Isaac Paredes put together a monster night Friday as he drove in 4 and scored 3 runs in leading South Bend to a victory against Dayton. The 18-year-old is developing at a steady pace as one of the Cubs’ top hitting prospects.
5-foot-11, 175 lbs
Can play SS and 3B
Potential for power
Areas of Concern
Signed by the Cubs as an international free agent out of Mexico — where he played on the same team as pitching phenom Jose Albertos — as a 15-year-old, Paredes has shown an advanced approach at an early age. He makes solid contact and is driving the ball extremely well in 2017, but signs were there last year as well.
Paredes hit .305 with one home run and 26 RBI in 47 games for rookie-league Mesa in 2016 before skipping short-season Eugene to appear at South Bend during the last week of the season. The then 17-year-old only saw action in three regular season games and three more postseason games.
Heading into 2017, Paredes was ranked No. 29 on the Cubs Baseball America’s list of top Cubs prospect. MLB.com currently has him at No. 17, and Jim Callis said this of Paredes’s skills:
Paredes has more pop than Aramis Ademan and Carlos Sepulveda, but less likelihood of playing up the middle. He has enough loft and bat speed from the right side of the plate to develop into a 15-homer threat. He also has a good feel for hitting, already showing the ability to control the strike zone and use the whole field. Paredes has enough arm strength to play anywhere in the infield, but his fringy speed and quickness limit his range. He could shift to second base but more scouts think he’s destined for third base because he figures to lose a step as he fills out.
The description holds mostly true. In fact, Paredes has shown he can hang playing shortstop this year. He’s played 46 games there as compared to just six at third and he’s only made five errors in over 200 chances this season. His arm is improving and has gotten a lot stronger than described in the above analysis.
The bat, on the other hand, is still developing and adapting.
In April of this year, Paredes fought to a .222 average over 21 games. Despite that poor average, there was a glimmer of hope. He only struck out 13 times and walked six times. May saw an improvement in his statistics across the board. He hit .267 with one homer and 15 RBI and put up an OBP of .330, somewhat respectable numbers. He only struck out 11 times while walking seven more in 26 games.
As a result of this continual improvement, Paredes broke out a bit in June. His average for the month went up to .289 but his OBP skyrocketed to .404 as the youngster walked 12 times in 24 games. His OPS for the month was .898 as he slashed eight doubles and cranked out three home runs. It seemed as though every ball he hit was driven with authority. He did strike out 21 times, but his plate discipline and pitch recognition is still amazing for his age.
Paredes is a little pull-happy, but the ball is finding spots to land. He is pulling 51.8 percent of batted balls. with 21.6 percent going to CF and 26.6 percent going to right. That latter number is somewhat encouraging and is something to keep an eye on.
He’s a strong kid who is getting stronger and has gained a lot of valuable experience at such a young age. His ability to put the bat on the ball is going to take him places regardless of his position. I would like to see him continue to drive the ball, as he has done most of the year, but to also use the whole field to do so. As he continues to physically and mentally mature, he could be a special hitter.