Robert Allen Parnell was born September 8, 1984 in Salisbury, North Carolina. After high school, Parnell attended Charleston Southern University. he six foot four right hander was signed by the New York Mets in the 9th round of the 2005 draft.
In 2005 he was 2-3 with a 1.73 ERA at A ball with the Brooklyn Cyclones, getting named to the NY / Penn. Leagues All Star Game. Parnell went up the ranks making two more All Star teams in his minor league career, once for A ball St. Lucie in the Florida State League & then again in the Eastern League. That year he was 10-6 at Binghamton with 91 strike outs. He got a September call up to the Mets in 2008 to help out a struggling bullpen.
Parnell debuted pitching one inning in relief at Washington on September 15th. He made six appearances that month allowing three runs in five innings of work.
In 2009 he made the Mets bull pen right out of Spring Training. In the second game of the season he was credited with a hold in the Mets 9-7 win at Cincinnati, and would get credot with four hold s in the month.
On May 8th at Citi Field he pitched a scoreless 8th inning against Pittsburgh earning his first career win. He had another solid month in May getting six more holds & posting a 2.11 ERA by the month's end. In June he lost three games, including a four run debacle against the Tampa Rays in an interleague game at Citi Field, topped off by a B.J. Upton HR. By the end of August his ERA ballooned up to nearly six, and he was put into the starting rotation.
That didn't work out, as he took four straight losing decisions into September. On the year he went 4-8 with a 5.30 ERA. He was credited with 16 holds, striking out 74 batters with 46 walks in 88 innings of work in 68 appearances.
He began the 2010 season at AAA Buffalo, going 1-1 with four saves in 24 appearances. He got called up to the big league squad at the end of June to replace the young pitcher Jenrry Mejia when he got injured. Parnell pitched as a mid reliever / set up man through the summer of 2010 earning his first decision on August 6th, a blown opportunity which he lost at Philadelphia.
His season was ended early when he went on the DL on September 21st. All in all he pitched well enough on the year to post a 2.83 ERA, get credit with nine holds & strike out 33 batters in 35 innings of work.
In 2011 he began the year on the DL again, with a blood clot in his finger. He returned in June after missing time when his grandmother passed away. He began in his same role as a set up man, to Francisco Rodriquez. In June he earned wins in Atlanta & at home against the Oakland A's. On June 29th in a game against the Detroit Tigers, Parnell was clocked throwing six pitches over 100 mph in an at bat to Miquel Cabrera. When Rodriquez was traded away during to the Milwaukee Brewers in the summer and Parnell was given the Mets closer role temporarily.
On August 15th he blew a save in San Diego losing to the Padres in the 8th inning. In the final week of August he earned four saves during a home stand with the Phillies & Florida Marlins. In a busy September he had four blown save or win opportunities, earned two saves & a hold. In 60 appearances he was 4-6 with six saves, a 3.64 ERA striking out 64 batters with 27 walks, in 59.1 innings pitched.
In 2012 the Mets acquired Frank Francisco as the teams closer and Parnell was lined up as a set up man. He got credit for three holds in April & by the end of May already had eleven. The Mets had a good start to the season but had the most trouble in the bullpen. In June Parnell blew a save at Washington & then one against the A.L. New York team in the subway series. He was given the closer's role when Frank Francisco went down with injury. Parnell had a rough time, getting charged with five blown saves through July.
On June 28th he earned his first save, it came in a 3-2 Mets win at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. On July 5th he was credited with a win when Daniel Murphy tied up a game a game against the Phillies & David Wright singled home the winning run off Jonathan Paplebon.
On July 14th in Atlanta, Parnell took a loss to the Braves in the midst of a terrible Mets losing streak where they dropped 12 of 13 ruining their strong first half of the season.
Going into mid August Parnell was 2-2 with four saves, 47 strike outs 12 walks & a 4.08 ERA.