MMO Roundtable: The Bobby Parnell Conundrum

An article by posted on June 12, 2012

Bobby Parnell is an enigma… He’s got the one thing you crave in closer a rocket for an arm. Consistently checking in at 99 mph and frequently topping 100, you would think the Mets had themselves someone they could rely on to step into the eighth or ninth innings to finish off the opposition and secure a win for the Mets. But Parnell has been anything but a sure thing and the source for much angst and gnashing of the teeth.

Have you ever seen a lousier conversion rate than this before? That’s less than a 33% conversion rate for his career and he has yet to maintain any lead that Terry Collins has handed him so far this season, and yet the Mets manager keeps trotting him out there hoping that he’ll somehow get a different result. There’s some one-hundred year old quote about this kind of behavior by Collins – something to do with insanity or the like – I’m sure one of you knows what it is… <scratches head>

It’s obvious that Parnell doesn’t have the stomach for the setup or closer role, I’ve mentioned this so often before. When he started the season and was pitching solid coming in mostly in the sixth or seventh innings, what did I say once all the posts suggesting Bobby Parnell was fixed, became rampant? I said .”I hope this doesn’t re-ignite the notion that suddenly Parnell is looking like our new setup man”. I warned against changing his role for fear of the dreadful results that were certain to come and now here we are… Back at the point of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole… It’s becoming a recurring nightmare…

Maybe I’m just being too harsh or too impatient or even both… I threw this question to some of my colleagues – and mind all of you – that I posed this question to them BEFORE the Yankees series.

Will Bobby Parnell Ever Be An End-Game Reliever?

Petey – Going into this season I was all for unloading Parnell via trade at the earliest opportunity. Now I’m not so sure. Parnell has shown significant growth this season for the first time since he came to the majors. His off-speed pitch although still developing shows some genuine promise. He has remained cool and calm in adverse situations and has showed definite mental toughness, a requirement for any successful pitcher. With his natural ability and the fact that he’s still improving as a pitcher, I wouldn’t be so quick to give up on him at this point. I would still consider trading him in the right deal but I would extract top value for him and if I didn’t get it, I would hang onto him right now. You can always trade him in the off-season, but you see how long it can take to develop a good late-inning relief pitcher. It would be unwise to give up on this guy too soon.

Satish – If he is, it likely will not be in NY. If we traded him to, hypothetically, Oakland in a Balfour deal, he would probably rock. I still think he is a serviceable 7th inning reliever and you can never have too many guys that throw 95+.

Jim – Bobby Parnell can definitely be an end-game reliever. He’s had some bumps in the road, but as his confidence keeps building, he’s going to be a ninth inning man whether for the Mets or a different team. His stuff is great. Now he just has to hone his energy into become a consistent ninth inning force.

Dan V. – No I don’t not feel that Parnell will ever be able to cut it. I was hopeful just like everyone else, but it’s not a matter of stuff at this point. He has improved his secondary pitches but I just feel as though he pitches scared in clutch situations and you can’t have that in the pen.

Joe S. – Parnell reminds me of Kyle Farnsworth. Both can throw a ball trough a slab of iron but both have issues with overthrowing. Farnsworth actually has more experience as a closer where Parnell has an upside with potential. Either way, Parnell will be whatever he chooses to be. He has the tools to make it work the question is his mentality.

Jessep – I think he doesn’t have the stuff to be a closer. His role is as a 7th inning type reliever who maybe starts a new inning. I don’t trust him with runners on base.

Fonzie13 – I don’t think Bobby P has the mental toughness to ever be a closer. I’m skeptical he could ever be a reliable 8th inning guy. He’s just too inconsistent with his secondary pitches.

Gregg – I’m thinking it’s getting close to now or never time for Parnell. The Mets seem to be committed to Frank Fransisco and Jon Rauch as the late inning guys this season, but by year end Parnell needs to prove he can step into the 8th slot, or he’s doomed to be a middle innings guy.

XtreemIcon – No. He’s the guy who comes in right after the struggling starter to calm things down, provided it’s not the 7th inning or later. He never had the stuff to be a real competent reliever, just a hard, straight fastball. That doesn’t cut it. I’ve been on his case for over a year now about that.

Do you agree or disagree? Do you think you may have the solution to this Mets conundrum? If you do please don’t hesitate to enlighten the rest of us…

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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