Listed as the New York Mets' fifth best prospect in 2009 by Baseball America, rookie right handed pitcher Bobby Parnell is coming off a couple of very promising appearances down the stretch for the Mets in 2008.
A starting pitcher in the minor leagues, Parnell is being converted into a relief pitcher by pitching coach Dan Warthen, at least for 2009.
He enters this spring with a very good chance at making the cut.
At 24 years old, Bobby Parnell raised some eyebrows in a short stint with the Mets late last season as a September call-up.
In his first four appearances, Parnell allowed just two hits in 4.2 innings pitched, while striking out three and boasting an earned-run average of 1.93. September 26 against the Marlins was his only shaky outing, during which he allowed two runs on one hit and a walk.
If you exclude his lone bad appearance, Parnell would have a 1.80 earned-run average in five innings of relief work. Yes, it's just five innings—but it's a great start for a relief pitcher, wouldn't you say?
The reason the Mets have so much hope that a pitcher whose earned-run average was 8.86 his junior season in college can succeed is because of his "stuff." Parnell has a very heavy fastball that sits in the low to mid 90s, a hard slider that is usually in the mid 80s and at times is a great strikeout pitch, and is currently developing a changeup in an attempt to keep hitters from sitting on the hard stuff.
What is his downside? He is very inconsistent. One month he's lights out, the next month he needs a neck brace. Almost all scouts say this problem stems from trying to strike every batter out rather than pitching to contact, which seems to be a problem with a lot of young kids who throw hard.
Look for Dan Warthen (there's that name again) to work with him on trusting his stuff more often, rather than trying to make the perfect pitch every time.
If he can lower his walk totals and continue developing his changeup, Bobby Parnell could turn out to be a very solid middle-relief pitcher, and possibly a set-up man down the road.
AA- 24 GS, 10-6, 4.30 ERA, 127.2 IP, 91 SO, 1.430 WHIP
AAA- 5 G (4 GS), 2-2, 6.64 ERA, 20.1 IP, 23 SO, 1.670 WHIP
MLB- 6 G, 5.40 ERA, 5.0 IP, 3 SO, 1.000 WHIP
MLB- 21 G, 4.85 ERA, 23.0 IP, 19 SO, 1.350 WHIP