By Todd Johnson
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 8, 2017
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 young 18-year-old is developing at a nice steady pace as one of the Cubs’ top hitting prospects.
5’11” and 175; Throws Right; Bats Right
Makeup, Hit Tool, Can play SS and 3B, Potential for Power, Youth
Areas of Concern
Consistency, Speed, Maturity
This is his early career. At just 18, Isaac Paredes is rather advanced when it comes to hitting. He makes solid contact and is driving the ball extremely well in 2017. He was signed by the Cubs as an International Free Agent in 2015. From Mexico, he played on the same team as Jose Albertos. As a Cub, he began play at Mesa in 2016. He hit .305 with 1 HR and 26 RBI in 47 games. He first appeared at South Bend in 2016 during the last week of the season. The then 17-year-old only saw action in 3 regular season games and 3 postseason games.
Heading into 2017, Paredes was ranked the 29th best Cubs prospect by Baseball America. MLB.com currently has him at #17. Jim Callis said this of Paredes’ 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 45 games there this year and just 6 a 3B. He’s only made 5 errors in over 200 chances this season. His arm is improving and has gotten a lot stronger than in the above analysis.
The bat on the other hand is still developing and adapting.
In April of this year, Paredes struggled hitting only .222 in 21 games. Despite that poor average, there was a glimmer of hope. He only struck out 13 times and walked 6. May saw an improvement in his statistics across the board. He hit .267 with 1 HR and 15 RBI and put up an OBP of .330 – somewhat respectable numbers. He only struck out 11 in 26 games and walked 7.
As a result of continually improving, Paredes seemed to breakout 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. He did strike out 21 times, but his plate discipline and pitch recognition is still amazing for his age. His OPS for the month was .898. He slashed 8 doubles and cranked out 3 HRs. Every ball he hits seems to be hit very hard.
In examining where Paredes hits the ball, he is pulling 51.8% of batted balls with 21.6% going to CF and 26.6% going to right. That is a little pull happy, but the ball is finding a place to land.
I currently have him ranked at #15 on my Top 21 List. I don’t think he will move much at the end of this year. However, the power potential is there. 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.