Mike Silva's New York Baseball Digest » Blog Archive » Bobby Parnell and the Splitter

Bobby Parnell and the Splitter

By Mike Silva ~ January 25th, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets.

The Mets have some interesting righty arms lined up for the 2010 bullpen. Taylor Buchholz, Blaine Boyer, Pedro Beato, and Manny Acosta all have interesting upside. The one that could be poised for a breakout year is Bobby Parnell, who would have to be the favorite to land the eighth inning job for Terry Collins if the season started today.

Parnell struggled in 2009, splitting time between the bullpen and the rotation. Walks were the issue as he gave almost 5 batters per nine innings a free pass. He continued to struggle after starting 2010 in Buffalo, but righted himself and earned a call up in late June. He put up decent numbers the rest of the season (2.83 ERA, 2.1 walks per nine, 8.5 strikeouts per nine), but left handed batters gave him some trouble (.806 OPS). Also, despite reaching 100 mph on the fastball, Parnell still was very hittable.

One of the issues with Parnell is the lack of development of his secondary pitches. According to Texas Leaguer he threw his fastball nearly 81% of the time, and mixed in a slider at a 16% clip. Often, the slider was ineffective and batters would lay off waiting to time his fastball. Attempts at throwing a curve or changeup weren’t successful either. Despite that, Parnell is hopeful that his secondary pitches will be better in 2011.

Last week at Citi Field Parnell talked to me about how he is working on a split finger fastball that he believes will complement his slider. He said his arm action works well with the splitter because of the way the ball comes out of his hand. If you remember, there was another starter converted to reliever in Mets history that saw success out of the bullpen as a fastball, slider, and splitter pitcher: Rick Aguilera. Parnell with an effective splitter could be even better than Aguilera because of his triple digit fastball.

Two effective secondary pitches will prevent hitters from sitting on his fastball. It sounds like his arm action might make it difficult to pick up the splitter, forcing many a batter to flail at the pitch.

Of course, Parnell needs to show he can execute the pitch consistently. If he does, I don’t see why he can’t be the primary eighth inning man, and heir apparent to K-Rod as the closer, in the Mets bullpen.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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