Wes Parsons is all but done as a Thunder Bay Border Cat this season.
But before the Clarksville, Tenn., righty is shut down for the season, the victim of too many innings for his Jackson State Community College coach’s liking, the 19-year-old freshman has a couple of momentous tasks to deal with.
One could be the crowning instance of his rookie season in the Northwoods League.
The other could simply change his life.
Parsons, the starter-turned-reliever who has posted a 6-1 record with the Border Cats this season, will be joined next week in Madison, Wisc., at the NWL all-star game by teammate Jordan McCoy, the Thunder Bay closer.
Between now and then the freshman hurler, with a 2.55 ERA, must decide whether or not to spend more time at school, or accept an offer from the Tampa Bay Rays, whose scout spotted him in Duluth and tempted him to jump to the pros.
“It was the first MLB scout that ever talked to me and it felt really good. It was pretty exciting to have an MLB team even interested in you,” Parsons said Tuesday night, after his Cats were swept in a pair of seven-inning doubleheaders by the Duluth Huskies.
“You might not want to go, or you might not get what you want, but it’s being recognized by the MLB guy that’s pretty breathtaking,” the 6-foot-5 Parsons said.
Although he didn’t immediately sign his name on the dotted line, Parsons is planning to spend the week mulling over his options, which include heading back to Jackson State, where he was 7-3 with a 4.56 ERA in 12 appearances last season.
“I haven’t turned down anything,” he said. “That was the first time I’d talked to (the scout) and I’m supposed to talk to him and negotiate. If not I’m going to go back to school,” he said.
As one of just two Border Cats named to the mid-season all-star team, Parsons said it feels pretty special, given his circumstances at the start of the year.
“It feels great, coming up here as a temporary player, then getting signed as a full guy, then making the all-star game, it’s a great accomplishment for me and my family,” he said, adding he only got the call to come to Thunder Bay three or four days before the season began.
“I thought I was only going to be up here for a couple of weeks, to be honest with you.” Border Cats manager Andy Judkins wasn’t sure what he had on his hands when Parsons arrived, but quickly learned it was something special.
“He’s unbelievable. He’s a guy you run out there and he could win a game every time he starts,” Judkins said.
“He’s a great all-around kid. He works hard, he works his butt off and it’s paid off.” McCoy, who leads the Cats with eight saves in 15 appearances was equally deserving, he added.
“Both of them have been here since Day 1. They’re two great kids that will do anything you ask and that’s what you want as a coach.” The Atlanta native, who attends Nicholls State University in Louisiana, said the honour means a lot in his final year of summer baseball.
“I want to be able to go out and show my talent a little bit and the all-star game is just a great opportunity to go out and play against some of the best talent in the league. I’m looking forward to playing in front of a lot of people and it’s going to be a good experience for me,” McCoy said.
The all-star game is scheduled for next Tuesday.
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