St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training Spotlight: Tommy Parsons

The 6’4”, 220-pound right-hander was on the mound for The St. Louis Cardinals during Wednesday’s Spring Training game against The New York Mets and was impressive in earning the win.

Tommy Parsons, 25 years old and from Columbus, OH, is a bit of a lesser known prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals’ system, and is not ranked in the top 30 of the organization’s prospects according to MLB.com. However, it seems as if Parsons has really taken advantage of his spring training invite and his short time in the Cardinals’ system, and may be a contributor to the big league club sooner than later.

Parsons’ backstory is quite interesting. He attended and played ball for Division III Adrian College, a very small liberal arts school in Adrian, MI, where he set multiple school and D-III pitching records. In his senior season, Parsons absolutely dominated, going 11-0 and posting a 1.72 ERA. Despite his illustrious college career, Parsons was not drafted by any major league team. The Cardinals took a chance on him in 2018, signing him as an undrafted free agent and immediately sending him to Johnson City, TN.

While in Johnson City, Parsons started nine games, and went 5-1 with 3.00 ERA. His efforts earned him a promotion to Peoria in 2019, where he would appear at all four levels of Cardinals’ minor league system. In Peoria, Parsons was flat out NASTY, going 4-0 with a 0.26 ERA in five starts, and was promoted to Palm Beach where he continued to pitch well. After just seven starts and recording a 2.13 ERA, he moved up to Springfield and made fourteen starts there before ending the season in Memphis, where he made one start.

St. Louis Cardinals

JUPITER, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 19: Tommy Parsons #88 of the St. Louis Cardinals poses for a photo on Photo Day at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on February 19, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Parsons went 11-9 with a 3.53 ERA across all four levels in 2019. That may not seem impressive at first, but what really pops out is that in 165.2 innings facing 666 batters, he walked only 27 batters. That’s right. Twenty. Seven.

In yesterday’s game pitching in relief of Kwang Hyun Kim, Parsons got his first taste of facing major league talent against Jonathan Villar, J.D. Davis, Jose Martinez, Luis Guillorme, Tomas Nido, Albert Almora, and Mallex Smith.

Parsons was able to get Villar to pop out, but then Davis laced a single, and Martinez got on base due to an error by Austin Dean that allowed two unearned runs to score. Despite the hit and the error, Parsons was able to get Guillorme to pop out in foul territory to Nolan Arenado. Parsons really impressed in his second inning of work, striking out Nido on five pitches, getting Almora to pop out on two pitches, and then striking out Smith on six pitches. His efforts earned him the win.

Also of note, Parsons doesn’t throw particularly hard. His fastball sits around 91-93 MPH, changeup around 84-85 MPH, and his breaking ball around 77-79 MPH. But his control is clearly evident. He seemingly can put his pitches wherever he wants them.

The Cardinals may have found a diamond in the rough in Tommy Parsons. He most likely will start the year in AAA, but if he continues on the same trajectory as 2019, look for him to contribute to the big league club MUCH sooner than later.