Justin Parker Brings Wealth of Experience to 2022 16U/17U NTDP

Twenty MLB arms in half as many years.

An impressive mark for any coach, but especially for National Team Development Program (NTDP) Roving Instructor Justin Parker who has been at the helm of four different pitching staffs.

Each rotation he’s built from the ground up, most recently leading Indiana to an eye-grabbing 3.17 ERA in 2021. On top of that, he guided the Hoosiers to a 2019 Big Ten Regular Season championship and hopes to formulate the pieces for a run at gold with USA Baseball this year.

The NTDP brings in 80 of the country’s best players in the 2024 and 2025 classes, featuring intrasquad scrimmages between the four divvied-up teams over the week-long event. Four spots on the 18U National Team hang in the balance, the opportunity to represent the stars and stripes on a national stage.

“USA Baseball stands for something and we’re looking for the right type of kids to represent our country,” Parker said. “We obviously want to win gold medals and there is a lot of pride in this organization, so I expect these kids to compete all week long.”

Parker himself has enjoyed longstanding success as a coach throughout his 10 years at the division one level. He also brings along with him tons of experience as a player, drafted out of Wright State by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the sixth round of the 2008 MLB Draft.

He served as the pitching coach for the NTDP in 2019 and 2021 and will now make the jump to Roving Instructor for this year’s program. The current South Carolina pitching coach will primarily work with and instruct pitchers throughout this year’s event.

“My goal this week is to be there for these guys and allow them to settle in early to put their best foot forward,” Parker said. “I’m excited to get back into the coaching element this week and I’ll be there to work the field and answer any questions.”

This year’s roster features a barrage of power arms, including Jack Frankel and Chase Mobley who are top 10 recruits in the 2024 class. Three things both of these outstanding athletes have in common: Strike Throwers, Competitors, and Resilient.

All the competitors selected to the NTDP have the talent and skill, but what Parker is most intrigued to learn about is who they are off the diamond. Spending a week in the same dugouts and daily environment as these players will certainly help give him a better gauge.

“A lot of guys here are going to have a lot of elite arm talent and we’re looking for those who are very refined in how they utilize that,” Parker said. “It’s a really good group and I’m excited to view them from a different lense on the field to see who they are as people.”

There is some familiarity between the players as many of them have competed against one another through the travel ball circuit this summer. With the ultimate goal of representing a country and flag, coming in with some chemistry is important.

As the summer baseball season dwindles down, Parker is looking forward to seeing how these athletes deal with the mental and physical fatigue. However, although the stakes are high and the competition is elite, it’s important to stay true to who you are in moments of struggle.

“The biggest thing I can tell these kids is to be themselves on the field and have fun with it on the field,” Parker said. “Be a fast learner and since it’s been a long process for these kids to get here just enjoy it.”