Messick was the 54th overall selection in the 2022 MLB Draft, the highest draft pick in Plant City High School history.
Former Plant City High School pitcher Parker Messick was selected 54th overall in the second round of the 2022 MLB Draft by the Cleveland Guardians on Sunday, making him the highest draft pick in Plant City history.
Surrounded by family and friends, all huddled around a television in his grandparents’ living room, Messick received a call from his agent Hank Sargent as he sat in the back of the room with his phone plugged in and charging. He and Sargent had made an agreement not to make the call unless a team was ready to select him and make an offer, and that moment had come.
Messick stood up and walked to the front of the room where he had dozens of baseball caps ready, with teams from across the league represented. He grabbed a couple from teams that were preparing to make the next handful of picks and let his guests wait it out just a little longer before his name was called and he could proudly don Cleveland’s iconic red “C”.
“It was almost like a weight off of my chest,” Messick said. “The whole draft process is pretty stressful. You do everything that you can up to that point and then it’s kind of up in the air with what’s going to happen. Now I have a plan, now I know where I’m going, I know what I’m going to be up to, I know what kind of organization Cleveland is and what they’re about so it was really just a moment of relief. Just like, wow, I did it, now it’s time to put in some more work.”
Messick grew up in Plant City, playing just about every sport he could as he grew into the competitor he is today, and credits his home town with instilling him with a drive to win everything he competed in. From regional championships in little league to youth football Super Bowls to basketball leagues at the YMCA to a high school state championship, Messick wanted to win.
“Plant City’s probably the best sports town that I could have every asked for,” Messick said. “Anywhere around us, this whole area and this town, they love their sports. I played baseball at Plant City Little League, I played for the Plant City Dolphins at the same complex for football, I played middle school soccer and then I played YMCA basketball growing up, so I played everything. In this town, the way they love their sports helped me become a competitor and not just love to win but also hate to lose. It was always a big deal, whether it was a little league championship game all the way to a high school state championship game. It meant a lot to the people that were involved, it made me care about the sport and that obviously translated to me caring about how well I developed and how hard I wanted to work to get where I am now.”
As a senior at Plant City High School in 2019, Messick was instrumental in the Raiders’ journey to a program-best 30-2 record and the first baseball state championship in school history. He started 14 games throughout the year, finishing the year with an 11-1 record, eight complete games, seven shutouts, an earned run average of just 1.06 and led all pitchers in the state with 125 strikeouts over 86 innings. He threw a complete game shutout in a 3-0 Regional Final victory over Seminole High School and tossed another complete game shutout in an 8-0 State Semifinal win over McArthur High School, allowing just three hits while striking out 16 of the 24 batters he faced.
After the season Messick racked up the accolades, including All-American first team pitcher by MaxPreps, Florida High School All-State first team pitcher by Prep Baseball Report, All-Hillsborough County and All-Tampa Bay Pitcher of the Year by the Tampa Bay Times, All-Western Conference first team pitcher for the second consecutive season, All-813Preps Most Valuable Player and the 8A Player of the Year as well as Mr. Baseball by the Florida Dairy Farmers. With college baseball on the horizon, Messick accrued offers from collegiate baseball programs across the state, but that road didn’t come easy. His recruitment was a slower process when compared to a lot of top high school athletes, but he ultimately found his home at Florida State University.
“Pretty much everyone commits well before their senior season nowadays and usually a lot of scholarships are given out if you commit after that, so you have to be pretty good when you’re young to get a good scholarship,” Messick said. “I wasn’t quite there yet. When I was a freshman, sophomore, junior, I was a good player but nowhere near where I was as a senior. I was really a bit of an under-recruited, kind of undervalued, underdog type of guy. I wasn’t highly rated, I wasn’t rated on Perfect Game or anything like that, I was just a decent little player that loved to play the game. I continued to get better and Florida State gave me a shot. By the end of it I had received an offer from pretty much every school in Florida, but when I went to Florida State they treated me like family. It felt like home. I really wanted to be a part of all the traditions and obviously the winningest baseball school in all of college baseball. I was used to winning and I wanted to win some more games so it felt like a great fit for me and it was an easy decision. I committed on the way home from my visit there.”
Messick saw limited action as a true freshman in 2020, allowing just one earned run while striking out 19 over 11.2 innings. By 2021, his redshirt freshman season, Messick had earned a spot in the Seminoles’ rotation and began to take the conference by storm. Finishing the season with an 8-2 record and 3.10 ERA over 90 innings, he was named ACC Pitcher of the Year and ACC Freshman of the Year, a Baseball America first team Freshman All-American, first team All-ACC, Freshman All-ACC and a third team All-American. As a sophomore in 2022, he finished the year with a 7-5 record and a 3.38 ERA over 98.2 innings.
Now drafted, Messick will head to the Guardians’ Player Development Complex in Arizona this weekend and plans to officially sign his contract the following week. With the 54th selection in the draft, Messick becomes not only the highest draft pick in Plant City High School history but the highest draft pick in the history of the Plant City area, narrowly edging out Boston Red Sox pitcher Tyler Danish who was drafted 55th overall by the Chicago White Sox out of Durant High School in 2013.