Coppola: Mets Draft Local Again

By William Coppola

WILLIAM COPPOLA, LONGTIME ASSOCIATED WITH BASEBALL THAT INCLUDES SCOUTING OFFERS A PERSONAL AND UPFRONT PERSPECTIVE OF A DRAFT PICK MADE TODAY BY THE NEW YORK METS. HE IS A CONTRIUTING COLUMNIST FOR THE BRONX CHRONICLE.

Today the Mets made their 11th pick in this years draft. They chose Franklin Parra from Copiague High School on Long Island. He is a left handed pitcher with roots in the Dominican, who has a 92-93 fastball that can touch 94-95, with plenty of life. He also has a nasty curve plus a split change and slider. This cold nasty spring and pitching in his senior year of high school, he registered 74 strikeouts in 34 innings.
All of his skills will only get better as he comes up the road in the Mets system and one that has a good track record for developing pitchers.

I like that the Mets went local again, Steven Matz out of Ward Melville High School in Stony Brook was the last pitcher picked out of high school from Long Island by them. For Parra, he now joins a fellow alumni from Copiague RHP Hank Webb who was drafted as the # 1 pick in the 10th round by the Mets in 1968. Hank played at the big league level five years, four with the Mets and one with the Dodgers.

I have followed Franklin for three years now and recall seeing him for the first time working out in the gym at Copiague JR high school when he was a sophomore. Having myself played baseball at Copiague with Hank Webb many years ago, I was curious about how their baseball program was doing. I never went looking for anyone and was excited when I saw this young kid throwing, He impressed me with his flawless mechanics and the movement he had on the ball. But then as I got to know him a little bit more, I saw something about his make-up as a person and player that impressed me even more than his ability to throw a ball.

See make-up is a very big part of evaluating talent in this game. I saw where he had drive, determination and a fire in his gut. He never complained about the weather conditions or a bad mound. He was always encouraging his teammates and showed good leadership qualities. He is a quick learner and very coachable. The people in player development are going to love this kid.

There is something about Franklin that tells me he is going to make it to the big leagues one day. Maybe he will be part of a new generation of solid young arms that will take this club to another championship. This is where it all starts for organizations. Building from within. They must scout and draft smart. Are there times when a scout gets it wrong? You bet there are. When you look at how many are signed every year and how many are out of baseball in two years, it’s a tough job to project what a kid will be like three to four years down the road.

Coming from high school and being away from home for months for the first time is a big adjustment and playing every day for the first three months in rookie ball is not that pretty. Some can’t make those adjustments and it affects their play. Injuries will occur and when they see the competition, some of them lose confidence. That is why there is so much emphasis on make-up.

This kid has the heart and desire to go far in this game. He has a lot going for him and wants it bad. I believe the Mets have a sleeper here and they know it.

Good luck Franklin, from a fellow Copiague baseball draft pick alumni. We are all proud of you and wish you the best.

 

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