Tag: henry owens

2010 Analysis: Bobby Parnell

During the spring of 2010, Robert Parnell was the backup to the backup to the backup (and possibly to the backup) setup man. The Mets had figured on Kelvim Escobar as the 8th inning guy (before learning the only object he could firmly hold in his hand was a pen to sign a $1.25M contract), but also imported flamethrower Ryota Igarashi just in case Escobar couldn’t grip a baseball, counted on Sean Green as a third alternative, and signed Kiko Calero as their “just in case” setup man – with Parnell penciled in as the “if all else fails” option.

As it was, the Mets quickly found their way to “all else fails”, and Parnell was not quite up to the task. The hard-throwing righty didn’t even make the Opening Day roster, despite showing flashes of brilliance as a late-inning reliever and late-season starter in 2009 (sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Can you say “Jenrry Mejia”?). He began the season in AAA Buffalo, posting a fat 4.14 ERA but an acceptable 1.28 WHIP and impressive 42 Ks in 41 IP through 24 games. He made his first 2010 MLB appearance in a laugher against the Tigers on June 23rd, throwing high heat but requiring 21 pitches to get 3 outs with an 8-run lead. He finished the season with a shiny 2.83 ERA and 33 Ks in 35 IP but allowed a disturbing 41 hits – a concerning issue for someone who can touch triple digits. Without doubt, Parnell was much better at finding the strike zone in his sophomore season than he was as a rookie, but he was also much more hittable. His biggest problem was that when his fastball ran into the upper 90s, it lacked movement; it was as straight as an arrow, reminiscent of the early days of Heath Bell. Unlike Heath Bell, Parnell had no secondary pitches to fall back on, other than an inconsistent slider that looked hellacious once in every ten tries, but was flat and fat in around 60 to 70% of the time.

2011 Projection

Bobby Parnell has a gift that few on this planet own: the ability to reach triple digits on the radar gun. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but it’s also not a guarantee of success – particularly if it a) lacks movement; b) cannot be controlled; and c) has no consistent complementary pitch to keep hitters guessing.

Does that mean the Mets should give up on Parnell? Absolutely not. In the past, the Mets made egregious errors in trading away similarly gifted flamethrowers such as Bell, Matt Lindstrom, and Henry Owens. The bottom line is that young men who throw 100-MPH fastballs do not grow on trees, and if you have one who can come close to the plate the majority of the time, you hold on to him for as long as you can in the hopes that he’ll eventually “figure it out”. Parnell may never “figure it out”, but if he does, the Mets will have an electrifying reliever with dominant closer potential – a type of reliever you might compare to Brad Lidge or John Wetteland. At the very worst, he’ll be on the level of Lindstrom / Owens, which is still a valuable asset in any MLB bullpen.

Read the 2009 Analysis of Bobby Parnell

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Where Is Adam Bostick?

adam-bostickBack in August — long after the Mets exited the Wild Card race — the one thing we had to look forward to were the September call-ups. Sure, the games played would be meaningless, but we’d get a chance to see the best the Mets’ minors had to offer, a month-long audition. It would be kind of like spring training, only colder, and the games would count.

One of the pitchers we were eager to see in September was Adam Bostick.

Bostick, after all, was the last shred of evidence that the Mets once owned minor league pitchers who touched triple digits. To refresh your memory, Bostick came to the organization along with lefty starter Jason Vargas in a trade that sent Matt Lindstrom and Henry Owens to the Florida Marlins. At the time, it was a move to give the Mets roster flexibility and more youth, since Lindstrom and Owens were ready to be on an MLB roster but the Mets didn’t believe they were ready to contribute at a championship level. Also at the time, the Mets had several hard-throwing righties over the age of 25 in their organization, and felt it would be a good idea to deal from strength to get two young lefthanders — in essence, it bought the team some time.

That time has since come and gone, and Bostick remains a minor leaguer. Once a starter, he’s been converted to the bullpen, and put up fairly decent numbers. Splitting the season between AA Binghamton and AAA Buffalo, Bostick struck out 63 in 56 innings and posted a 3.05 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. Not eye-popping numbers, but interesting enough for a team that could use another LOOGY in the ‘pen and has no other pitching prospects close to big league-ready. Really now, would you rather see what Bostick can do, or would you prefer to continue seeing the aging Elmer Dessens and Ken Takahashi take the hill?

Why wasn’t Bostick promoted? Many conspiracy theories abound. As far as we know, he’s not injured. He’s not on the 40-man roster so there is speculation that the Mets didn’t want to add him to it — because then they’d have to keep him there or possibly lose him. But that doesn’t hold water, because as an 8-year veteran of the minors, he’s a free agent after this season no matter what. Though the 40-man is currently full, room could have been made — in addition to the two old men mentioned previously, the Mets are also carrying Robinson Cancel, Arturo Lopez, and Andy Green on the roster for reasons unknown to mere mortals (not to mention the fact that Johan Santana and Oliver Perez are on the 15-day DL, rather than the 60-day). We can only guess that Bostick ticked someone off — perhaps this is a situation similar to Wily Mo Pena’s earlier in the year.

We do know he’ll be playing winter ball in Venezuela, but don’t know much else.

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Happy Birthday Duke Carmel

Duke Carmel of the 1963 MetsDuke Carmel is neither a candy bar nor a nemesis of cartoon superhero “Underdog”. In actuality, New York native Leon James “Duke” Carmel was a Major League OF/1B who trudged through 47 games for the Mets in 1963. He also is one of the rare ballplayers to have played for both the Mets and the Yankees (strangely enough, the Yanks stole him a from the Mets in the Rule 5 draft in November 1964). Duke was born on April 23, 1937 — happy birthday, Duke!

Other former Mets born on this day include Hall of Famer Warren Spahn (1921), singles hitter Jason Tyner (1977), and flamethrowing catcher-turned-reliever Henry Owens (1979).

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Henry Owens Suspended for PEDs

Former Mets farmhand and current Florida Marlin reliever Henry Owens has been suspended by MLB for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.

Hat tip to MetsToday reader Schmidtxtc for alerting us.

After emerging as a potential setup man in early 2007 (posting a 1.96 ERA in 22 games), Owens suffered shoulder injuries that eventually led to rotator cuff surgery that August. He spent most of 2008 rehabbing, and it can be surmised that the undisclosed PED may have been used to accelerate the recovery.

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