Bobby Parnell has been given a great task this season as he assumes the job of being the setup man in the Mets bullpen this season.
The young right-hander who regularly throws in excess of 100 mph, is hoping to show the Mets that he can become an important late-inning reliever that the team can rely on as the bridge to closer, Francisco Rodriguez.
Our own Jim Mancari, who has done an outstanding job covering the Mets at various functions for our site, spoke to Bobby Parnell at a Mets event last week, and it’s quite obvious that he aspires to be a closer for the Mets in the future and is up for the task.
“That’s where I want to be,” said Parnell. “I know K-Rod has the role, and he’s well-deserving of it. If he’s healthy, then by all means I’ll do everything I can to help him get as many saves as the team can get him. If he comes in hurt, I would definitely like to help the team in that role until he gets healthy.”
Jim also asked Parnell about what he needed to to work on to become even more dominant late in the game.
“That’s always a big thing with me in being consistent with my delivery and my pitches and staying in the strike zone and attacking the hitters,” said Parnell. “If all of that falls into place, I’ll be good to go for the rest of the season.”
Parnell is only 26 and is exuding with confidence. He knows exactly what he needs to work on in order to elevate his performance and become a dominating force in the National League. He is not afraid to challenge hitters and can be a very intimidating presence on the mound when he fires one of his 100 mph fastballs to the plate.
Parnell is basically a two-pitch pitcher relying mostly on his fastball 80.8% of the time, with his slider (18.0%) being his main secondary pitch. Two plus pitches is more than enough variety to be a solid closer in this league.
This season will be a great learning experience for Parnell in terms of his development. If he has success early in the season, I wouldn’t hesitate giving him some save opportunities, if only to minimize K-Rod’s chances of having his option vest.
Among the many important and exciting things to watch for season — keep your eyes on Parnell who could be the Mets closer in 2012. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a homegrown player in that role and I’m looking forward to it.