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Parker Messick working to build off dominant freshman season

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An added pitch could see the southpaw move to the starting rotation.

Brett Nevitt

Despite being named 8A player of the year in Florida and leading Plant City to their first ever state title in 2019, Parker Messick began his freshman year not rated a top 500 player in the country nor a top 10 LHP in the state. Messick didn’t care about the ratings, he just wanted to earn his role.

“If you just walk in and try and earn your job, be a good teammate, work your way in, and hustle every day,” he told me, “you’ll earn your respect that way, then that’s when you’ll start getting all the love and respect you want.”

And that’s exactly what Messick did. At the end of his shortened freshman season, he was rated one of the best eight freshman in the ACC.

The southpaw finished his 2020 with a 0.77 ERA, giving up just one ER in 11.2 IP. He didn’t do it cheaply either, as half of his innings came against top five teams in the nation. Messick’s ‘bulldog mentality’ is what helped him to compete at the highest level against the best teams.

“I treat each team the same. Every time I step on the mound, I try to treat it as a tie ball game... I can’t even let that guy touch first base. I hate it when guys foul balls off, I hate it when guys take balls, I’m trying to get everybody out, I don’t care who they are.”

The Plant City-native came into a loaded and deep bullpen as a freshman, but quickly gained the confidence of Mike Martin Jr. to be his closer in the backend of the pen. Messick was lights out in the high-leverage situations, but he came to FSU as a starter, and with the likely departure of one or two weekend starters, the LHP could find himself in a battle for a weekend job.

Wherever he lands in 2021, the freshman will just look to execute.

“Wherever they put me, I’m going to play my role,” he said. “I definitely enjoy starting, I also enjoy coming in and being the bulldog out of the pen.”

Parker finished his freshman season with a 19-2 K-BB ratio, but he’s still looking to get better with his command. He’s adding a curveball to his arsenal, to give himself more of a starter’s pitch mix heading into his second year at FSU.

“I think I walked two people in my 11 innings, I don’t want to walk anybody, I don’t want to give up any home runs... there’s always something to improve on.”

Messick has been working out in the gym two times a day, while also doing cardio work every day.

For my entire interview with him, see below:


So how’d Messick dominate so many good hitters in the spring? I got to see Messick’s most recent bullpen and was able to get an up close look at his heater and wipeout off-speed. Let’s take a close look at each one of his pitches.

The fastball is the key for Messick. When he can get ahead early in the count, opponents don’t have much of a chance. He spots it to both blacks of the plate, while sitting in the 90-92 MPH range. We’ve also seen him run it up to 94 often. Even when the pitch sits in the low 90’s, it jumps on hitters from his low elbow slot. The low elbow creates a lot of back-spin, which makes the ball seem like it is rising. Messick has that rare ability to make hitters uncomfortable with a ‘rising fastball,’ like Craig Kimbrel and AJ Minter.

The changeup sets the southpaw apart from many other lefties. Once the ball gets 50 feet, it drops off the table. This gives him the ability to get right-handed hitters out as well. When he gets it down in the zone, it’s hard for any hitter to lay off.

The slider is a true wipeout pitch. Sometimes, due to his arm angle, it works more as a slurve with some more depth. Either way, it’s his strikeout pitch against lefties. The slider is mostly side-to-side, and can sometimes be hard to command. It’s a pitch thrown for swings-and-misses.

The addition of the curveball will give Parker more of a get-me-over breaking ball, that he can use while down in the count. It’s also easier to throw to righties, as it’s a 12-6 knuckle curve, meaning it’s more up-and-down, compared to side-to-side. If he’s able to add this pitch to his arsenal, he’ll have a true starter’s repertoire.

To see Messick’s full bullpen, including open-face mechanics, see below: