The Houston Astros developed one of the best ground-ball pitchers in the sport: Framber Valdez. But the All-Star lefty isn’t the only pitcher within the organization thriving on grounders. Florida Complex League lefty Jose Nodal is coming off his second season stateside, vying for an opportunity in Fayetteville.
Nodal generated 56.9 ground-ball percentage through 51 innings in 2022. The lefty sported a career-best 3.18 ERA, striking out 53 batters to his 21 walks. Nodal derives success from outs in play, and following his best season on paper, he received an early invite to minor-league spring training.
In West Palm Beach, Florida, the Astros were quick to refine Nodal’s changeup to complement his offspeed-heavy arsenal, which is defined by 12-6 curveball.
“We always work to completely improve everything,” Nodal said.
Following one season in the Dominican Summer League and two seasons in the Florida Complex League, Nodal is eyeing an opportunity to start 2023 with Single-A Fayetteville. The 20-year-old lefty is Rule 5 Draft eligible in December. While the Astros won’t add him to the 40-man roster, this season could entice a selection in the Triple-A phase.
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