The Detroit Tigers have lots of new faces thanks to a variety of trades. “Future Friday” is a new segment where we examine the newest prospects in Detroit and their future impact in the Motor City.
The Detroit Tigers sold off a lot of veteran talent over the past year in exchange for prospects.
While it can be hard for fans to see all-stars like J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton and Alex Avila dealt, not to mention franchise icon Justin Verlander, the return can be an exciting batch of prospects who will become the next stars in Detroit.
‘Future Fridays,’ is a new weekly column where we pick a prospect and delve into their expected impact on the team. With so many new faces, we want to help Tigers fans identify the newest wave of Tigers players as they move into rebuilding mode.
Today, we are going to take a look at a prospect from one of Detroit’s other big midseason trades.
On July 31, the Tigers traded closer Justin Wilson and catcher Alex Avila to the Chicago Cubs. In return they received prized third basemen Jeimer Candelario.
Candelario slashed a blazing hot .330/.406/.468 with two home runs in 94 at-bats down the stretch.
While he is certainly the crown jewel of the trade, another infield prospect acquired in that trade is the subject of today’s “Future Friday” post. That prospect is 18-year-old infielder Isaac Paredes.
What to look forward to with Isaac Paredes
The Chicago Cubs purchased Isaac Paredes from the Mexico City Red Devils for $800,000 in 2015. Just 17 at the time, Paredes hit .305 in 167 at-bats in Rookie league before earning a promotion to Class-A.
He opened up the 2017 season at that level, where he remained until he was traded to the Tigers.
Paredes hit .264/.343/.401 with a 7.6% walk rate and only a 14.1% strikeout rate in 337 at-bats before the trade.
He also hit seven home runs, had 49 RBI and posted a 113 wRC+.
After the trade, Paredes saw his average dip down to .217, thanks to an unlucky .214 BABIP. He posted better walk and strikeout numbers (9.8% each) and hit four home runs in just 115 at-bats.
An 18-year-old kid posting a 9.8% walk rate and a 9.8% strikeout rate in Class-A is very impressive. Doing it as a shortstop is even more impressive, which is where Paredes primarily played last season.
Some scouts think he will outgrow the position and will need to shift to third base. Others think he can stay at shortstop permanently, while still others envision a move to second base. At 18, it is hard to know exactly what the future holds developmentally for Paredes.
For their part, the Tigers certainly seem to want him at shortstop. He started 31 games after the trade. 22 of them were at short, five were at third base and three were at second.
For more information on Detroit’s shortstop of the future, here is a link to an article written by David Laurila of FanGraphs talking about Paredes shortly after the trade. A quote:
"The Detroit Tigers are in full rebuild mode, and Isaac Paredes projects as a big part of their future. His bat is the primary reason why. Despite an August swoon that caused his numbers to plummet, the 18-year-old shortstop finished the season with a .725 OPS. Given that he was one of the youngest players in the Midwest League, that’s not exactly chicken soup."
Paredes, like Daz Cameron, is a few years away from being an impact player in the Motor City. Still, it is tempting to imagine a future with Jeimer Candelario manning third and Paredes next to him at shortstop.
Jose Iglesias remains Detroit’s shortstop for now, but trade rumors have circulated around him this offseason. Paredes would not be the next guy up, but if the Tigers feel strongly enough about his future in the middle of the diamond than Iglesias may not be long in the Old English D.