Edwin Paredes has made just three appearances for the Aeros, but it’s obvious the left-handed reliever won’t be pitching at Canal Park very long this season.
Certainly not with the way Paredes has dominated Double-A hitters. The success enjoyed by Paredes, a 6-foot, 180-pounder, is surprising considering he sat out all of last season without interest from any of major-league baseball’s 30 teams.
“Couldn’t get a job,” Paredes said with a shrug when asked why he didn’t pitch until last winter in his native Dominican Winter League.
It was his performance in the winter for Estrellas (3-0 with a 1.93 ERA and limiting left-handed batters to a .174 average) that attracted the Indians’ attention. The Indians signed Paredes, 26, in early January.
Lingering command issues appear to be the reason Paredes, who has a fastball in the low 90s, went from being on the Seattle Mariners’ 40-man roster from 2009-2011 to a free agent nobody 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 this season, Paredes limited opposing batters to three hits and struck out eight. He has shown 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 [change-up] and he’s showing command of his secondary pitches. He’s showing everything you’re looking for in a pitcher — at any level.”
Rodriguez said Paredes has pitched better as the weather has gotten warmer. Before Tuesday’s game, Rodriguez was talking to Paredes about the team’s seven-game road trip that begins tonight in Bowie, Md.
“He’s been absolutely lights-out for us,” Rodriguez said. “Before batting practice we were talking about going to Bowie [and] 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.”
All the pitchers who pitched ahead of Paredes in Tuesday’s 14-6 loss to the Altoona Curve 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 was the exception.
“I’m just looking to work them and get ahead in the count,” Paredes said of his simplistic approach used to strike out five of the seven batters he faced in two innings.
Paredes struck out the side in the seventh, including slugger Andrew Lambo, who had 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.
Paredes benefitted from pitching parts of two seasons at the Triple-A level (2010 and 2011) while with the Mariners, who 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 building 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 the Curve on Wednesday night was postponed by rain. A makeup date has yet to be announced, but the game will likely be made up as part of a doubleheader during the Curve’s next visit to Canal Park in late June.
Stephanie Storm can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Kent State blog at http://www.ohio.com/flashes. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SStormABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.