Parnell Meets His Goals

He achieved early success in 2007 with St. Lucie, and after the season's first two months, Bobby Parnell was rewarded with a call up to Binghamton. While the Eastern League provided its challenges, he still navigated his way to a strong season. Inside Pitch spoke with Parnell about his time with the club.

Bobby Parnell was set on making a name for himself. Already known for his heavy, but electric, two-seam fastball, he was set on becoming a more well-round pitcher in his third year in the organization. He was sharp during his first long stay in St. Lucie before his promotion (3-3, 3.25 ERA), but when he entered Binghamton, he knew his game would have to take another step forward if he was to compete against Double-A hitters.

"[Going to Binghamton] definitely came with its adjustments," Parnell said. "It's obviously a more advanced league of hitters, so I knew that I really had to take control of my game and stay ahead all the time. I was trying to learn the hitters while I was up there and trying to learn a little bit more about myself. I focused on what got me here and stuck with that."

Right out of the gate, he demonstrated that he could in fact hang with the opposition as he posted a 3.13 ERA in four June starts with a .216 opponents' batting average. Despite the 0-2 record, his repertoire translated well to the Eastern League. His mix of fastballs (both two and four-seam), slider and a quickly maturing changeup allowed him to work successfully through his first 23.1 innings pitched.

"If anything, my stuff got better as I moved up. My changeup and slider really improved while I was with Binghamton. I was using my fastball to set up the other pitches, and I think I did that well. [In Binghamton], I felt that I was able to look at the hitters and have that confidence that I could pitch well against them. " Parnell said.

However, as the calendar turned to August, inconsistency began to rear its ugly head as Parnell endured his first extended period of struggles with the B-Mets. He limped through six August starts as his ability to keep the ball down waned. The more seasoned hitters took advantage of balls left up in the zone leading to a 6.75 ERA for the month, and batters hit just below .300 off him. For Parnell, it was a lessoned learned about maintaining mechanics as he moves up the ranks.

"Those guys definitely hit the mistakes more. I was leaving the ball up too much towards the end of the season. With these guys, I need to make sure that I'm always leaving the ball down because they'll get good wood on most pitches left up," he explained.

Known as a groundball pitcher, the telling sign of Parnell's laboring was in his groundball-to-flyball ratio which dipped nearly two full points between St. Lucie and Binghamton. His atypical mechanics and power fastballs induce many groundballs, but that was not the case in Binghamton and he paid for it. While giving credit to the league's hitters, he accepts that now at a higher level, he will have to stay on top of the ball even more.

"I think the better hitters are just able to hit better line drives and put the ball in better spots. As a pitcher who can throw hard, I can't beat their barrel as much as I can do it to the Florida State League hitters," he said. "Even when I make good pitches, these better hitters have that ability to do something more with than maybe guys I faced while with St. Lucie. It's something I've got to work on and force more groundballs."

Despite the tumultuous July, he was able to right himself for August, posting a 4-1 record with a 3.24 ERA. Although the overall numbers look pretty, the signs of inconsistency did return. In his first three starts of the month, he gave up just one earned run 20 innings pitched, but followed that with consecutive drubbings of seven earned runs in 5.1 innings pitched and four earned runs in 1.2 innings pitched.

Needless to say, he was not happy. Yet, Parnell worked closely with Binghamton pitching coach Ricky Bones, who kept him on a even keel and within the confines of his comfort zone.

"Ricky he was great. He definitely kept me positive and kept my stuff to where it needed to be. He was very upbeat even after a poor start. He always made sure I was focusing on my strong points and he really brought that out of me. He was a great pitching coach," he said. (He recovered after that last poor outing with a 6.1 inning, scoreless performance on August 29)

Parnell admitted that he did experience arm fatigue down the stretch which attributed to his shaky performances in his last few starts. His 29th and final start of the season lasted only three innings in which he gave up five earned runs on eight hits (he made 21 starts in 2006). A disappointing end, but Parnell cannot wait to get back out there.

"The body was definitely tired, but that's what you expect after a long year. I wouldn't say the arm was tired, but it was definitely fatigued. But, I want to give it its rest and I'm itching to get throwing again," he said.

In retrospect, Parnell put together a very fine season, which is so critical for him as his name comes up more and more in discussions about standout arms within in the farm system. For the soon-to-be 23-year-old (his birthday is tomorrow), it was a year of accomplishment; one that he knows, and expects, will carry him into 2008.

"I feel like since I started in the Florida State League, and getting called up earlier than I thought was great. Getting to Double-A was a goal of mine from the beginning and I definitely got there earlier than I thought," he disclosed. "Getting called up drives me to get better, but all in all, I want to be a better pitcher and I feel like I ended where I belong. I feel like next year will be my year in Triple-A, and that's what I'll strive for."


