Though the call-ups of vaunted pitching prospects Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal garnered most of the attention — and for good reason — it's the position player the Detroit Tigers are baptizing by Major League fire who has been the most productive of the trio. Isaac Paredes, a 21-year-old third baseman, has five hits in his last six at-bats and has reached base in all but one of his last eight plate appearances.
Paredes made his debut on April 17 and promptly collected a two-RBI single in his second at-bat. From the very first time he stepped in the box, it was clear he felt comfortable. His eye is impeccable and the way he takes close but not entirely hittable pitches is something one would expect for a 10-year veteran. The righthander has drawn four base on balls to go with eight strikeouts, a ratio that will only improve.
Last night on the Fox Sports Detroit broadcast they displayed an incredible stat. In 21 swings at pitches in the strike zone, Paredes has connected on all of them. I believe he made it 22-for-22 a moment later. In an era where putting bat on ball has become a rare commodity, it's a skill set that stands out.
Now, it's at this point that the brakes should be at least tapped. Paredes has not shown otherworldly production during his four minor league seasons, posting a .274/.355/.420 slashie with 40 dingers. It's not a given that power will come, though that's certainly the hope. And who can really put too much stock into statistics compiled years before someone reaches a legal drinking age anyway?
The Tigers have a full complement of stud pitching supposedly just on the horizon. There's the good news. The bad news is that the offense is spotty and nowhere near as inspiring in the prospect ranks. Realistically competing in a few years only happens if Paredes, Spencer Torkelson, and a few others become competent, everyday sticks.
It's been a few rough years in Motown. Hope was at a dangerously low level. But dammit if a few rays of sunshine haven't managed to brighten a few days, if only ever so briefly.