Highly-touted pitching prospect Jarrod Parker walked three Rockies hitters in a row yesterday before getting Troy Tulowitzki to fly out in a meaningless Spring Training game.
And the Arizona Republic covered that series of events by calling it "starpower," a silly characterization from a writer -- Nick Piecoro -- who should know better.
New Times warned last week against overhyping young baseball pitchers, an unfortunate habit in the world of sports reporting that casts a heavy shadow on ballplayers and creates unrealistic fan expectations that can ruin careers.
But it isn't just the Republic buying the hype, calling him "the organization's great pitching hope." Piercoro quotes Parker as saying, "I'm about done with being a prospect."
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If the Republic's characterization of the game is silly, Parker's comment is absurd and disrespectful to the game.
Parker is a young man with a fine arm who is recovering from Tommy John Surgery that may or may not rob him of his best pitch, the slider. He only threw one in yesterday's game, and it will be interesting to watch how often he dips into that well throughout the season. He also has control problems, walking more hitters than is advisable before he got hurt.
The kid is 22 years old and has thrown zero innings since 2009. That year he dominated Visalia in A+ ball before putting up an unspectacular 78 innings in AA. Parker walked 3.9 batters per 9 innings at AA, a figure he will need to reduce to be successful in the major leagues, especially against good-hitting teams.
Yes, he is talented. But he has a lot of work to do, something New Times hopes a pitching coach in the Diamondbacks system will hammer into him, perhaps after a viewing of Bull Durham.