Parker Messick didn’t need to keep it a secret for long because he already knew which team had selected him. He was selected by the Guardians in the second round at No. 54 overall, making him the highest draft pick in Plant City High School history. The broadcast that would reveal his name was currently in a commercial break.
Hank Sargent, Messick’s agent, had called a few minutes earlier to give the news for the first time since the draft had started. Messick set up a collection of hats when he entered the room, which was now home to about three dozen family members and friends. Cleveland, San Diego, and other choices from that range were available. He wished to leave them in suspense.
Messick said late Sunday night, “I have a pretty good poker face, so I just let it sit there and didn’t let them know where I was going.
As soon as the draft party started, Messick moved forward and grabbed the Guardians hat. The left-handed pitcher finished his redshirt sophomore season with a 7-5 record, a 3.38 ERA, 144 strikeouts, and 18 walks while pitching for Florida State for his final three seasons. In high school, he increased the velocity of his fastball by 8 mph. Later, with the Seminoles and pitching coach Jimmy Belanger, he increased the velocity even more while developing a slider to create a four-pitch mix.
He entered the game as MLB.com’s No. 54 prospect, and Baseball America estimates that the slot value for that pick is $1,407,100.
Messick described the experience as “just kind of like a moment where you made your dreams come true.”
When the 2022 campaign with the Seminoles came to an end, Messick traveled to San Diego for the MLB draft combine. There, he met with organizations for interviews rather than throwing in front of scouts since they had already seen him during the season and “you don’t really need to go and make another impression.” Messick might have one or two, according to his father T.J., but when his son sent him a schedule, he was astounded. Messick had fifteen.
Messick claimed that Cleveland was one of the teams he spoke with on Zoom after the combine, but they made no mention of a potential pick. But because he was aware of their interest, he made an effort to play to his advantages.