I've been a fan of James Parr ever since he was an under-the-radar semi-prospect at Mississippi, without any blow-you-away qualities, but solid peripherals at every stop. He struggled with arm problems in 2009 that led him to toss just fifty innings across three levels, but in his brief major-league stay, he did strike out 12 in 14 frames and post a 3.60 FIP. His minor-league numbers don't look as impressive, but remember that many of those innings came as he was trying to recover from his injuries (whereas the major-league ones were thrown before the arm trouble).
We'd be getting carried away if we labeled him as anything more than a utility pitcher on a championship-caliber staff; he might be a back-end candidate for somebody's rotation, but not with the pitching talent the Braves have on hand. Still, with Buddy Carlyle and Jorge Campillo gone, the bullpen will need somebody able to pitch multi-inning mop-up stints and even perhaps absorb a spot start here and there. Parr isn't going to blow away onlookers, but he's young, has a decent assortment of pitches and plenty of deception in his delivery, and still has room to grow.
The bottom line: Fans get really excited (and rightfully so) when the farm system produces a mega-star like Tommy Hanson, but there's serious value to homegrown spare parts as well. Parr will be cheap for a long time, and barring recurrence of his injury problems, he's a strong candidate to be a fixture in the Braves' middle- to long-relief picture in 2010.