Parrish Looks To Improve His .241 Career Average
The opportunity to play Major League baseball is a dream for any player in the minor leagues. We’re only a week into the season and for Columbus Clippers catcher David Parrish, that fantasy appears to be dwindling at a rapid pace.
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David Parrish, selected by the New York Yankees in the 1st round (28th overall) of the 2000 draft, continues to be a work in progress. However, this season could be his final shot at proving himself.
The 26-year old catcher has the type of potential big league clubs are searching for. The problem is Parrish hasn’t developed into the all-around player the Yankees had hoped for, at least, not yet.
Playing in the Bronx is all about playing under pressure so in that regard, Parrish may as well get used to it. The progression of his game this season will ultimately determine his stock within the organization.
Jorge Posada isn’t getting any younger and the importance of his progression looms even larger as each game passes. Putting a string of hits together along with solid play behind the plate would be a good start. Consistent performances like the one we saw Wednesday night will make the journey to New York a lot easier as Parrish went 3 for 4.
“I just felt comfortable at the plate and I wasn’t rushing myself like I was yesterday," Parrish told us after Wednesday's game. "I like how I was able to use the whole field and I’m very pleased with that."
Parrish spent the entire 2005 season in Columbus, however, it was a season that failed to display his overall potential. Yes his power numbers had increased but a .247 batting average along with nine more strikeouts than hits is not what he had in mind. Likewise, it is a brand new season and one that will be memorable for Parrish in one way or another.
Clippers hitting coach Kevin Long believes Parrish may not be as distant from the big leagues as some critics may think.
“He has been making consistent strides offensively. Catching wise, he still needs to improve a little bit but so far so good,” said Long.
Consistent play may be the necessary ingredient that brings Parrish’s all-around game full circle as he has been fighting to retain his starting position from Keith McDonald. Prior to 2005, a lack of at-bats, along with consistent mobility throughout the Yankee farm system, truly put a hindrance on his ability to perform at a level the Yankees had expected.
Often time’s expectations are set at a bar that is unrealistic and Parrish arguably would fit in this category. Nevertheless, if he is going to pick a time to bust out, 2006 may be the magic number.
When you’re a minor league baseball player, it is a necessity to develop a primary focus for the season. Usually a player in the minors has a focus of improvement having not achieved their ultimate goal of earning a Major League roster spot. Parrish agrees wholeheartedly.
“My focus is to improve and be better than I was last year," Parrish admitted. "Whenever you stop improving is when you start getting worried."
Like the majority of players with their sights set on the big leagues, Parrish refuses to concentrate on just one area of improvement. Improving in every area of his game, both offensively and defensively, is what it will take to give Parrish a legitimate shot with the Yankees.
“If you start getting preoccupied in one area of improvement, you will start lacking in some other area and you will get yourself in trouble,” said Parrish.
This concentration of improvement doesn’t necessarily need to be any certain offensive or defensive statistic. It could merely be something as simple as a level of mentality. Some players have spent their entire career in the minors and have failed to possess the mental aspect that comes with the territory of playing this great game.
Mental toughness has never come into question with David Parrish. At least Parrish has not disappointed in terms of a mental focus as it is a tool that many minor leaguers, at all levels, struggle to find.
Pitching coach Neil Allen is convinced a relationship and ability to work with a pitching staff will be an added bonus on a player’s resume. It’s hard to disagree with that statement considering the camaraderie and effective communication Parrish has developed with the Columbus pitchers.
“He has a great relationship with the pitchers," Allen revealed. "He works very well with them and the pitchers have become a lot more familiar with him."
Parrish is well aware that time may be running short in regards to earning a true shot with the Bronx Bombers. Yet, he doesn’t let the negative press faze him.
“This game can definitely gets the best of you and unfortunately I’ve seen it happen to some people. The saying goes when life throws you lemons, you make lemonade. I just have to roll with the punches and hope for the best,” said Parrish.
It’s obvious Yankee management has the knowledge that the bat of Parrish hasn’t progressed to meet expectations. Still, he doesn’t pay attention to his critics and continues to focus on improvement day in and day out at the ball park. Maybe 2006 is the season David Parrish gets the last laugh.
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