NY Sports Dog: Bobby Parnell's Magic Arm

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bobby Parnell's Magic Arm

Last season I took my daughter to a Mets vs Nats game in DC--the ballpark is very well thought out, and there are no shortage of amazing sights and mouth watering smells.

The Nats home has an incredible assortment of food available, including the world renowned "Half Smoke" from Ben's Chili Bowl.

But for us, the highlight of the pre-game festivities was delivered by none other than Bobby Parnell and his magic arm.

Bobby was trotting around the outfield getting his running in, and my daughter decided to make him the object of that day's affections. I think it was the pink backpack he toted around that initially drew her eye to the lanky pitcher.

"Bobby!" she shouted again and again each time he passed in front of us.

Finally, after his 5th or 6th jog along the outfield grass he stopped, turned toward us, smiled, and flicked a ball, effortlessly, in our direction. It quickly traveled the 50 feet toward us on a line, right at my chest.

I grabbed it triumphantly and handed it to my daughter. She waved and shrieked at Parnell, who winked at her and trotted away with a little wave.

You could tell he was happy to be a major leaguer, on the field, doing the mundane things big leaguers do, and making a young girl's day.

As we enter 2009 Parnell has a legitimate chance to make the Mets opening day roster, and the Mets need him.

Blessed with a blazing fastball, he's also been working on his splitter. It's a pitch that could one day make him one of the better relievers in the game.

As Ben Shipgel of the NY Times writes,

More than a few team officials predicted Parnell would make the opening day roster because of a fastball that had been clocked in the high 90s and the revival of a split-fingered fastball that could become devastating against left-handed hitters.

“I like big pitchers,” General Manager Omar Minaya said of the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Parnell. “He’s got good arm strength, and you can’t teach the kind of loose arm that he has.”

That arm has been on display in the Mets minors since 2005. But for all the hype that goes along with his live fastball, the results have not always been there.

AA 4.30 24/24 127.2 126 66 61 14 57 91 4.03 6.44 1.60 1.52
AAA 6.64 5/4 20.1 25 16 15 0 9 23 4.03 10.30 2.56 1.06
MLB 5.40 6/0 5.0 3 3 3 0 2 3 3.60 5.40 1.50 1.40
AFL 2.25 7/7 20.0 15 5 5 0 9 20 4.05 9.00 2.22 1.00

As the BB/9 and ERA show, Parnell has command issues that he's yet to bring fully under control.

Moreover, he was primarily a fastball pitcher with a sinker, an average slider and average changeup. Part of his problem is the fact that his secondary offerings are hittable, and he knows it. So in many instances he would pitch around a batter rather than go after him.

With his revived splitter, the Mets are hoping that Parnell can consistently get hitters out by not letting them sit on his fastball. The splitter gives him a second strikeout pitch, something he has sorely lacked up to this point.

So while I don't expect Parnell to dominate this year, he should make the team and contribute to what looks like a very solid 2009 Mets bullpen.

It's a bullpen that is stacked with power arms, including the magic arm of Bobby Parnell.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great writeup.

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