Earlier today, the Mets went local with their 11th pick in this year’s draft. They chose Franklin Parra from Copiague High School on Long Island. He is a left handed pitcher with roots in the Dominican. He has a 92-93 fastball that can touch 94-95, with plenty of life and he also features a nasty curve plus a split change and slider. While pitching during this cold and nasty spring, the senior southpaw registered 74 strikeouts in 34 innings. All of his skills will only get better as he comes through the Mets’ system, one that has a good track record for developing pitchers.
I like that the Mets went local again. Steven Matz out of Ward Melville High School in Stony Brook was the last pitcher picked from Long Island. For Parra, he now joins a fellow alumni from Copiague, right hand pitcher Hank Webb, who was drafted by the Mets as the top pick in the 10th round in the 1968 draft. webb played at the big league level for five years, four with the Mets and one with the Dodgers.
I have followed Franklin for three years now and recall seeing him for the first time working out in the gym at Copiague JR. high school when he was a sophomore. Having myself played baseball at Copiague with Webb many years ago, I was curious about how their baseball program was doing. I never went looking for anyone and was excited when I saw this young kid throwing. He impressed me with his flawless mechanics and the movement he had on the ball. As I got to know him a little bit more, I saw something about his make-up as a person and player that impressed me even more than his ability to throw a ball.
You see, make-up is a very big part of evaluating talent in this game. I saw where he had drive, determination and a fire in his gut. He never complained about the weather conditions or a bad mound. He was always encouraging his teammates and showed good leadership qualities. Parra is a quick learner and very coachable. The people in player development are going to love this kid.
There is something about Parra that tells me he is going to make it to the big leagues one day. Maybe he will be part of a new generation of solid young arms that will take this club to another championship. This is where it all starts for organizations. Building from within. They must scout and draft smart. Are there times when a scout gets it wrong? You bet there are. When you look at how many prospects are signed every year and how many are out of baseball in two years. It’s a tough job to project what a kid will be like 3-4 years down the road.
Coming from high school and being away from home for months for the first time is a big adjustment. Playing every day for the first three months in rookie ball is not that pretty. Some can’t make those adjustments and it affects their play. Injuries will occur and when they see the competition, some of them lose confidence. That is why there is so much emphasis on make-up.
This kid has the heart and desire to go far in this game. He has a lot going for him and wants it bad. I believe the Mets have a sleeper here and they know it.
Good luck Franklin Parra, from a fellow Copiague baseball draft pick alumni. We are all proud of you and wish you the best.