by Adam Gonzales
Tyler Parmenter arrived in Tucson for his freshman year in 2012 as an infielder with a great arm, but had trouble finding his way into the lineup with players like Alex Mejia and Seth Mejias-Brean on the field. The coaching staff was trying to persuade Parmenter to make a switch to pitcher, but it never happened. Parmenter finished the year making appearances in four games, and getting two hits.
In 2013, he was moved to the outfield, where he was given a starting role as the designated hitter at the beginning of the season. He started off the season hot, but eventually cooled down which led to him getting the role of a pinch hitter, while also earning some starts here and there as a 13-game starter. After some more convincing during the year, Parmenter made the switch to pitcher.
“I switched to pitching because the coaching staff has always leaned towards me pitching,” Parmenter said. “Last year I hit a slump around midseason, and I made the switch at the end of the year because it seemed to be more of a successful route. I’m taking it one day at a time, and whatever opportunity I get, ill try to make the best of it.”
Since he made the switch in May, Parmenter has been working hard on becoming the best pitcher he can be, even though he doesn’t have a lot of experience as a pitcher.
“At the end of May I switched, and I pitched in the Texas Collegiate League, and I worked on getting in games there,” Parmenter said. “My senior year was the first time I stepped on the mound. I probably only had eight innings though. I think I can contribute more as a pitcher, because the more arms you have the better.”
Parmenter already throws hard, so velocity was not an issue when he first started pitching, but he knew that he would have to develop some other pitches in order to be successful at this level.
“I developed a curveball over the summer and I’m still developing it,” Parmenter said. “I also have a changeup that I learned when I got here this year in August. It’s a pitch that I’m most comfortable with.”
The junior has been working with Coach Shaun Cole since he became a pitcher at the end of last year, and he has enjoyed working with him so far.
“I like working with Coach Cole a lot,” Parmenter said. “He’s a player’s coach, and he knows how to take a big game and make it small.”
Coach Cole has had success as a pitching coach for the Wildcats. He was named the 2012 National Pitching Coach of the Year, has worked with former Wildcat great Kurt Heyer, and has been a big part of the development of current Wildcat James Farris.
Since Cole became the pitching coach, Arizona pitchers have won 127 games, finished 27 complete games and struck out 1,324 batters, while walks have decreased over each of the last three seasons. With a 3.57 ERA in 2011 and a 3.70 ERA in 2012, Cole's last two pitching staffs have finished with the lowest season totals at the school since 1978.
Parmenter has started off this season making appearances in four of the five games so far. He has pitched 4.1 innings, and has given up two runs and has two strikeouts with no walks, and a 4.15 ERA. The junior’s role so far this year has been the setup guy, and he has made the most of that. Parmenter and the Wildcats play this week against Seton Hall in a three-game series starting on February 28th.