I have never been a big fan of Bobby Parnell. I know he has a dynamite arm, but he hasn't shown any ability to harness his talent at any level of professional baseball. All I see when I look at Parnell is Kyle Farnsworth, without the propensity to reel off three unhittable months every couple of seasons.
Still, watching Parnell mow down the Astros in the 11th and 12th inning tonight, mixing a triple-digit fastball with a sharp-breaking slider, made me sit up and take notice. The SNY radar gun is obviously too fast - it clocked the fastball used to blow away Chris Johnson at 102 MPH. Even if it was, say, 3 MPH too fast tonight, that means Parnell was still locating a 99 MPH fastball against major league hitters.
You can teach a lot of things, but you cannot teach a 99 MPH fastball.
With Francisco Rodriguez out for the season and the Mets going nowhere fast, lame duck skipper Jerry Manuel might as well install Parnell as the closer for the last 40 games. If he racks up 10 to 15 saves, regardless of how effective he really is, it will only enhance Parnell's trade value this off-season. If he actually takes to the closer's spot well, the Mets may have finally found a role for Parnell to succeed in.