Get to know Mets top pick Kevin Parada

July 18th, 2022

The latest in the long line of top prospects out of Georgia Tech, Kevin Parada was selected 11th overall in the 2022 MLB Draft by the Mets. But who is Parada? Here's a look at the catcher, MLB Pipeline's  No. 6 Draft prospect:

Primary position: C
Height/weight: 6-foot-1, 210 lbs.
Bats/throws: Right/right
Birthdate: Aug. 3, 2001
College: Georgia Tech
High school: Loyola (Los Angeles)
Born: Pasadena, Calif.

He's a Golden Spikes Award finalist

One of college baseball's most productive hitters this spring, Parada put up an astounding .360/.453/.715 slash line. He finished the regular season ranking sixth nationally with a school record 26 home runs, second in total bases (174), third in RBIs (85), fifth in runs (74) and 35th in hits (85).

For his efforts, he earned first-team All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and was named one of three finalists for the Golden Spikes Award, college baseball's highest individual honor. Oregon State’s Cooper Hjerpe and Texas’ Ivan Melendez are the other finalists.

He has a unique batting stance

After receiving freshman All-America honors and spending the summer with the U.S. Collegiate National Team, Parada came into the fall looking like a likely first-round Draft pick. Still, that didn't keep him from trying to make improvements, including to his batting stance.

With his batting stance slightly open and leaning slightly backward, Parada hangs his bat over his right shoulder and away from his body, almost parallel to his back. He also raises his left elbow to partially cover his face, a timing mechanism to initiate his swing.

“I’ve had a few people talk about it and say that the stance looks unorthodox,” Parada told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “But, clearly, it’s working, so no one’s having any reservations about that part of it.”

He's carrying on Georgia Tech's catching tradition

Growing up in California, Parada told Baseball America he didn't know much about Georgia Tech's catching pipeline, which has also produced Jason Varitek, Matt Wieters and Joey Bart. But upon committing to the Yellow Jackets during Bart's junior year -- in which he solidified himself as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 Draft -- Parada started learning more about the tradition.

“Once I got to school,” Parada told BA, “you start looking up on the boards and you’re like Varitek, Wieters, Joey Bart. You name it, they went here. Now I understand why coach (Danny) Hall has always put such an emphasis on having a good catcher. When you look at the names, it makes sense, a lot of them played in the big leagues for a while, or at least had the chance. It’s a legacy that I really want to continue.”

Since Varitek was drafted 14th overall in 1994, every Georgia Tech starting catcher (15 total) has been drafted, a streak Parada will surely extend this year.

He could have been a 2020 Draft pick

Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 48 Draft prospect in 2020, Parada could have been selected in the second or third round. Instead, he chose to attend Georgia Tech and became one of the most high-profile players to go undrafted in the abbreviated, five-round 2020 Draft.

His mom didn't want him to play catcher

According to BA, Parada's mother, Darlene, told him when he was about 7 or 8 that he couldn’t be a catcher. But he remained persistent, and Darlene eventually relented.

“My mom was like, ‘You know what, he’s probably going to block his first ball and realize he doesn’t want to be a catcher,’” Parada told BA. “I was the total opposite of that.”