Parnell Building For The Future

Right-handed pitcher Bobby Parnell had a dream season in his professional debut with the Brooklyn Cyclones, posting a 1.73 ERA and limiting opposing batters to a .185 batting average last season. But after injuring himself in Spring Training, Parnell has been fighting his way back to his dominant self.

After missing a little more than the first month of the season with a strained oblique he suffered throwing a bullpen right before Spring Training, Bobby Parnell spent all of April in Extended Spring Training allowing his injury to heal.

One he returned, he immediately struggled in his first taste of long-season league baseball with the Hagerstown Suns, going 0-3 with a 5.06 ERA in his first five starts before righting the ship and finishing with a 4.04 ERA prior to his call-up to St. Lucie.

"I got off to a slow start being injured in the first half," Parnell told Inside Pitch Magazine. "I've had my ups and downs and I've been struggling to keep my stuff together and being consistent. Overall I've had a decent season. I'm not complaining about it by no means. It definitely could have been better for sure."

Part of the reason for the cold start to his year was lagging behind getting into game-shape because of the injury.

"Usually how it is with an injury you get thrown right into the rotation," said Parnell. "You don't have a lot of time to work on your stuff. I've obviously dealt with the struggles of that. I've been inconsistent with my stuff coming into the season and I think Spring Training would have helped me with that. Being injured in Spring Training really threw me back."

Thrown into the fire the way he was, not getting that extra lead-time to work out his issues in Spring Training, left his mechanics and command inconsistent.

"Stuff-wise, I feel real good with my stuff but I've been inconsistent like I said, inconsistent command," he said. "I feel like I'm strong to the plate. Just little things, like split-second stuff - it's stuff that will come. I'm not worried about it."

After walking just 29 batters in 73 innings with the Cylcones in 2005, Parnell had walked 40 batters in 93 2/3 innings and had thrown twelve wild pitches with the Suns prior to being summoned to St. Lucie.

Hagerstown catcher Drew Butera, Parnell's battery mate in Brooklyn a year ago as well, has noticed the differences in his game this season.

"This year he has struggled more with his control," said Butera. "Last year he was real dominant and that's because he threw a lot of strikes. This year he's walking people a little bit more and once he gets his control back - he's had a few lapses here and there - he's going to be outstanding."

Armed with a fastball that sits 92-93 MPH and tops out at 95 MPH, combined with a plus slider, the development of Parnell's changeup will be the deciding factor in whether or not he remains a starting pitcher.

"My power pitches are my fastball and my slider," Parnell confirmed. "We're trying to get that changeup in there for strikes. Right now I've got good command to it down, but I can't get it in there for a strike. I get good deception so they [opposing batters] swing at it. So right now I'm trying to get that changeup in there for strikes and get them to look at it a bit more."

A late-season promotion to the Florida State League, despite the average numbers he put up in Hagerstown, displayed just how much faith they have in him. However, even with the promotion, Parnell knows he still has a lot of work to do.

"Consistency of the changeup," he listed as his top priority heading into the offseason. "I feel like I've had ups and downs with it but I want to be consistent with it, getting my strikes over the plate and doing that consistently. That's what my main goal is."

If he can not pick up the changeup and be as consistent as he needs to be with it to remain a starter, the prevailing thought is he has the stuff to possibly become a setup man down the road.

"He's got electric stuff," said Butera. "He's real deceptive in his motion. He's got a herky-jerky motion and he throws straight over the top and that makes his slider fantastic. When his slider is on, it's unhittable. It comes right out of his hand like a fastball and hitters can't pick it up."

Dealing with his first injury in the pros and not having the same success he had a year ago has had its positives however. While many might look at his season as a disappointing year, Parnell believes his 2006 season is merely a building block in his future with the Mets.

"Compared to last year it's obviously a down year. I mean, last year was a breakout year for me. I showed everybody what I can do and I wanted to come out this year and reinforce it. A slow start hurt me. Really though, you can't look at this as a down year. You've got to look at it as a building block going to the future."

"If you came out here and threw perfect every game you wouldn't learn anything," Parnell philosophized. "So obviously having a couple of down games has helped me learn a lot. I can go out the next game and know what not to do in the next game."

One of his biggest attributes that has the Mets excited is his makeup on the mound. A true student of the game, Parnell continues to grasp the mental aspects of baseball.

"Don't get down on yourself," Parnell listed as the biggest lesson he has learned this season. "You've got to keep your head up. I'm here for a reason. It's what everybody tells you - 'you're here for a reason, keep your head up, and keep doing what you can do'. That's what I've learned, you've really got to keep your head up and not focus too much on the past."

Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nAfter missing a little more than the first month of the season with a strained oblique he suffered throwing a bullpen right before Spring Training, Bobby Parnell spent all of April in Extended Spring Training allowing his injury to heal.
\r\n
\r\nOne he returned, he immediately struggled in his first taste of long-season league baseball with the Hagerstown Suns, going 0-3 with a 5.06 ERA in his first five starts before righting the ship and finishing with a 4.04 ERA prior to his call-up to St. Lucie.
\r\n
\r\n\"I got off to a slow start being injured in the first half,\" Parnell told Inside Pitch Magazine. \"I've had my ups and downs and I've been struggling to keep my stuff together and being consistent. Overall I've had a decent season. I'm not complaining about it by no means. It definitely could have been better for sure.\"
\r\n
\r\nPart of the reason for the cold start to his year was lagging behind getting into game-shape because of the injury.
\r\n
\r\n\"Usually how it is with an injury you get thrown right into the rotation,\" said Parnell. \"You don't have a lot of time to work on your stuff. I've obviously dealt with the struggles of that. I've been inconsistent with my stuff coming into the season and I think Spring Training would have helped me with that. Being injured in Spring Training really threw me back.\"
\r\n
\r\nThrown into the fire the way he was, not getting that extra lead-time to work out his issues in Spring Training, left his mechanics and command inconsistent.
\r\n
\r\n\"Stuff-wise, I feel real good with my stuff but I've been inconsistent like I said, inconsistent command,\" he said. \"I feel like I'm strong to the plate. Just little things, like split-second stuff - it's stuff that will come. I'm not worried about it.\"
\r\n
\r\nAfter walking just 29 batters in 73 innings with the Cylcones in 2005, Parnell had walked 40 batters in 93 2/3 innings and had thrown twelve wild pitches with the Suns prior to being summoned to St. Lucie.
\r\n
\r\nHagerstown catcher Drew Butera, Parnell's battery mate in Brooklyn a year ago as well, has noticed the differences in his game this season.
\r\n
\r\n\"This year he has struggled more with his control,\" said Butera. \"Last year he was real dominant and that's because he threw a lot of strikes. This year he's walking people a little bit more and once he gets his control back - he's had a few lapses here and there - he's going to be outstanding.\"
\r\n
\r\nArmed with a fastball that sits 92-93 MPH and tops out at 95 MPH, combined with a plus slider, the development of Parnell's changeup will be the deciding factor in whether or not he remains a starting pitcher.
\r\n
\r\n\"My power pitches are my fastball and my slider,\" Parnell confirmed. \"We're trying to get that changeup in there for strikes. Right now I've got good command to it down, but I can't get it in there for a strike. I get good deception so they [opposing batters] swing at it. So right now I'm trying to get that changeup in there for strikes and get them to look at it a bit more.\"
\r\n
\r\nA late-season promotion to the Florida State League, despite the average numbers he put up in Hagerstown, displayed just how much faith they have in him. However, even with the promotion, Parnell knows he still has a lot of work to do.
\r\n
\r\n\"Consistency of the changeup,\" he listed as his top priority heading into the offseason. \"I feel like I've had ups and downs with it but I want to be consistent with it, getting my strikes over the plate and doing that consistently. That's what my main goal is.\"
\r\n
\r\nIf he can not pick up the changeup and be as consistent as he needs to be with it to remain a starter, the prevailing thought is he has the stuff to possibly become a setup man down the road.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's got electric stuff,\" said Butera. \"He's real deceptive in his motion. He's got a herky-jerky motion and he throws straight over the top and that makes his slider fantastic. When his slider is on, it's unhittable. It comes right out of his hand like a fastball and hitters can't pick it up.\"
\r\n
\r\nDealing with his first injury in the pros and not having the same success he had a year ago has had its positives however. While many might look at his season as a disappointing year, Parnell believes his 2006 season is merely a building block in his future with the Mets.
\r\n
\r\n\"Compared to last year it's obviously a down year. I mean, last year was a breakout year for me. I showed everybody what I can do and I wanted to come out this year and reinforce it. A slow start hurt me. Really though, you can't look at this as a down year. You've got to look at it as a building block going to the future.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"If you came out here and threw perfect every game you wouldn't learn anything,\" Parnell philosophized. \"So obviously having a couple of down games has helped me learn a lot. I can go out the next game and know what not to do in the next game.\"
\r\n
\r\nOne of his biggest attributes that has the Mets excited is his makeup on the mound. A true student of the game, Parnell continues to grasp the mental aspects of baseball.
\r\n
\r\n\"Don't get down on yourself,\" Parnell listed as the biggest lesson he has learned this season. \"You've got to keep your head up. I'm here for a reason. It's what everybody tells you - 'you're here for a reason, keep your head up, and keep doing what you can do'. That's what I've learned, you've really got to keep your head up and not focus too much on the past.\"
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