Caedmon Parker always had arm strength and athleticism that allowed him to thrive at shortstop. His natural skills also caused the coaching staff at The Woodlands Christian High in Texas to envision Parker on the mound.
After a growth spurt pushed him over 6 feet tall by his sophomore year, Parker stepped on the mound and totaled about 10 innings during his sophomore season, he said. He hardly pitched his junior season due to the COVID-19 pandemic but then thrived in numerous showcase events, including the Area Code Games, last summer.
Professional scouts took notice of Parker’s ability and potential on the mound last summer. They project the high school right-handed pitcher as a potential early-round pick in July’s MLB draft.
“It has been kind of hectic,” said Parker on the draft attention. “It has come pretty quickly. As a 17-year-old, it is kind of hard to balance school, other sports, family time, and all of that while having to think about million-dollar contracts. It is definitely exciting and crazy to think about.”
Parker, a 6-foot-4, 185-pound right-hander, throws a four-seam fastball, two-seamer, circle changeup, curveball and a recently-developed slider from a high three-quarters arm slot and low-effort delivery.
His fastball sits 91 to 94 mph but should increase in velocity as he matures due to his athletic and projectable frame. His curveball is his outpitch, as it sits in the mid-70s and is his best secondary pitch.
Parker consistently locates his pitches well and attacks the strike zone.
“I think my fastball is my biggest strength,” Parker said. “I can locate it really well. It is not obviously a slow pitch. To have the velocity with the location on it is really good. I also then can change speeds with my off-speed pitches.”
This offseason, Parker has started to develop a slider. He sought an additional pitch that could serve as a quality outpitch to keep hitters off-balanced, he said. He and his high school coach also discussed a cutter but believed the slider was his best option, Parker added.
Parker also is working on his changeup. He shows feel for the pitch but has rarely thrown it in a game. He threw his changeup in catch play and games last summer, which allowed him to gain confidence with the pitch. Parker uses his changeup to generate ground balls.
“I have always kind of had a changeup, but over this last summer, I really started to work on it,” Parker said. “I threw it when I was just playing catch. It really started to come together and was a pitch I started to have confidence in. It is a good pitch to get groundball outs.”
Besides being a top prep draft prospect, Parker is a Texas Christian University commit. His father attended seminary school at TCU when Parker was young, which allowed Parker to develop a strong passion for the university. Parker committed to TCU in July 2020.
“It has always been a dream of mine to go back to TCU for school,” Parker said. “Baseball wasn’t always serious. I would say I am a late bloomer. I kind of popped onto the scene later. TCU was always a place I wanted to go. Once my skills caught up to me, it was a pretty easy decision to choose TCU.”
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for six years. He’s interviewed 253 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.