In the 2022 MLB Draft, the Cleveland Guardians decided to continue beefing up their young cast of pitching talent when they selected Parker Messick with the 54th overall pick.
Messick may not be the fastest-throwing pitcher MLB fans will see, but his dominance inside the strike zone makes his talent special, and the Florida State University redshirt freshman comes to Cleveland with a variety of pitches and accolades to his name.
But why would the Guardians take another pitcher after taking a grand total of 19 in last year’s MLB Draft?
Messick brings something to the table that many other prospects can’t: the ability to reliably and consistently throw strikes, something the Guardians need.
Throwing strikes may seem simple, but for young talent, it gets tricky at times. However, for the six-foot left-hander, that’s his strong suit.
In 2021, Messick served as a redshirt freshman and simply did not disappoint. He recorded 144 strikeouts through 98 innings of play while posting a 3.38 ERA, walking just 14 batters.
To go alongside a prominent stat line, he went 7-5 at the mound and allowed a measly .215 batting average at the plate.
He finished first in the ACC in strikeouts, 16th in the country in strikeouts, and 24th in the country in strikeouts per nine innings of play.
For his steady yet credible stat lines, he was awarded ACC Pitcher and Freshman of the Year, becoming just the second player in ACC history to do so.
What should Cleveland Guardians fans expect from Messick when entering the league?
Messick will be entering the minors with a steady four-pitch mix, with a fastball that averages right around 91 mph, a soft curveball that moves inside, a breaking ball in the form of his new slider, and his infamous changeup that causes strikeouts inside and outside of the strike zone.
The pitch to watch will be his changeup, which can knock the confidence off of batters real fast. Even if batters are able to make contact, it’ll be a weak hit due to the low 80s speed and movement of the pitch.
While his pitches may be the most noticeable factor he brings to his game, it may be the command he takes during games, leading his teammates and taking control of the position he is in.
With all this being said, the MLB Pipeline has given Messick a fastball grade of 50, a curveball grade of 45, a slider grade of 50, a changeup grade of 55, and a 55 grade for his control.
He may not have an extremely high ceiling, but the bright side to left-handed starting pitchers is that the floor is a lot higher than most.