Bobby Parnell’s career with the Mets had been overshadowed by control issues. A kid with great stuff but overthrows and has very little command. A prospect with promise, but had yet to have consistent success as a starter, reliever or closer. He could walk the bases loaded as easily as he could strike out the side. There was no telling nessecarily what Parnell you would get on any given day.
That Bobby Parnell seems like a distant memory now. In 2012 we have see the progression of Parnell from a nervous reliever who went with a philosophy of throwing as hard as possible and hoping for the best, to the makings of a future –or now present– closer, who has come to the realization that throwing 95-96 and being able to place it where he wants it is much more effective than throwing at 102 and having it skip to the backstop.
It ended up paying off that the Mets chose not to trade Jason Isringhausen last July at the trade deadline, as he taught Parnell a pitch that has become a go-to pitch in his repetoire, leading to his success in 2012: the knuckle curve. Parnell says he feels comfortable using this pitch in key situations, late in the count, possibly now that he is the closer, with the game on the line.
Surrounded by a bullpen of seasoned veterans and journeymen releivers who have been anything but effective, Parnell has shined, failing to catch whatever bug has so brutily bitten the New York Mets bullpen in this first half of the 2012 season. He has put himself in a bubble, making writers have to put a “with exception to…” when making blanket statements about the Mets ‘pen.
No longer a rookie fireballer who would make you sweat when he took to the mound, but rather a 27-year old entering the prime of his career, that can come in and at least give you hope that there is a chance of surviving the late innings of a given ballgame when the starter’s day is done.
No more a prospect of wildness, but a man of precision, Bobby Parnell has come into his own this season, and we can only hope his progression continues as the New York Mets try to make a 1969-esq run as we enter the second half of this season.