When Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow called outfielder Jimmy Paredes up to the Astros from Oklahoma City this year he said a scout called him the most exciting player in triple-A. So far, Paredes has lived up to that billing, both positively and negatively.
His misadventures in the outfield over the last road trip have taken on a life of their own. A pair of collisions with infielders, one partially dislocating Jose Altuve’s jaw and the other allowing the winning run to cross the plate with two outs in the ninth inning in Pittsburgh.
Couple those gaffes with a slow start at the plate and it looked like the third time with the Astros was not going to be the charm for Paredes. But something happened on the way to writing him off, he started feeling comfortable at the plate.
“Both sides of the plate, he’s really seeing the ball,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “He’s playing well. We’re going to continue to give him opportunities and hope that he continues to play the way he’s playing.”
Paredes’ first stint with the Astros was a success at the plate, a .286 average with a strikeout percentage of 28 percent in 168 at bats 2011.
Those numbers took a dive in a shorter stint last year. A .189 average in 82 at bats failed to put him at the top of the list of candidates for the outfield at the start of this season. But another strong start in Oklahoma City earned Paredes a third chance and now Paredes seems to be finding his groove at the plate.
After trying him at the top of the lineup, Bo Porter has dropped him to seventh in the batting order where he has flourished in his brief time there. Overall his average is .500 in the short sample at seven, including both games of the Kansas City series when he’s had five hits, including a career high three Tuesday night. One of those hits was a three-run homer.
“I feel comfortable,” Paredes said. “I worked on my swing and discipline at the plate.”