Detroit Tigers Roster Preview: Infielder Isaac Paredes

CHICAGO - AUGUST 19: Isaac Paredes #19 of the Detroit Tigers fields against the Chicago White Sox on August 19, 2020 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
CHICAGO - AUGUST 19: Isaac Paredes #19 of the Detroit Tigers fields against the Chicago White Sox on August 19, 2020 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /

For any Detroit Tigers fan who is on Twitter on any given night in the last month, you probably have seen an Isaac Paredes highlight in his time in the Mexican Pacific Winter League as won a hitting title.

Or you may have seen on along with Spencer Torkelson (Number 1 overall) that he is on top 10 3B prospects.  Perhaps you even heard the quote from AJ Hinch that he will get some time at second base, which would be the first time since last winter league in which he spent 21 innings but state sidewise, he has not since Lakeland in 2018. It is a good problem that the Detroit Tigers have.

However you heard about Paredes this winter, he has made his case known he wants to stay up here.

Contract Status:

Paredes is still a rookie and is not arb eligible until 2024 and has two minor league options left.

Isaac Paredes’s Game

Paredes is a patient hitter with a good walk and strikeout rate in the minors. Even his 22.2% K ratio in just 108 plate appearances, was below the MLB league average of 23.4%.  Chris, myself, and Jake did a video breakdown of one of his issues last year when he was brought up. He was too patient and making adjustments for hard contact.

He also struggled against breaking balls, hitting .107 (XBA .155) with a Whiff% of 29.2. But all is not negative. He is a hitter who hits in the gaps and makes good contact but tends to be pull happy. As Chris mentioned in his article last year, he has what is called a “grooved swing”. His article breaks it down so check it out but essentially, he lacks barrel control as Chris mentioned in the video.

Keep in mind he is 21 years old and he has adjusted at every level he has been so his rough start could be just adjusting to major league pitching.  As far as defense, he shows good range at third and was primarily a shortstop before moving to third.

ZiPS Projections

If you are familiar with ZiPS projections on FanGraphs, then this will sound familiar to you. In 530 plate appearances, he is projected to hit .255/.315/.390 with 15 home runs and 51 RBIs with a wRC+ of 86.  This is not an exact science, it is a projection so keep that in mind.

My Take:

In my article from last July, I mentioned how a former colleague of mine at Tigers Minor League Report, Joe Rampe discussed hitters who did not hit for power in the minors but had good walk rates and low strike rates. Names like Eugenio Suarez and Manny Machado. Lou Whitaker was also the same and he had four seasons of hitting 20 home runs.

I maintained the same idea that I have for quite some time. Place him at second base. Until recently, it seems like Detroit wasn’t, based on his size and the recent rumors that they are interested in Kolton Wong.

The more I think about it, the more I would feel more comfortable with Paredes at second versus Niko Goodrum, who can play all over the diamond. Paredes has the higher upside in terms of a hitter and if Detroit really wants to see what they have among their young talent, if Paredes can hit in spring training into a starting position, then it would make perfect sense.

His versatility says if Willi Castro struggles, he could play short in a pinch. I rather have Detroit use the money if they were going to spend on a free agent on getting another starter for the rotation.

This season will be a critical one for the older prospects in the system and whether or not the 2019 and 2020 draft classes live up to the rankings. Paredes has an opportunity to establish himself as a regular in 2021. Let’s hope he can follow through, wherever he ends up landing in the infield.