Tag: lee smith

Mailbag: The Difference Between Bobby Parnell and Craig Kimbrel

From the MetsToday email inbox, a reader writes:

Hi Joe,
As a Met fan displaced in North Carolina, I very much enjoy reading your insights into the club, so please continue the good work.

I wonder if you might provide your thoughts on Bobby Parnell. His inconsistency has been frustrating to say the least. His stuff is great (upper 90s fastball and a hard late-breaking slider, + other off-speed stuff) and it resembles the repertoire of Atlanta’s Kimbrel (but without the success). What my fellow Met fans down here and I can’t understand is why the Met coaches insist on having him locate his fastball ‘down in the zone’. I’ve read them say this several times in the past couple of seasons. It’s clear from watching him pitch that his fastball is essentially a straight pitch when he throws it at the knees, taking away any tailing action he gets when it’s above the belt. Hitters simply drop the bat on these pitches and he gives up more hard hit singles through the infield than any pitcher I’ve seen in a some time. If you look up all of his blown saves (or blown holds), they invariably include several ground ball singles that get through because they are hit so hard. Given the difficulty in hitting an upper-90s fastball when it’s above the belt, why isn’t he using his velocity more to his advantage? And why are Mets coaches insisting he keep the ball down? All of the good closers of the past 30 years that had his kind of velocity (e.g., Gossage, Lee Smith, Papelbon, etc.) have lived up in the zone with their fastballs. What are the Met coaches thinking? Our fear is that they are ruining him (both from a pitching and psychological standpoint) and that he will end up on another team where they will get him doing what he should and he will come back to haunt the Mets. Thanks for any insights you have on this.


Fred, thank you so much for the kind words, and for visiting MetsToday.

I share your observations of, and concerns for, Bobby Parnell. His inability to convert his God-given talent into success is maddening. Are the Mets coaches / organizational pitching philosophy to blame?