Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mejia is Not Parnell

Quick blurb from Metsblog caught my eye today:
…mejia struck out Matt Diaz with a 97 mph fastball, high out of the strike zone, that diaz swung at, missed and seemingly never saw… by the way, SNY’s Gary Cohen brought up an interesting point, in that, last spring, people were raving about Bobby Parnell in much the same way they’re doing now with mejia… yet, here we are wondering what parnell’s future holds…
Well... let's see.

Jenrry Mejia is an ELITE prospect. He's got a plus plus fastball which touches 97 and with cutting action. His secondary pitches are coming along and show a lot pf promise. He's coming off a season where, at the age of 19, he dominated High-A ball and held his own in Double-A. He even struck out more than a batter per inning at Binghamton. To do this as a teenager is extremely impressive.

Bobby Parnell was not an elite prospect. He was drafted in the ninth round of the amateur draft and was given a tiny bonus. He's got a fastball which touches 99 but is flat and straight. He has no secondary pitch worth noting. Last year, he was coming off a season where he struggled in Double-A and was shelled in Triple-A as a 23 year old.

To complete the (what's the opposite of an analogy?) comparison, their spring trainings aren't similar at all either. This year, Mejia has electrified camp with a great spring, posting a 1.54 ERA over 12 innings with a K-BB ratio of 9-2 and only 7 hits. Last year, Parnell also had a great ERA of 1.88, but he supported it with a K-BB ratio of 11-10, while also giving up 12 hits. The ERA's are similar -- but the similarity ends there.

Mejia is a far better prospect, with far better stuff, and has had a far better spring. The comparison is meaningful in that they are both youngsters who posted low ERA's in a dozen spring innings... but to mention the two in the same breath is a slight to Mejia's actual (not imaginary, as in the case of Parnell) potential.


Edit: Actually, that is harsh of me regarding Parnell. To be clear, and I've said this before, Parnell has every opportunity to become a useful reliever. Guys who can throw as hard as he can and throw strikes do not grow on trees - and they have the kind of potential that coaches dream about. If he can develop a good secondary pitch, or find a way to cut or sink his current fastball, he could be great. But the pedigree, the resume, and the percentage chance of that happening, are not as great as they have been made out to be for the last year.

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