We’re reviewing each of the 316 players to appear at some level of the Houston Astros system in 2022.
Parker Mushinski is a six-foot, 218 lb. left-handed reliever from Arlington, TX. Born on November 22, 1995, he was Houston’s seventh-round choice in 2017, 211th off the board. He’s the 13th to reach the majors after being taken at that spot, a fraternity led in WAR by John Farrell (7.2).
Chosen out of Texas Tech, Mushinski later signed a contract that included a $195,300 signing bonus. After graduating, he spent the rest of 2017 at Houston’s Short-Season-A Tri-City ValleyCats. He later spent 2018 with the Low-A Quad Cities River Bandits, 2019 between the rookie-level GCL Astros, the ValleyCats and the then-High-A Fayetteville Woodpeckers, and 2021 between the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks and the Triple-A Sugar Land Skeeters.
Mushinski is reliant on a four-pitch mix, set off by his curveball that he employs 32 percent of the time. He also uses a slider (17 percent) and a pair of fastballs, a 92 MPH four-seamer (22.5 percent) and a cutter (26 percent).
Mushinski began the 2022 campaign back at the Triple-A level with the newly renamed Sugar Land Space Cowboys. In 4 2⁄3 innings of work, he struck out five and allowed one hit, no walks, and one unearned run. On April 16, the Astros called Mushinski up on the same day they put closing RHP Ryan Pressly on the injured list.
For his major league debut on April 17, Mushinski collected a strikeout in a perfect inning of work in a 7-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners. On May 4, in a rematch the Astros won, also by a 7-2 margin, Mushinski pitched two perfect frames, striking out three. When Pressly was ready to go the next day, Mushinski was sent back to Sugar Land.
Mushinski wasn’t having any of it. He’d seen major league hitters at that point, remember. He pitched 10 1⁄3 innings covering nine games for the Cowboys, surrendering six hits, two walks, and two unearned runs while striking out 12. On June 4, he was called back to the Astros when lefty Blake Taylor went down with shoulder discomfort. On June 6, he struck one out over a scoreless inning, walking two in a 7-4 loss, again to the Mariners. The next day, Mushinski was placed on the injured list with a sore elbow.
After a month off, Mushinski rejoined Sugar Land and played in five more games, giving up seven earned runs in four innings. The Astros called him back for a third time on July 21 when Pressly went on the paternity list. On July 23, in Mushinski’s final major league appearance of the season, he collected three outs on four pitches in a 3-1 victory over Seattle. The following day he was once again optioned to the Cowboys.
Mushinski played in 20 more games for Sugar Land, striking out 19 in 21 2⁄3 innings. He managed a final-two-month opposing slash of .200/.292/.320.
In seven games at the major league level (four against the Mariners), Mushinski gave up three earned runs on five hits and three walks over 7 1⁄3 innings. He struck out eight, hit one batter, and closed with a 1.091 WHIP and a SSS opposing slash of .192/.300/.269. Called up to join the taxi squad through Houston’s trip to a World Series title, Mushinski enjoys a current spot on the Astros 40-man roster.
As Houston’s pitching staff is one of the most loaded I’ve ever seen, it may be hard to crack. Mushinski is one of few that could. Keep an eye on him through Spring Training.