfield and Corpus Christi for the league home run lead, and entering Sunday he was hitting .279 with 13 RBIs and had won two games in walk-off fashion for Tulsa, one with a home run.

"I think I've had some good at-bats," said Parker, who stands 6-foot and 200 pounds. "Probably not swinging it the way I want to, but I think I'm getting close."

In brief

Helpful homers: Home runs by Cody Decker and Eddie Rodriguez helped San Antonio overcome five errors in a 6-2 victory over Corpus Christi on Saturday. In the Missions' four-run fourth, Decker and Rodriguez homered off Carlos Quevedo, who has allowed all seven of his earned runs this year on five homers.

The ninth giveth, taketh away: Two days after Frisco won on a walk-off sacrifice fly, the RoughRiders fell, 5-4, to Midland on Sunday when the RockHounds' Chad Oberacker hit a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the night to end Frisco's three-game winning streak.

Stopping by: St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams was 0-for-3 with a strikeout in a rehab appearance with Springfield on Saturday and went 1-for-3 with a walk on Sunday. But his temporary team was fine as Springfield beat Tulsa by scores of 5-3 and 12-1.

Todd Traub is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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