When you previously thought about Royal’s top prospects you always thought about how much depth they had in pitching with guys like Daniel Lynch, Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, Kris Bubic, and Jonathan Bowlan. That narrative has changed with the emergence of MJ Melendez, Nick Pratto, and Vinnie Pasquantino. Still, the Royals are loaded with arms and one name that has yet to pop on people’s radar is Drew Parrish. He is one that you are going to want to pay closer attention to.
Draft and Early Career
The Royals selected Parrish in the eighth round of the 2019 First-Year-Player draft out of Florida State University. Coming out of the draft, Parrish was featuring a fastball that worked around 90 to 92 mph. It was a huge step in his development to have his velocity average over 90 mph since before that he was sitting around 87 to 91 mph. He coupled that with a really good changeup that sat around 77 to 81 mph as well as a curveball that had a decent break to it. One thing that you loved to see about him is how much he attacked hitters and his ability to repeat his delivery. His mound presence is what you want from any starting pitcher.
He started his professional career in Rookie Ball with the Burlington Royals in 2019. In a small sample size of nine games, he dominated to the tune of a 2.52 ERA with 39 strikeouts in 25 innings pitched. He, unfortunately, like almost all players, lost a year of development in 2020. He didn’t let that missed year of development keep him from hitting the ground running in 2021.
The Start of 2021
His success in 2020 led to him being named to the U.S. Olympic Qualifying team for the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. While pitching for Team USA in the Olympic qualifying games, he pitched two innings giving up two hits and striking out two while earning a win in a 10-1 victory against Team Canada. Unfortunately, he was left off the final Team USA roster but this opportunity gave him a great chance to develop more and started to put his name on people’s radar.
He followed his time with Team USA in High-A Central with the Quad City River Bandits but his time there didn’t last long. He threw in four games and was far from overmatched. He dominated hitters in 15.2 innings giving up only five hits and striking out 23. That led to an absurd 41.1% strikeout rate. He continued to attack hitters and pound the strike zone which was reflected in his 5.4% walk rate.
He moved up to Double-A and struggled to get adjusted at first. But once he was able to get his feet wet with the increased level of competition, he continued his streak of dominance. Parrish destroyed the league in August and this led to him winning the Double-A Central Pitcher of the Month. During August, he pitched in five games and went 3-0 while compiling a 1.13 ERA giving up 13 hits, walking eight, and striking out 27 in 24 innings pitched. His best game this month was against the Springfield Cardinals on August 27th where he went seven shutout innings while giving up just two hits and striking out seven. September hasn’t been much different. In three games, he’s compiled a 2.70 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 13.1 innings pitched
Parrish has legitimate potential to end up as a starter. His command and control keep progressing in the right direction which leads me to believe that he could have a ceiling as a middle of the rotation arm. He will keep having success because of his mound presence and somewhat funky delivery. The fastball will most likely sit somewhere in that 91 to 93 mph range, but he has topped out at 95 recently so there is hope that he could gain some more velocity, giving him the chance to start in the big leagues. Either way, you have to love what you are seeing from Parrish. He is another exciting arm in this Royals farm system loaded with stud pitching prospects. His development is going to be fun to watch.