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nBobby Parnell was set on making a name for himself. Already known for his heavy, but electric, two-seam fastball, he was set on becoming a more well-round pitcher in his third year in the organization. He was sharp during his first long stay in St. Lucie before his promotion (3-3, 3.25 ERA), but when he entered Binghamton, he knew his game would have to take another step forward if he was to compete against Double-A hitters.
\r\n
\r\n\"[Going to Binghamton] definitely came with its adjustments,\" Parnell said. \"It's obviously a more advanced league of hitters, so I knew that I really had to take control of my game and stay ahead all the time. I was trying to learn the hitters while I was up there and trying to learn a little bit more about myself. I focused on what got me here and stuck with that.\"
\r\n
\r\nRight out of the gate, he demonstrated that he could in fact hang with the opposition as he posted a 3.13 ERA in four June starts with a .216 opponents' batting average. Despite the 0-2 record, his repertoire translated well to the Eastern League. His mix of fastballs (both two and four-seam), slider and a quickly maturing changeup allowed him to work successfully through his first 23.1 innings pitched.
\r\n
\r\n\"If anything, my stuff got better as I moved up. My changeup and slider really improved while I was with Binghamton. I was using my fastball to set up the other pitches, and I think I did that well. [In Binghamton], I felt that I was able to look at the hitters and have that confidence that I could pitch well against them. \" Parnell said.
\r\n
\r\nHowever, as the calendar turned to August, inconsistency began to rear its ugly head as Parnell endured his first extended period of struggles with the B-Mets. He limped through six August starts as his ability to keep the ball down waned. The more seasoned hitters took advantage of balls left up in the zone leading to a 6.75 ERA for the month, and batters hit just below .300 off him. For Parnell, it was a lessoned learned about maintaining mechanics as he moves up the ranks.
\r\n
\r\n\"Those guys definitely hit the mistakes more. I was leaving the ball up too much towards the end of the season. With these guys, I need to make sure that I'm always leaving the ball down because they'll get good wood on most pitches left up,\" he explained.
\r\n
\r\nKnown as a groundball pitcher, the telling sign of Parnell's laboring was in his groundball-to-flyball ratio which dipped nearly two full points between St. Lucie and Binghamton. His atypical mechanics and power fastballs induce many groundballs, but that was not the case in Binghamton and he paid for it. While giving credit to the league's hitters, he accepts that now at a higher level, he will have to stay on top of the ball even more.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think the better hitters are just able to hit better line drives and put the ball in better spots. As a pitcher who can throw hard, I can't beat their barrel as much as I can do it to the Florida State League hitters,\" he said. \"Even when I make good pitches, these better hitters have that ability to do something more with than maybe guys I faced while with St. Lucie. It's something I've got to work on and force more groundballs.\"
\r\n
\r\nDespite the tumultuous July, he was able to right himself for August, posting a 4-1 record with a 3.24 ERA. Although the overall numbers look pretty, the signs of inconsistency did return. In his first three starts of the month, he gave up just one earned run 20 innings pitched, but followed that with consecutive drubbings of seven earned runs in 5.1 innings pitched and four earned runs in 1.2 innings pitched.
\r\n
\r\nNeedless to say, he was not happy. Yet, Parnell worked closely with Binghamton pitching coach Ricky Bones, who kept him on a even keel and within the confines of his comfort zone.
\r\n
\r\n\"Ricky he was great. He definitely kept me positive and kept my stuff to where it needed to be. He was very upbeat even after a poor start. He always made sure I was focusing on my strong points and he really brought that out of me. He was a great pitching coach,\" he said. (He recovered after that last poor outing with a 6.1 inning, scoreless performance on August 29)
\r\n
\r\nParnell admitted that he did experience arm fatigue down the stretch which attributed to his shaky performances in his last few starts. His 29th and final start of the season lasted only three innings in which he gave up five earned runs on eight hits (he made 21 starts in 2006). A disappointing end, but Parnell cannot wait to get back out there.
\r\n
\r\n\"The body was definitely tired, but that's what you expect after a long year. I wouldn't say the arm was tired, but it was definitely fatigued. But, I want to give it its rest and I'm itching to get throwing again,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\nIn retrospect, Parnell put together a very fine season, which is so critical for him as his name comes up more and more in discussions about standout arms within in the farm system. For the soon-to-be 23-year-old (his birthday is tomorrow), it was a year of accomplishment; one that he knows, and expects, will carry him into 2008.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel like since I started in the Florida State League, and getting called up earlier than I thought was great. Getting to Double-A was a goal of mine from the beginning and I definitely got there earlier than I thought,\" he disclosed. \"Getting called up drives me to get better, but all in all, I want to be a better pitcher and I feel like I ended where I belong. I feel like next year will be my year in Triple-A, and that's what I'll strive for.\"
\r\n
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