Sometimes when prospects are ranked you take into consideration when they were drafted. But for Wes Parsons, that really is not part of his story.
The right-handed pitcher was not drafted out of high school. He concentrated mainly on golf. Then he went to Jackson State Community College in Tennessee and pitched one season, but again he was not drafted.
The Braves saw him in the Northwoods League, a summer college league, in 2012. Parsons pitched 12 games for Thunder Bay and did well, with a 2.61 ERA and an impressive performance in the All-Star Game. So Atlanta signed Parsons for a reported $200,000 as a non-drafted free agent.
Atlanta didn’t let him pitch until 2013. Parsons made 19 starts for Rome in the Sally League. He was 7-7 with a 2.63 ERA, 91 hits allowed in 110 innings, 21 walks and 101 strikeouts.
Then in 2014 Parsons moved up to High-A Lynchburg, where he made 23 starts and was 4-7 with an ERA of 5.00. He allowed 119 hits in 113.1 innings, with 34 walks and 96 strikeouts.
Parsons’ stats were not as impressive in 2014, but scouts still believe he has potential. The fastball has touched 95 mph, but rests more in the low-90s. Parsons also has a slider and changeup.
Scouts have always been impressed with Parsons’ command. They love his lanky frame and believe he will continue to get stronger. MLB.com rated Parsons as Atlanta’s 12th best prospect after the 2014 season.
This kid is still fairly young. He just turned 22 in September. Parsons will likely move up the ladder to Double-A Mississippi for 2015. There will be more competition there this season, so pitchers will have the ability to make an impression. Some believe Parsons could take that next step. If his changeup continues to improve, Parsons could have three solid pitches needed to crack a big league roster.
The Braves do not have many outstanding pitching prospects – at least not right now. So it gives kids like Parsons the opportunity to stand out and make the impression. If Parsons has a good season in Double-A, he will get his chance – even if it’s as a reliever – to be on the radar.
And that won’t be bad for a player who thought he wanted to be a golfer.
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Prospect Report: Wes Parsons
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