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Command is Crucial for Enoli Paredes’ Return

The Astros need bullpen help and it may have finally arrived on Sunday.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Viewed as a key fixture in the Astros’ bullpen this season, Enoli Paredes hasn’t appeared in a major league game since April 8th due to an oblique injury on his right side. That injury represents the main reason why his performance to open the season was generally unimpressive. Thus far, in his only three major league games — all against the A’s — the 25-year old allowed six walks to just two strikeouts. Only recorded four outs while facing twelve batters in those three appearances. Sure, he also didn’t surrender an earned run, but it was clear that Paredes’ command was all over the place.

With Paredes now making his return to the active roster with José Urquidy joining the IL, the right-hander has a chance to show that he is past those early April struggles. In fact, in five games with the Corpus Christi Hooks, Paredes threw five scoreless innings while striking out nine. The only dings against him were a single hit and one measly walk. Based on his command issues to start the season, it is encouraging to see only one walk.

Based on the limited amount of video I could easily find, Paredes’ command appears improved. But pitching in the major leagues is a much different beast than the minor leagues. In fact, I am quite curious to see how his command looks in his next couple of appearances.

As you may already know, Paredes wasn’t mistaken for his airtight control last season. His 12.2 percent walk rate last season was 40th among qualified relievers in 2020. Not a terrible walk rate, but when that command starts to slip away from him, Paredes can find himself in trouble. But when he reigns it in a bit, he becomes a viable high-leverage option for the Astros. His next couple appearances are a must-watch for anyone curious to see if those command issues we saw at the beginning of the season are now under control as he returns with better health.