Cards Blog: Pujols Gets Headlines, Parisi Shows Promise

We may have seen the single greatest play of any of our lifetimes last night. I don't know about all of you, but that's definitely the first time I've ever seen a run score from second base on a ground out to the second baseman. (See video here.) Also, I don't really expect to see it again. Ever.

But enough about that. We'll see plenty of that; every news station in town, and maybe even some of the national people, will be running the replay of that one ad nauseam for quite a while. Lost in all of the late-game running heroics by Albert the Great was the debut of a young right-hander for the Cardinals by the name of Mike Parisi.

Welcome to town, Mike. And while I'm at it, nice job last night. So where, exactly, did Mr. Parisi come from, and what should we fans expect from him?

Parisi was picked by the Cardinals out of Manhattan College (Team name: the Jaspers) in the fifth round of the now-infamous 2004 draft. Want me to go over why it's infamous? The Cards passed on guys named Philip Hughes, Yovani Gallardo, Huston Street, Hunter Pence and Dustin Pedroia, only to take Chris Lambert and Mike Ferris, both of whom have yet to meet expectations.

There's a reason you don't really know who those last guys are. Anyhow, Parisi becomes the first player from that '04 draft to reach the major leagues for the Cardinals, and most likely doesn't have to worry about much company anytime soon. The only other players who really look to have a shot at major-league careers are Mark Worrell, a right-handed reliever with, literally, the strangest sidearm delivery you've ever seen, and Jarret Hoffpauir, a second baseman. Just so you know, the formula to generate Hoffpauir is as follows: Aaron Miles - switch hitting + walks = Jarret Hoffpauir

I'll admit it right now; I never believed Parisi would get anywhere near the majors. He's never posted dominant numbers in the minors, posting ERAs in the upper 4s the last couple of years. The strange thing about him is that his repertoire always seemed to be better than the results he was getting. He's got a nice sinker, and a great curve ball that he changes the break and speed on a lot. He's not quite as creative with his curve as, say, Bronson Arroyo is with his assortment of breaking stuff, but Parisi has a bit of that same improvisational style to his game. He's got a little bit of change-up, too, but it's a definite third pitch.

I still, honestly, can't get a read on the guy. I watched him pitch last night, and I thought, ''Here's a guy that should be getting major leaguers out. He's got really good stuff.'' Then I look at this stats, and I don't see why the guy was ever promoted past Double A.

So what should we logically expect from Parisi going forward? After seeing him live, I think he probably has a higher ceiling than the Cards' recent sinker-ball long reliever, Brad Thompson. Parisi has better velocity, albeit with a little less movement, and a far superior breaking ball. He's probably a better bet to at least stick around than the man he replaced, Anthony Reyes. Maybe that Bronson Arroyo comparison isn't so bad after all. A guy with a solid fastball that he can break out whenever he needs to, but who really gets by on creativity and improvisation. I'm not sure it's a great comparison, but until I see a little more of the kid, I think I like this one at least a little bit. I don't know yet what the future holds for Parisi and his new team, but I like what I've seen so far, from both of them.

Welcome to town, Mike. Good luck. I hope you plan on sticking around for a while, because I'd really like to finally make my mind up about you, one way or the other. Here's to hoping.

- Aaron Schafer

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