It’s amazing how things can change over the course of the season.
The first month of the right hand Tommy ParsonsIt can be said that the 2022 campaign was the low point of his professional career. But with the minor league table coming to a close, the 27-year-old St. Louis Cardinals have made strides and look closer than ever for a major league opportunity.
Parsons, who starred in Division III Adrian College and signed with the Cardinals as an uncut free agent in 2018, put in a very good showing in his first two professional seasons. But after missing a year of excitement in 2020 (spending some time at the Cardinals’ alternate training site in Springfield), he struggled hard at Triple-A Memphis last year. Parsons had a solid 2.92 hit-to-walk ratio, but his opponent’s 5.86 ERA and 0.292 hit average average over 73.2 runs was pretty disconcerting. Entering 2022, his career seemed to be at a crossroads.
Parsons started the season again in Memphis, working out of the game and often blasting off in one or two bursts despite being a starter for most of his career. He did little to help his cause in April, posting an 8.18 PM with a 0.954 OPS discount over 11 rounds of relief. Since the calendar flips back to May, Parsons has looked like a different jug.
In the 113.2 innings since May 1, Parsons has held opposing hitters for the .194/.277/.396 slash. He moved into the Redbirds rotation in June and looked much more comfortable there. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Ayman was at his best during the final month of the season, making a 1.02 ERA with an average batting opponent of 0.19, 18 strikes and five walks over 17.2 runs spanning three starts in September.
While Parsons-era 4.19 might not quite stand him, he is arguably the most reliable bowler in Memphis this year and has solid numbers – at least in the context of being a running pitcher – in most peripheral categories: 1.15 WHIP, average 200 opponents, 100 hits and 52 walks in 124.2 rounds. For all he deserves in 2022, he also ranked second in the International League with 11 wins. If he doesn’t allow 26 home runs – the second-most of any pitcher in IL – his era will look exponentially better and his season will almost certainly be widely discussed as one of the best in the system.
As much as Parsons has already beaten the odds to be where he is now, he still faces an uphill climb to land a major league career. He’s relatively old for a player who doesn’t have much experience in the league, isn’t super fast and doesn’t miss a lot of bats. The Cardinals were more willing than most organizations to give shooters opportunities with this kind of profile, though, so Parsons seems to be in a good place.
With time running out in the 2022 season and Parsons still not on the Cardinals’ roster of 40, the odds of him making his league debut this year are rather low. But he has put himself in a good position to compete for a big job in the league in 2023.