The reputation of the Guardians’ player development system to maximize the potential of pitchers is well established.
That makes Cleveland an attractive draft-day landing spot for pitchers, but it also makes pitchers an attractive draft target for the Guardians.
In the 2021 draft, the Guardians selected pitchers with 19 of their 21 picks. In the 2022 draft, nine of Cleveland’s first 13 picks were pitchers. One of those was second-rounder Parker Messick, a lefthander from Florida State.
Messick was impressive in each of his three years at Florida State. In 2021, he went 8-2 with a 3.10 ERA while averaging 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings. He was so dynamic he became just the second player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to be named the conference’s pitcher and freshman of the year.
In 2022 he averaged 13.1 strikeouts per nine innings, and for the season overall his 144 strikeouts were fifth most in Division I.
“He came to us with experience against good competition in the ACC,” Guardians assistant general manager James Harris said. “He is competitive and fills up the zone with a four-pitch mix. On the mound, he has a unique pace to his delivery that allows him to create deception and keep hitters off balance.”
In three collegiate seasons, the first truncated by the pandemic, Messick recorded a 3.10 ERA with 289 strikeouts and 43 walks in 200 innings.
“He has an easy, average fastball that can reach 95 (mph) when he wants it,” Guardians scouting director Scott Barnsby said. “He has an advanced feel for a changeup that he can neutralize lefties and righties with, and two different breaking balls.
“He’s extremely competitive and pounds the strike zone.”