Edwin Paredes has made just three appearances for the Aeros to date, but it’s rather obvious the left-handed reliever won’t be pitching at Canal Park very long this season before earning a promotion.
Certainly not with the way Paredes has dominated Double-A hitters, which is pretty ironic considering the the 6-foot, 180-pounder sat out all of last season without interest from any of major league baseball’s 30 teams.
“Couldn’t get a job,” Paredes, 26, said with a shrug when asked why he didn’t pitch until last winter in his native Dominican Winter League.
It was his performance there for Estrellas (3-0 with a 1.93 ERA, while limiting left-handed batters to a .174 average) that attracted the Indians attention, who in early January signed the minor league free agent after a season away from the game.
Lingering command issue appear to be the reason Paredes (a rare southpaw who boats a fastball in the low 90’s), went from being on the Seattle Mariners 40-man roster from 2009-2011 to suddenly being a free agent noboby wanted.
“There was one thing in spring training he worked on after I watched his first game,” Aeros pitching coach Greg Hibbard said. “I noticed his arm slot tends to drop a little bit and he works underneath the ball. So we just tried to keep the posture of his hand in a certain position that allows him to keep his elbow up. The result is that it’s helped his command and sharpened his breaking ball.”
In five innings of work this season, Paredes has limited opposing batters to three harmless hits while striking out eight, showing pinpoint control of three pitches.
“He’s been very effective against lefties or righties,” Aeros manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “He’s got a good fastball with late movement, late tailing action against right handers. Against lefties, he’s got that breaking ball (changeup) and he’s showing command of his secondary pitches. He’s showing everyting you’re looking for a in pitcher – at any level.”
Rodriguez said the warmer the weather has gotten since the start of the season last week, the better Paredes has performed. Before Tueday’s game, Rodriguez was talking to Paredes about the team’s seven-game road trip that begins tonight in Bowie.
“He’s been absolutely lights out for us,” Rodriguez said. “Before batting practice we were talking about going to Bowie the weather being warm there and he said, ‘Oh man! I’m going to be good.’ He’s all happy the weather is getting better and here he’s already been so good.”
While the Aeros pitchers who took the mound ahead of Paredes in Tuesday’s 14-6 loss to Altoona were knocked around pretty good by the league’s second-best hitting team (Curve batters have combined to hit .274 so far this season), Paredes proved to be a man among boys.
“I’m just looking to work them and get ahead in the count,” Paredes said of his simplistic approach that led to him fanning five of the seven batters he faced in the sixth and seventh innings.
Paredes struck out the side in the seventh, including fanning Altoona slugger Andrew Lambo, who had just hit for the cycle during his first four at bats.
“(Lambo) was (Paredes) best hitter, but he made him look like he had no chance against him,’’ Rodriguez said.
Despite his former comand issues, Paredes appears to have benefitted from pitching parts of two seasons at the Triple-A level (2010 and ’11) while with Seattle, which orginally signed him as a free agent in 2005.
“In Triple-A you see a lot of veteran hitters who are disciplined,” Paredes said. “Here, you see more younger guys still buiding up, trying to get to the big leagues. So, they’re just trying to hit here and don’t have as much of a mature approach.”
* The final game of the Aeros season-opening homestand against Altoona Wednesday night was postponed due to rain. While a makeup date has yet to be announced, the game will likely be made up as part of a double header during the Curve’s next visit to Canal Park in late June.