Meet Bobby Parnell, new Mets closer
The Mets installed Bobby Parnell as their closer last night, assuming Frank Francisco begins the season on the disabled list. Despite his fantastic season in 2012, Parnell struggled in a few of his save opportunities when Francisco was injured, leading to the perception that he’s not closer material.
The numbers, however, say that he is. Parnell can still throw over 100 miles per hour when he wants to. He has found a trusted secondary pitch in the knuckle-curve that Jason Isringhausen taught him two years ago. He wants badly to be a closer.
But perhaps most importantly, Parnell took an enormous step forward with his control in 2012, walking 2.6 batters per nine innings. He issued 4.1 free passes per nine in 2011, in line with his career rate of 4.0. As long as Parnell can hold steady with his control as a closer in 2013, there is no rational reason to believe he will struggle.
As for Francisco, who knows? If Parnell seizes this opportunity and Francisco remains sidelined for any significant period of time, the closer’s job may be in new hands for good. Certainly, the Mets are excited to see what Parnell can do in the role.
Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.