Bobby Parnell: New York Mets' Diamond in the Rough

Michael GanciCorrespondent IMay 4, 2009

While there have been several dark clouds over the New York Mets’ season here in the early going, there have also been some bright spots that people are choosing to ignore. For example, Carlos Beltran has been hitting exceptionally, and Daniel Murphy continues to prove that he can hit. This article is not going to discuss either of them, but, rather, it will discuss the man who has established himself as the owner of the seventh inning: Bobby Parnell.

Thus far this season, Parnell has appeared in 12 games, and he has only allowed two earned runs. He challenges hitters, and, because they don’t know him very well, he is succeeding. His stellar 1.59 ERA has opposing managers wondering what they could do against him.

For example, in a game the other night, Parnell followed Ken Takahashi, who was throwing about 89 or 90 consistently. Parnell is quite the change, though, as he nails 95 MPH nearly every time he throws the fastball.

Not yet 25 years old, Parnell could have a bright future ahead of him, whether it is as a starter or a reliever. When he was in the minors, Parnell was primarily a starter, but, much like Aaron Heilman a couple years back, Parnell has the most value in this bullpen. The Mets are gaining more and more trust in him as the days go by.

It would be nice to see the management's change in faith with him against left-handed hitters. Right now, lefties are hitting an unbelievable .500 against Parnell, while righties are just hitting at a .219 clip. The more exposure that Parnell gets to lefties, the more of a chance that he will figure out a way to get them out. It’s not like Pedro Feliciano is serving as much of a left-handed specialist. Feliciano seems to give up a solo home run every time he takes the hill.

If the Mets' rotation problems continue, Parnell may get a chance to show what he’s got as a starter, but, as of right now, he really is the diamond in the rough for the Mets' bullpen. While Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz were the big acquisitions that Omar Minaya brought in to enhance his bullpen, Parnell is going to be a pivotal part in how this team succeeds for years to come.