The New York Mets selected Maryland starting right-hander Hunter Parsons in the 19th round (568th overall) of the MLB Draft on Wednesday. The junior is the first Terrapin taken in this year’s draft..
Parsons, who threw a pair of no-hitters before his Maryland career, was drafted in the 40th round by the Cleveland Indians out of Parkside High School (MD) in 2015. Four years later, the Fruitland native was worthy of a second selection after starting in 37 career games in college.
The right-hander showed signs of a bright future during his freshman campaign, holding hitters to a .201 batting average in 36 innings. He made 15 appearances, five of which were starts, and earned one Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors after a seven-inning, two-hit midweek start. He threw on big stages early in his career, pitching against the SEC’s Alabama and against Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament semifinal.
Parsons pitched for the Baltimore Redbirds the following summer in the Cal Ripken Baseball League, creating even more excitement for his development. He was named the league’s pitcher of the year, leading all pitchers in wins (6) and strikeouts (44). He finished the summer with a slim 1.40 ERA in 38.1 innings.
As a sophomore, though, Parsons’ trajectory took a negative turn, setting up what would eventually be an incredible comeback story. He stumbled throughout the year, yielding a 12.05 ERA in 21.2 innings while letting up 29 earned runs 41hits. Parsons was expected to be the primary midweek starter, but struggled with confidence.
After allowing eight runs in his first start of 2018 against Tennessee, Parsons was the most confident and consistent starting pitcher for the remainder of the season. He began the year as the Sunday stater, but eventually took advantage of opportunities to end the season pitching on Fridays. The righty threw two complete games, including a two-hit shutout against Stetson, which helped earn Big Ten co-Pitcher of the Week honors.
All it took was a new grip on his two-seam fastball and confidence for Parsons to turn into a pitcher that led all of Maryland’s primary starters in wins (5), innings (89), strikeouts (62) and batting average against (.225). The junior thrived under first-year Maryland pitching coach Corey Muscara, getting better as the season progressed.
Parsons continued his dominance on the mound his senior season as he became the Terps’ ace and threw a team-high 104.1 innings. The right-hander continued to lead Maryland’s main starters in wins (10), strikeouts (78) and batting average against (.232). Parsons’ 10 wins are the third most in team history, just behind former Terp Mike Shawaryn, who holds the second (11) and third (13) most wins for Maryland.