While some scouts may look at 24-year-old righthander Parker Dunshee and complain that nothing stands out, Gil Patterson would disagree.
“When I used to coach El Duque with the Yankees, he said, ‘You pitch with your head, your heart and your cojones.’ That’s what Parker does,” said Patterson, the Athletics’ minor league pitching coordinator, remembering his days with Orlando Hernandez.
“He’s as fierce a competitor as I’ve seen. He’s almost like a 35-year-old who’s played 15 years in the big leagues. He’s really got a head on his shoulders.”
The 2017 seventh-rounder out of Wake Forest has vaulted through the system and has earned an invitation to big league camp in his third pro season. He is likely ticketed for Triple-A Las Vegas and could be in line for an in-season callup.
Dunshee stands in at 6 feet and pitches at 90 mph, but what he lacks in “wow” stuff he makes up for in smarts and results.
Dunshee kicked off his pro career with 38.1 scoreless innings for short-season Vermont. He followed that by recording a 2.33 ERA in 151 innings for high Class A Stockton and Double-A Midland in 2018, when he ranked eighth in the minors with 163 strikeouts.
His fastball, cutter, curveball and change all grade in the average range.
“He knows how to change speeds and fill up the strike zone,” Patterson said. “He’ll throw a curve, then he’ll come back with a cutter that he sometimes shapes into a slider. He’ll throw one at 84 (mph), another at 86, then his fastball at 90.”
Beyond that is his changeup, which Patterson said has become Dunshee’s best pitch, despite an early reluctance to use it. “He said, ‘I’m doing fine with what I’ve got.’ But I made him use it, and now he’s throwing it all the time for outs,” Patterson said.
The native of Zionsville, Ind., had a storied four-year career at Wake Forest, where he went 28-10, 3.20 and made the Atlantic Coast Conference’s all-academic team each year. The Cubs picked Dunshee in the 14th round after his junior season, but he decided to return to the Demon Deacons before taking his winning ways to pro ball.
—Righthander Daulton Jefferies came to camp healthy after missing most of last season after Tommy John surgery. Patterson said Jefferies has shown good velocity and a good changeup in early work.
—Righthander Frankie Montas has added a pitch to his repertoire. By adding a split-finger fastball, he hopes hitters will no longer be able to sit on his high-high-velocity fastball or his breaking ball.