Blake Parker Happy To Be Parked With Halos

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Updated: April 11, 2017

Blake Parker was not guaranteed to have a roster spot with the Angels this season. His sensational spring performance, though, earned him one. It makes a plethora of sense considering the last 17 outs he recorded in spring were all via the strikeout.

Jeff Fletcher of The Orange County Register recently talked about all the latest on the Halos’ reliever. Parker states that while he is thrilled to be with the club, he hints at luck being a part of his success in the preseason contests.

“‘I’m blessed to have it work out like that,” Parker said. ‘I threw a lot of pitches that could have gotten hit out of the park, and they got fouled off or whatever.’”

Whether it is a matter of luck or not, Parker indeed made it to The Show. He is doing okay in his time with the ball club so far. He is not doing bad at all. In four innings of work, he has collected seven punch outs. In furtherance of that, batters are hitting merely .176 against him up to this point.

His success makes it easy to ask why he has not spent much time in the big leagues. It does seem curious without knowing a bit more about the Angels’ bullpen arm.

The thing is this. Parker was originally drafted as a catcher in 2006 by the Cubs and just a couple years back he had to have elbow surgery. Ouch. A year after Chicago drafted Blake, they inquired if he could make the position switch. Blake knew he had the potential given his arm strength. However, his skills as a pitcher back then were not sky high per se. Thus, Parker knew he had to put in the time and energy to make things happen.

It took him multiple years to get his first call to real-time action. After appearing in a few games in 2012, he earned a more prominent role with the Cubs in 2013. In 46 1/3 innings, he posted a solid 2.72 ERA.

After that, things turned sour. He did not pitch as well in 2014. The following year he had no choice but to have that previously referenced surgery. It was not until 2016 that things improved slightly. He played off and on with the Mariners and Yankees. His options eventually fizzed out, though.

His fall was every bit as topsy-turvy in nature. After a point, the Angels really started to take notice of him. There was something about him that stuck out. Fletcher notes that they detected “a pitcher whose stuff [had] been gradually improving. His average fastball in 2014, before the elbow trouble, was 91.5 mph. Last season, it was 92.24. So far this season, it’s been 93.74.”

The improvement aspect is vital and shows how persistent Parker has remained through it all. The relief pitcher explains the difference between today’s version of himself versus one from a few years back.

“‘Just getting that full year of everyday throwing and every third day at least getting on the mound and not having any issues,’ he said. ‘Building up arm strength through proper mechanics and refiguring things that give you a few extra miles an hour. Your release point or something in your legs or something mechanically.’”

Even though his journey has not been the smoothest, Parker’s efforts have finally paid off. He is doing a solid job with the club, and as long as he continues to be sharp he may be a fixture in Anaheim in the years to come. Hopefully he keeps this up and continues to rack up K’s.

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