Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bell a case for patience with Parnell

Photo by Michael Baron
Despite his blown save last night Heath Bell has become a very successful closer and his body of work makes a strong case for practicing patience with Bobby Parnell. 

Bell despite his strong numbers throughout the minors was never considered much of a prospect, as John Sickels pointing out in this post in this case the numbers out weighed the scouting reports. Now Parnell didn't fly as low under the radar but his #8 prospect ranking was a result of being a dominant reliever and Bell's lack of recognition could be contributed to his lack of drafting the second time around.

As a Met, Bell struggled in his first full two seasons as a middle reliever, both '05' and '06' his ERA was over 5 and his WHIP 1.50.  He opened eyes as a set-up man in his first year with the Padres pitching to a 2.02 ERA but even after that success he struggled the very next year seeing his ERA increase to a 3.58. 

Still the small market Padres had seen enough that they handed him the closers role and he took off from there recording 120 saves ( most in the majors in that time frame) with an ERA below 3. 

Similarly Bobby Parnell struggled in his first two years as a middle reliever, despite the fireballer showing flashes of his ability he posted an over 5 ERA for '08' and '09' and it was 2010 that he really turned heads as a set-up man with a 2.83 ERA.  In fact it was the 2010 season that had many fans calling him the next closer and just like Bell as the pressure built Parnell has struggled.

 Bell stepped back in his second season as the set-up man as there was discussion of him replacing Hoffman and Parnell has seen his ERA go from 2.92 in the first half  to 5.56 since Frankie left. 

Once can only hope that the similarities will continue and when Bobby is handed the closers role he can produce three All-Star seasons with 120 saves at a below 3 ERA.