Wes Parsons was already an unlikely pitching prospect when he got to the Braves organization. Being an undrafted signing out of a minor summer college wood bat league, Parsons already beat the odds as he was considered by many to be a top 30 prospect in the Braves’ farm system around 2015 or so. Unfortunately, injuries set him back over the next couple of season, but he battled back to secure a bullpen spot in the majors with the Braves in 2018.
What went right in 2019?
Parsons had a perfectly fine stint with the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate in 2019 as he posted a 2.86 ERA in 56.2 innings of relief after being a starter for the bulk of his career in the minor leagues. His walk rate jumped a bit in 2019, but he still struck out nearly a batter an inning and he was particularly adept at keeping the ball in the park during his time in Gwinnett as he gave up just one homer in his time there.
In his limited action with the Braves in the majors, he posted a perfectly reasonable 3.52 ERA and opposing batters hit just .229 against him in an admittedly small sample (just 15.1 innings).
What went wrong in 2019?
From a peripherals standpoint, Wes definitely took a step back as his walk rate did jump up a bit in the minors as it from 2.56 walks per 9 in 2018 in Gwinnett to 3.34 in 2019. This was further magnified in his small sample of work in the majors as walked north of seven batters per 9 with those issues coming both during his time with the Braves as well as his time in the Rockies bullpen in 2019.
Speaking of which, that was likely the biggest bummer for Parsons. After being optioned three different times back to Gwinnett during the 2019 season, the Braves finally designated him for assignment in mid-August as he was unable to secure a stable spot in the Braves’ bullpen. The Rockies would claim him off of waivers just a few days later and Parsons had to finish the rest of the season playing for a team that was well out of contention and in an environment that is far from pitcher friendly.
What to expect in 2020?
Wes doesn’t have overpowering stuff nor does he get a ton of swing and miss, but he will not be a financial burden and the combination of his experience in the majors combined with the potential for him to be a spot starter will get him a look or two in spring training from teams in need of bullpen depth. The Rockies thought enough of him to claim him off of waivers that they could just bring him back, but that is far from a certainty.
Given that the Braves willingly let Wes go for nothing during the 2019 season when they were in need of bullpen depth and help, it is fair to say that whatever the future holds for him...it won’t be with Atlanta in 2020 unless something wild happens.