By Adam Maya, OC Varsity
Parker Joe Robinson threw two scoreless innings while striking out three batters in a recent showcase at UCLA. But the true test came the next day when he asked his father, Jeff, how he looked.
“I noticed he was opening up his front side early,” Jeff said. “He said, ‘Yeah, I felt it. I wasn’t getting loaded.’ For him to figure that out is really gratifying.”
Not so much because of his son’s success, Jeff said, but his progress. Jeff pitched nine years in the major leagues, including one season (1991) with the Angels. Once Parker Joe made it clear at a young age he hoped to “follow (his) dad” on the mound, Jeff alternated between Father and Coach, one pitch at a time.
“With my background, I knew you had to build a foundation,” Jeff said. “It’s a process.”
Parker Joe, who will be a senior in the fall at JSerra, worked on being quicker to the plate from the stretch this past spring. The previous year was it was about maintaining his balance point. Before that it was his follow through.
Now, Jeff wants his son to put it all together.
“It’s for him to figure it out on his own,” Jeff said. “He’s learned all the major mechanics. Ever since he started pitching, there was one goal per season, one thing to master every year. That’s led him to where he is now.”
This week that’s the Area Code Games in Long Beach, where more than 200 of the nation’s top prospects are competing in an all-wood bat tournament. Parker Joe is one of seven players from Orange County that made the cut.
“It’s a big honor,” Parker Joe said.
It’s also a big improvement. Just 15 months ago, the powerful, 6-foot-5 Parker Joe was still playing junior varsity, mostly because Lions varsity coach Brett Kay wanted to see Parker Joe develop into a two-way player. The sophomore responded by playing nearly every inning and winning MVP honors.
“He understood the process,” Kay said.
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