In this morning's Rule 5 draft, the Cubs selected right-hander Mike Parisi from the St. Louis Cardinals. Mike is back from Tommy John surgery and had an impressive run in the Arizona Fall League.
I was fortunate enough to get a few minutes of Mike's time on the phone this morning to get his reaction. We also talked about his stuff. Here is a rough transcript/notes from our conversation.
Questions in bold, answers in quotes/plain text, my comments in italics
Parisi got a call from his agent and a text from the Cardinals with the news. Knowing he was exposed to today's draft, the news was not a surprise altogether, but very exciting in the details. He used the word "pumped" at least once to describe the feeling.
Congratulations. How does it feel to be picked by the Cubs and being given a shot to make the rotation?
"Feels amazing. Rule 5 is very tricky, like the regular draft. You never really know what's going to happen."
What do you know about Lou and Larry? Or any coaches/players in the Chicago organization?
"I don't know any of them, I just know of them. I'm excited to start working and hopefully impress them."
Parisi had good success in the AFL with a cutter. It was a pitch I thought he added after his surgery, but it actually goes back to when the Cardinals sent him down, prior to the elbow injury.
You've started throwing a cutter. Along with it, more ground balls. What led you to this pitch, and where are you going with it?
"In 2008 Tony LaRussa sent me to Dave Duncan. He said I needed to add a cutter or slider to go with my two-seamer, something I could throw for strikes. He was 100% right."
Parisi started using the cutter in the Minors, but didn't get far before he was hurt. He picked it right back up upon his return.
"During rehab in Palm Peach, I worked hard at it for two weeks. I threw it in the Gulf Coast League, got some guys out with it."
Mike took the pitch with him to the AFL, and it had a big impact on his approach
"I'm not throwing as many curveballs. But the cutter has opened up the rest of my pitches, so, yes, it's definitely had an impact."
We talked a bit about his fastballs. Parisi's main pitch is his two-seamer, but he did confirm that he throws a few four-seamers
From looking at your PITCHf/x data, your two-seam fastball looks like a tailer more than I sinker. Is that accurate?
"Definitely more of a tailer. If I get it down in the zone, more of a pitcher's pitch, it gets more sink. Normally it fades into a righty. That isn't bad now that I have the cutter. I can run it in on their hands and run the cutter the other way, at similar speeds."
Are you trying to add speed to the cutter?
"I guess I am a little"
I'll have to paraphrase the rest of this answer - the idea of adding speed is to have the option to straighten it out a little. Parisi likes to be able to work the pitch from small cutter to big cutter to small slider. Sounds like a slutter to me.
Looking at PITCHf/x it appears your arm slot my lower with your off-speed and breaking stuff. Is that true?
"Yes. It's not something I try to do, it's something that happens. I try to get on top of the fastballs as much as I can. I don't know if you can really tell with a naked eye. You're the first person to ever bring that up in six years of professional ball."
Good luck to Mike Parisi, and thanks for being the first Cubs f/x interviewee.
You can read a little more about Parisi in my brief Rule 5 preview at The Hardball Times.