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Astros add four minor league players to 40-man roster

Astros protect four players from Rule 5 draft

HOUSTON – The Houston Astros will add right-handed pitcher Cristian Javier, infielder Taylor Jones, right-handed pitcher Enoli Paredes and right-handed pitcher Nivaldo Rodriguez to their 40-man roster. The deadline to protect eligible minor league players from the 2019 Rule 5 Draft is Thursday at 7 p.m. CT.

With the additions of Javier, Jones, Paredes and Rodriguez, the Astros will have 38 players on their 40-man roster.

Javier, 22, was named the Astros Minor League Pitcher of the Year after a dominating 2019 season that was split between three levels in Houston's minor league system. In 26 games (18 starts) with Triple A Round Rock, Double A Corpus Christi and Class A Advanced Fayetteville, Javier posted an 8-3 record with four saves, a 1.98 ERA in 113.2IP and 170 strikeouts. Among all minor league pitchers with at least 100.0 innings pitched in 2019, Javier ranked first in opponent batting average (.130), second in ERA, third in strikeout rate (37.3%), sixth in strikeouts and eighth in WHIP (0.97). Javier was originally signed by the Astros as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic on March 18, 2015, and has pitched five full seasons in the Astros minor league system (2015-19).

Jones, 25, spent his entire 2019 season at Round Rock, hitting .291 with 28 doubles, 22 home runs, 84 RBI and an .889 OPS in 125 games for the Express. Primarily a first baseman entering the 2019 season, the 6'7" Jones started at four different positions this season, making 64 starts at first base, 27 in left field, 14 at third base and two in right field. Jones was originally a 19th-round pick by the Astros out of Gonzaga in the June 2016 draft.

Paredes, 24, combined to post a 5-4 record and a 2.78 ERA in 94IP in 22 games, including 12 starts, between Corpus Christi and Fayetteville. He racked up 128 strikeouts, while allowing just 50 hits, a .155 opponent batting average and a 0.98 WHIP in 94.0 innings pitched. A Class A Carolina League All-Star this season, Paredes was promoted to Corpus Christi in June and finished his season with the Hooks. A native of the Dominican Republic, Paredes was originally signed by the Astros as an international free agent on Oct. 15, 2015.

Rodriguez, 22, went 6-6 with a 2.40 ERA in 105IP in 24 games, including 15 starts, between Fayetteville and Class A Quad Cities in 2019. Like Javier and Paredes, Rodriguez posted a WHIP under 1.00, checking in at 0.99, while striking out over a hitter per inning (114K in 105IP) and allowing a .183 opponent batting average. Rodriguez has pitched four seasons in the Astros minor league system since being signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela on June 13, 2016.