Glad Parnell is going tonight

PARNELL: More on the job training.

PARNELL: More on the job training.

After Jerry Manuel’s song-and-dance about not knowing if Bobby Parnell would stay in the rotation, I’m glad to see he’s starting tonight. I don’t even care if he gets lit up, I just want him out there to learn.

He’s been on the major league roster all year, and he’s pitched with success, albeit most of it in a relief role. But, this is the opportunity for him to learn how to pitch out of trouble if not avoid it entirely.

The point was made last night about diminishing his value like that of Daniel Murphy. I’m not buying because Parnell has too good an arm for the Mets to be thinking about trading him.

I think Manuel waffling hurts Parnell’s confidence more than him getting hammered.

He should stay because these remaining few games is about learning what certain players are capable of in the planning for next year, and certainly Parnell has a better chance of starting in 2010 than the rest of the current rotation, save Mike Pelfrey (who really does need saving).

He should get two more starts after tonight, maybe three, and the larger the sampling the better.

He could get his butt handed to him tonight as most Mets pitchers experience in Atlanta, but that’s better than having it planted on the bench.

12 thoughts on “Glad Parnell is going tonight

  1. JD: I’m sure there are a few instances when it didn’t work like this, but Parnell had virtually no success as a starter in the minor leagues, which is probably why they converted him to a reliever in the majors. I have a hard time believing that a guy with his minor league stats as a pitcher is capable of having success as a major league starting pitcher.

  2. Mickey Lolich was 27-44 with a 4.10 era in the minor leagues and ended up as a pretty successful starter. Might have made it to the Hall of Fame if he had Sandy Koufax instead of Denny McLain as a teammate. But that was almost 50 years ago. But I’m sure Steve’s point about minor league success almost always being needed is valid.

  3. (1,2) There’s actually more of a correlation between success in the minors and in the bigs for hitters, rather than pitchers.

    My understanding is that Parnell’s issues as a starter in the minors largely focused on the second time through the order: He could blow them away the first time through with his fastball, but had noting new to offer them on the second trip through. That tends to reflect a lack of repertoire which, in turn, tends to suggest a future as a reliever.

    I think Parnell as a great arm, too. It’s just that he hasn’t quite developed command of any secondary pitches, thereby relegating him to a one-pitch pitcher. And putting him in a starting role where this limitation is exposed on a regular basis will only diminish his market value to teams that were previously entertaining the thought of acquiring him and moving him to the starting rotation.

    The rule of thumb is that you let other teams find out about your prospect’s limitations on their own, after they’ve acquired him — not on your watch and when all you’re doing is decreasing the value of your own asset.

  4. One thing about Lolich, at least in his years in the minors where he threw over 100 innings, he struck out a batter an inning. Parnell with this wonderful fastball couldn’t really even do that in the minors. And Tiffany is correct being that right now he is a one pitch pitcher which doesn’t correlate to success in a starting rotation.

  5. Steve the Original (1): You could very well be right and I might end up being way off the mark. However, and I should have emphasized this in the original post, is the Mets are so desperate for pitching that this is worth the gamble. Let us find out know in a lost season rather than try again next year. It could turn out he might be totally lost and they could abandon the experiment. But, give him the rest of the season and perhaps spring training – if they don’t acquire three arms – and if it doesn’t work then send him back to the pen.-JD

  6. Tiffany (4): I understand your point and it is very valid. However, if he goes back to the pen now he might never develop his secondary pitches, or even think he has to. But, to survive as a starter, those pitches are necessary. In part, that is part of the problem with Mike Pelfrey, but I digress. … I’m not sold on your point about decreasing his value and letting other teams find out on their own. Here’s why: The scouting these days, both on the minor and major league levels is generally very thorough. I’ve spent a lot of time with scouts and they have books on just about everything. They chart all his pitches so they’ll know if he’s only a one-trick pony. … When other teams see Parnell, they know his value already. What the Mets are trying to do his find out if he can enhance it. Should he develop a second or third pitch his value will spike.-JD

  7. I didn’t look at Lolich’s minor league K figures. My bad. But I remember in the early 1960s “Baseball Digest” on team’s prospects said he appeared to be a AA pitcher. For the record, Parnell averaged 7.9 Ks per 9 innings (414 Ks in 470 IPs). I hope none of this gets interpreted as “Parnell is the next Tom Seaver..I guarantee it!”. Because I don’t.

  8. John

    I agree 100%. He needs to pitch in the majors and feel the pain. He needs to control his fastball and have confidence in his other pitches.

    He needs to study Santana and see what he does when his stuff ain’t working. Same for Pelfrey.

    And yes, Jerry is a horrible manager. We saw this prequel in the spring.

    Jerry seems to enjoy killing his players and then saying how right he is.

    They should fire him now. The team will be better without him.

  9. I was at Parnell’s last two starts. The game on 9/4 was a well pitched game by Bobby, pity the pen blew his chance for a well deserved victory.
    I was sadly at his start last week, where he was a disaster. The first inning was awful (though Anderson Hernandez didn’t help matters with his error).
    As others have stated, Bobby has a good arm, but lacks secondary pitches. This is similar to the problem we see with Pelfrey. Guess what else the two of them have in common?
    They were both not given enough time in the minors to REFINE those pitches. We all know that major league hitters will hit a fastball, especially when they know that 95% of the time that is what they are going to see. As well as if they aren’t scared by the off-speed or breaking pitch offerings.
    Doc threw mostly fastballs, but the difference was that 12 to 6 curve that kept them honest.
    With Parnell, they know he is going to throw the fastball, and aren’t swining at the breaking pitch because he can’t get it over consistently. He needs time to develop that pitch. Like John said, the pen is not the place to do that. The minors are.
    As for Pelfrey, he has improved his slider this year (the break is much better), but again, he isn’t using it much, so the effectiveness is reduced.

    Let Bobby finish the year in the rotation. Let him start in winter ball. Then, let him spend next year in the minors as a starter. If it were me, I’d have him working mostly with off-speed and breaking pitches.

    And Jerry needs to glue Sullivan to the bench, and let Evans play. Also, let Murphy play against lefties. All spring we heard how much faith they had. Time to show it. Not like they are going to run the table.

    Sorry for the long winded post.

  10. 11. Excellent post!! Therefore not long winded. When I saw Pelfrey in Bingy he was throwing a slow curve. He wasn’t getting many strikes, but he or the organization had him drop it. What a mistake. See that Hanson curve ball last night?
    10. Davw…He could have studied Hanson last night. Think he noticed anything?
    As for Parnell’s goledn arm. Every team we have there are kids throwing at least as hard if not harder. The difference is they somehow learned to throw off speed pitches with enough success to be effective. They are on the Braves, Rockies, giants, fish, even the hated Philles. Parnell and Pelfrey aren’t 20 yars old. There’s a reason they haven’t developed secondary pitches. Its called a rotten organization with no game plan for developing pitchers. Well no game plan for anything really.