WASHINGTON - The first three starts of this season didn’t go very well for Mitchell Parker, a fifth-round pick of the Nationals in 2020.
The left-hander from New Mexico pitched a total of 12.2 innings for low Single-A Fredericksburg and gave up 13 hits, eight walks, and seven earned runs.
That called for some changes.
“We made some really short, quick adjustments and they worked,” Pat Rice, the pitching coach for Fredericksburg, told Federal Baseball this week.
“Sometimes it doesn’t work but it worked pretty quickly.”
In his fourth start, Parker went six innings on May 25 and gave up just one hit and no earned runs.
Parker, in his next outing May 30 against Down East in North Carolina, threw six hitless innings and gave up no runs.
“He did a really nice job. It happened way quicker that I would have thought,” said Rice, who pitched in seven games for Seattle in 1991.
“He threw the ball exceptionally well here and off he went.”
Parker made his last outing on July 11 for Fredericksburg and then was bumped up to high Single-A Wilmington in Delaware.
His numbers are not eye-popping: he was 3-7, 4.08 in 12 games with 10 starts for Fredericksburg, and in his first eight starts for Wilmington was 0-3, 5.34.
Parker, 21, was drafted out of a Texas junior college last year and like many pitchers didn’t get a chance to pitch in a league last year due to the pandemic. Then he bounced back after a rough start this spring.
“He threw the ball extremely well for us,” Rice said.
Parker worked out last winter in Florida at a facility that drew many Major Leaguers, including Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbins, Brad Hand and Aaron Barrett.
“One of the guys I did come across was Aaron Barrett,” Parker told Federal Baseball earlier this year.
“I was talking to him about hitters and everything and how he pitches to different guys and things like that.”
“I was kind of learning what they have to go through at the big league level,” Parker added.
“And figuring out what goes through his mind on the baseball field on a daily basis. Just knowing those guys were at the facility raises your intensity level.”