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Parnell is a capable reliever but has struggled as a closer, and he must learn consistency in that new role.
The closer role always seems to be a tough one for the Mets to fill, and the newest full-time contestant is Bobby Parnell.
Parnell was a great setup man last season, but a pitiful closer.
In 2012, the 28-year-old Parnell had an excellent 2.49 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 68.2 innings. But he was also 7-for-12 in save opportunities. With last year's closer Frank Francisco out indefinitely, Parnell is the new full-time closer this year.
Yet he must convert significantly more than half of his save chances.
This spring, though, Parnell has been outstanding.
In 13 games, Parnell has a 2.13 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 12.2 innings. Parnell has only allowed nine hits and three walks, equating to an amazing .196 BAA and 0.95 WHIP. He has only allowed three earned runs all spring.
However, it is worth noting that all three earned runs came in one outing. Against the division rival Washington Nationals, Parnell gave up four hits, three runs, one walk and no strikeouts in one inning of work. The outing was also notably a blown save. Parnell converted his other two save opportunities easily.
But take away that outing, and Parnell is looking at an unbelievable 0.00 ERA, .142 BAA and 0.55 WHIP.
As impressive as those numbers are, they bear little effect on Parnell's job security. Like any Mets closer, the margin for error is very slim.
If Parnell accumulates a few blown saves in short succession, he could quickly lose his role as full-time closer.