The Chicago Cubs signed Isaac Paredes at the age of 16 out of Hermosillo, Mexico in 2015. In 2017, the Cubs traded Paredes alongside INF Jeimer Candelario to the Tigers for LHP Justin Wilson and C Alex Avila.
At this time, he was graded as a 45, with his hit tool (50) and arm tool (55) being his strongest skills. From the moment he stepped into their facility, all he did was hit. In his age 17 season, in the Arizona League at the Rookie Ball level, he slashed .305/.359/.443 and earned himself a promotion to Single-A South Bend.
As he has settled into his new home in Detroit, he has shown improvement in each season. Isaac is a natural hitter with a true feel for the game who also is aware of the way pitchers are trying to approach him.
As he has risen from rookie ball to AA, he has shown good, not great, plate discipline, as his OBP has actually risen with each year. In first year in Double-A in 2018, Paredes finished with impressive numbers, but appear a bit inflated if you compare them to his 2019 season. Paredes saw a small dip in his average, but put the ball in play much more. His BABIP was .358 in 2018, compared to .298 in 2019. His K% dropped from 14.2 to 11.1 which was a good sign, and his BB% dropped, but still is no cause for alarm at 10.3%.
Paredes’ strikeouts were down in 2019 and he has shown slightly below average power with his career .135 ISO at the Double-A level. He projects to sit between 15-20 homers per season when his time comes at the big-league level.
As you can see in the spray chart, Paredes can hit the ball to all fields, but his power is primarily pull side. A lot of people who have reported previously on Paredes believe that he will develop more home run power as he matures, which is possible, but with his hitting profile, combined with the prospect of having Comerica Park as his home ballpark, I think it is more practical to expect him to become a doubles machine.
Aside from his prior at bats and results, you can take a look below and see he does not get his hands back very well, and as a result makes sense why his power is pull side. If he gets his bat sped up, or he recognizes a pitch inside, he would have to instinctively bring the hands back to connect barrel to ball, resulting in an increase in power. The potential for a higher grade is there, he would just need to adjust his swing, which to this point we have seen no signs of.
Paredes has never been known for his speed, as his 2019 stolen base total of 5 is his career high. While he is not close to the slowest person around, I do not project for him to ever crack double digit speed totals at the major league level. His wSB was -0.2 last year, which to me means that he should not be stealing, but with that being said, his run tool is not something that will help or hurt his value.
I know a lot of people see third base in his future, and this grade is if he stays on the left side of the infield. His range is limited, and I am confident he will struggle if he stays there, but with this team in complete rebuild mode, trying to decide what puzzle piece fits where, don’t be surprised if Paredes becomes a staple in their lineup at second base. Paredes has the arm to play anywhere in the infield, his arm is not spectacular but will for sure get the job done. His throws are accurate and strong, but his arm is not strong enough to cover his questionable range.
From a set position, I would be confident putting Paredes at any position in the infield, but with all of the variation of plays in the game of baseball, being able to perform on the move is essential to success at the highest levels of the game. As a result I think his future to be a successful major leaguer is at second base
While I would like to see him end up as a second baseman, because that is where I feel like he could succeed the best, offense is the main part of his game, and this kid can hit. If he can build on his strong 2019, he could for sure see himself as an everyday member of the Tigers’ lineup in 2021. Paredes has been above average at any level he has played at, as a result of this, I think one more year of seasoning at Triple-A could make him a force to be reckoned with going forward. It isn’t necessarily needed to make him ready for the show, but he could use a stop at Triple-A to tighten up the loose edges before being deployed to the show. Once he does arrive in Detroit, he has the tools to be successful.