Two-Seamer Gives D-backs' Parker New Weapon
PHOENIX—Righthander Jarrod Parker's reconstructed right elbow held up just fine this year, and the addition of a two-seam fastball made it a doubly successful return from Tommy John surgery.
Parker, a first-round pick in 2007 and the Diamondbacks' top prospect before his injury, integrated the two-seamer at the suggestion of Double-A Mobile pitching coach Dan Carlson, and by the end of the season it had become a staple, adding to a repertoire that includes a four-seamer, a curveball and a slider.
"It helped to be a little more efficient and get more ground balls. It also helped me have a chance to pitch later in games," Parker said. "It made it a lot easier. We just kept working on it. My first start with it was probably 20 (two-seamers). By the end of the year, it was probably 90 percent two-seamers the entire game. It wasn't like it just happened overnight. I was working on it every single day I was throwing. It was a matter of getting comfortable with it, and where and when I wanted to throw it."
Parker, 22, went 11-8, 3.79 and made all of his 26 scheduled starts, striking out 112 and giving up 112 hits in 131 innings. He got sharper as the season went on, winning four of his final six decisions with a 2.96 ERA before going 1-0, 1.50 in two postseason starts as Mobile won the Southern League title. With the two-seamer as a primary weapon, Parker did not give up a home run in his final 55 regular-season innings.
"It started out rough early, had some ups and downs, but I wanted to keep pressing through the hard times, knowing that it was going to get a little better once I kept working and got more experience," he said. "You can't simulate the game speed. I just needed the work and the innings."
Parker joined the major league club the day after Mobile won the league title and is expected to compete for a spot in the rotation next spring, although he is not looking that far ahead.
"I'm not putting anything past what's going on tomorrow or the next day. It's task-at-hand right now," Parker said.
• The Diamondbacks promoted Jeff Pico to minor league field coordinator and Mel Stottlemyre Jr. to minor league pitching coordinator at the end of the minor league season.
• Parker's Mobile teammate A.J. Pollock rebounded from missing 2010 as well, finishing with a .307/.357/.444 line in 550 at-bats. The 23-year-old outfielder also led all Diamondbacks farmhands with 36 steals.