Even though the Astros do have options for the starting rotation in 2021, there are too many questions around it. Can Zack Greinke overcome this season’s struggles? Can Lance McCullers Jr. finally be consistent? Can Framber Valdez have a similar performance? What will happen with Cristian Javier?
As you see, there are many doubts for a 162-game campaign. And you can add the fact that ace Justin Verlander will miss next year due to injury. So the Astros are in a position to try things, to experiment with their young and talented pieces.
Thinking about that, an idea came into my mind: should Enoli Paredes get some chances to start in 2021 and see what happens? There’s nothing to lose on that.
Paredes pitched to a 3.05 ERA, a 3.63 FIP, and a 1.40 WHIP across 20 2⁄3 regular-season innings, with 20 strikeouts and only one home run allowed. On the bad side, he gave up 11 walks, but it’s better than it seems: he wasn’t always as wild as you might think. In the postseason, he shone again despite having two rough appearances.
Putting his control struggles aside, I still think he should get the chance to start, at least. Paredes proved he can pitch multiple innings. In fact, when he got at least four outs in a game during the regular season, his ERA was 2.08 in 8 2⁄3 innings, in which he only surrendered four hits and two earned runs.
The 25-year-old gave the Astros a really helpful and much-needed hand out of the bullpen in 2020 and he can do the same out of the starting rotation next year, especially if the team doesn’t get a starter via free agency or a trade.
The Dominican hurler has already gathered experience as a starter in the Minors, where he’s thrown 114 episodes since 2017 and had a good 2.45 ERA. In those innings among Class-A, A+, and Double-A, he struck out 139 hitters, allowed only 67 hits, and gave up 42 free passes.
I can’t say I’m not concerned about his struggles with control and command, but I also think Brent Strom could help Paredes big time as time passes, especially with a full month of spring training. It’s true as well that Enoli only throws two pitches: a four-seam fastball and a great slider —he barely uses a curveball and a changeup—, but so does super-effective Framber Valdez.
I don’t know what the Astros’ plans are for this offseason. As the market keeps moving slowly, anything can happen. But one of the things the team may take a look at is whether Enoli Paredes will change his role or not. They can win a lot if he develops into a starter or even a closer, as I’ve recently suggested.
What would you do with Enoli Paredes?
This poll is closed
I’d use him as a reliever, just like in 2020
He’d be one of my starters
I’d try him out as a closer