Let’s rewind to 2010. Bobby Parnell, the Mets twenty-five year-old stud reliever, had just completed his finest season in the Major Leagues. In thirty-five innings, Parnell posted a 2.83 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, and 4.13 K/BB. His hit rate was a little high (10.5 H/9), but one peripheral stuck-out like a sore thumb–his immaculate, and uncharacteristic control.
Up until 2010, the fireballer had been infamous for his inability to limit the free passes, but then all of a sudden, Parnell somehow solved his Achilles heal. The right-handed reliever posted a 2.1 BB/9 in 2010, which was well below his career 3.88 BB/9 in the minors, and dismal 4.6 BB/9 in the majors. But in 2011, the confident pitcher regressed.
In Parnell’s first eight outings, the reliever posted a backwards 6.14 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, and 2.2 K/BB. Hitters owned a .290/.389/.484 line against him, but he also allowed five walks during that stint. Keep in mind, he only walked eight batters in 2010.
Parnell then complained about “numbness” in his thumb, and was subsequently placed on the disabled list. Whether the numbness contributed to his ineffectiveness is anyone’s guess, but since coming off the DL, Parnell has been a different pitcher. Aside from one bad appearance in May (let’s just call it a post-injury re-adjustment), the reliever’s month of June has been sparkling. Parnell has pitched five innings, giving up just four hits, zero earned-runs, one walk, and nine strikeouts. His 9.0 K/BB speaks perfectly to his resurgence as a competent pitcher with incredible command.
Five innings is hardly enough to get too excited about, but with pitchers like Parnell, any maturation, growth, or even a positive trend is an encouraging sign. It might be unrealistic to expect Bobby Parnell to repeat his 2.1 BB/9 from last season, but he certainly set a precedent for himself by posting it.