Feb 18, 2023; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Enoli Paredes (48) during spring training workouts. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome to Gallery Sports’ Houston Astros Spring Training player spotlight: Astros Player of the Day. We will look at a different Astros player each day throughout the spring.
Today’s Astros Player of the Day is pitcher Enoli Paredes.
Paredes, now 27, made his Astros debut in the pandemic-shortened season of 2020, making the jump from Double-A (where he had thrown only 50 innings) to the majors. Paredes showed promise and a fastball with pop, posting a 3-3 record with a 3.05 ERA. He also struggled at times with his command, as would be expected in a 24-year-old pitcher jumping with very little experience in Double-A to the majors in a season with a short spring training. Paredes posted a 1.40 WHIP, allowing 4.8 BB/9. However, he did strike out 20 in 20.2 IP and only allowed one home run.
It seemed Paredes would get the chance to continue to grow in the Astros pen in 2021, but it would be a rocky season for him. First, he missed a week of spring training due to COVID protocols. He suffered an oblique injury on April 8, returning May 16. Paredes then suffered a shoulder strain on June 10. He would spend July and August in Sugar Land before being recalled to Houston Sep. 1 and being optioned again Sep. 3 without making an appearance.
Paredes’ control was a major issue in 2021, and the injuries didn’t help him. He posted a 6.23 ERA in Houston over 8.2 IP, with an eye-popping (not in a good way) 2.76 WHIP. His 27 innings in Sugar Land weren’t much better (4.28 ERA. 1.72 WHIP).
2022 was a year of redemption for Paredes. Paredes once again demonstrated a fastball with great life, and he struck out 81 batters in 54.2 IP at Sugar Land (13.3 K/9). He kept the ball in the ballpark (0.7 HR/9) and was very hard to hit (5.6 H/9 allowed) but walks continued to be an issue. His 31 free passes led to a walk rate of 5.1 BB/9, which is extremely high. His 1.18 WHIP (solid number) shows how hard he was to hit but how wild he could be in the process. Paredes pitched only three innings for the Astros last season, allowing one run, walking three and striking out two.
Paredes will continue to be organizational depth for the Astros, who return almost the entirety of what was the best bullpen in MLB last season. Paredes has the stuff to be a weapon in the bullpen, but his control issues currently prevent him from being reliable. If he can figure out how to harness his terrific stuff, he could find himself ascending the ladder of the Astros’ depth and possibly into a permanent role by 2024. It will require a significant step forward in the control department for that to happen.