Detroit Tigers in winter leagues: Isaac Paredes still raking, righty Drew Carlton solid

Detroit Free Press

Evan Petzold
| Detroit Free Press

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Detroit Tigers third baseman Isaac Paredes continues to carry his team in the Mexican Pacific Winter League.

His success is an encouraging sign for the Tigers, who are counting on Paredes to help them emerge from the rebuild. Ranked No. 6 in the team’s farm system by MLB Pipeline, the 21-year-old played 34 games in the majors last season. 

Last week in winter leagues: Two OFs from Tigers joining Manny Ramirez in Australia

In Mexico, Paredes is 18-for-52 (.346) through 15 games for Venados de Mazatlán, with six doubles, one homer and 12 RBIs. He has 11 walks (and three intentional walks) compared to six strikeouts. His on-base percentage is .453 and slugging percentage is .519.

Paredes’ batting average reached its peak at .424 with a 3-for-4 showing Tuesday, part of an 11-game hitting streak from Nov. 17 through Sunday. In the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader, he went 0-for-3. Paredes, playing third base, has made two errors in 41 chances (.951 fielding percentage), with 28 assists and 11 putouts. 

[ How Isaac Paredes was discovered in Mexico: ‘This guy’s got it’ ]

Paredes got his first taste of the big leagues last season, hitting 220 with four doubles, one homer and six RBIs. He appeared at third base but could transition to second base in the future.

This is Paredes’ fourth year in the Mexican Pacific Winter League. He had a .370 batting average in 15 games in 2017-18, a .236 mark in 45 games in 2018-19 and a .295 clip through 45 games last winter.

Drew dazzles

Right-hander Drew Carlton remains dominant for Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Winter League and is making a case for himself to earn his MLB debut with the Tigers in the 2021 season.

[ Where Daz Cameron, Isaac Paredes, 17 others are playing this offseason ]

The 25-year-old has a 1.35 ERA in 6⅔ innings across six appearances out of the bullpen. He has five strikeouts without a walk. This is Carlton’s first offseason in the Dominican, and he is rising to the challenge.

In the 2019 season, Carlton pitched for Double-A Erie, boasting a 1.46 ERA, 65 strikeouts and 18 walks in 68 innings as a reliever. He wasn’t at summer camp in Detroit or the alternate training site in Toledo, but he got to pitch in the instructional league in Lakeland, Florida, in October and November.

The Tigers drafted Carlton in the 32nd round of the 2017 draft from Florida State. He was converted to a full-time reliever and has a 1.74 ERA through three minor-league seasons.

Three more active pitchers

The Tigers have three other prospects pitching this offseason: right-handers Dario Gardea and Emmanuel Quinones for Charros de Jalisco in the Mexican Pacific Winter League and righty Gerson Moreno for Estrellas Orientales in the Dominican Winter League.

Moreno made his debut in the Dominican Republic on Friday with a 7-1 lead in the ninth inning. He allowed three runs on three hits in ⅔ innings, generating two strikeouts. He didn’t allow a walk.

The 25-year-old missed the end of the 2018 season because of Tommy John surgery and didn’t return until the end of the 2019 campaign, making seven appearances in the Rookie Gulf Coast League.

He pitched in spring training and seemed on track to make Double-A Erie or Triple-A Toledo when the 2020 season began, but the COVID-19 pandemic nixed those plans. The Tigers signed Moreno in October 2012. He has a career 3.94 ERA in seven minor-league seasons, with a 5.29 ERA in 14 games for Erie in 2018 before his surgery.

In the Mexican Pacific Winter League, Gardea, 21, owns a 15.00 ERA, 15 strikeouts and 10 walks in nine innings across eight games (one start), giving up 18 hits and one home run.

Quinones, 21, hasn’t pitched since last week and still has a 10.80 ERA with two strikeouts and two walks. He was removed from the roster in favor of veteran pitchers joining the team but could return later.

Coming soon

The Tigers have 13 players, including five with MLB experience, gearing up to begin winter league games.

Players from the majors are shortstop Sergio Alcantara for Tigres del Licey (DR), third baseman Jeimer Candelario for Toros del Este (DR), right-hander Jose Cisnero for Estrellas Orientales (DR), left-hander Gregory Soto for Águilas Cibaeñas (DR) and outfielder Daz Cameron for Cangrejeros de Santurce (Puerto Rico).

The others: Eliezer Alfonzo for Leones del Caracas (Venezuela), Esney Chacon for Bravos de Margarita (Venezuela), Adolfo Bauza for Bravos de Margarita (Venezuela), Rodolfo Fajardo for Caribes de Anzoátegui (Venezuela), Jesus Rodriguez for Leones del Caracas (Venezuela), Angel Reyes for Criollos de Caguas (Puerto Rico), Cam Gibson for Sydney Blue Sox (Australia) and Jacob Robson for Sydney Blue Sox (Australia).

Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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