Detroit Tigers’ Isaac Paredes ends winter assignment with slump in Caribbean Series

Detroit Free Press

Evan Petzold
| Detroit Free Press

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Detroit Tigers third baseman Isaac Paredes played 66 games this offseason: 42 contests in the Mexican Pacific Winter League regular season, 19 in the league’s playoffs and five in the Caribbean Series.

The 21-year-old appeared on three teams: Venados de Mazatlán in the regular season and first round of the playoffs, Naranjeros de Hermosillo in the semifinals and finals, and Tomateros de Culiacán — Mexico’s representative — in the Caribbean Series.

Paredes cruised through the regular season for Mazatlán, securing the batting title with a .379 average. He reached the championship with Hermosillo, losing in Game 7 despite a clutch three-run homer.

Yet Paredes slumped in the Caribbean Series, which features the best players from winter leagues in the Dominican Republic, Panama, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Columbia and Mexico. He went 2-for-20 (.100) with one triple, two walks and four strikeouts in five games.

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The Caribbean Series, unlike the Mexican league, forced Paredes to battle big leaguers, former big leaguers and prospects each night.

These are the starting pitchers he faced: David Holmberg (Colombia), Cesar Valdez (Dominican Republic), Hector Santiago (Puerto Rico), Logan Darnell (Venezuela) and Luis Medina (Puerto Rico). Medina is the No. 11 prospect for the New York Yankees, according to MLB Pipeline.

Paredes played four of the five round-robin games, sitting out in Game 4 after a 1-for-12 start to the Caribbean Series. He returned for the final round-robin clash, with Mexico needing a win to advance to the semifinals.

In the bottom of the ninth, Paredes stepped to the plate with no outs in a 3-3 tie. He pulled a 1-2 inside pitch from Silvino Bracho for a triple to left field and was stranded by his teammates. In the 10th inning, he lined out to first base with runners on the corners, but the next batter — Juan Carlos Gamboa — drove a two-out walk-off single to send Mexico to the semifinals.

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

During the semifinals, Paredes went 0-for-3 with one walk in the 2-1 loss to Puerto Rico. He made the game’s final out on a grounder to second base.

Although Paredes’ struggles in the Caribbean Series could be the typical slump, it’s important to note the increase in competition. Notable players included Yadier Molina (Puerto Rico), Jarren Duran (PR), Robinson Cano (Dominican Republic), Carlos Martinez (DR), Juan Lagares (DR), Melky Cabrera (DR), Jonathan Villar (DR), Ronald Guzman (DR), Jamie Barria (Panama) and Harold Ramirez (Colombia). 

The Dominican Republic finished the Caribbean Series with a 7-0 record, earning a 4-1 victory in the championship against Puerto Rico. 

[ Why the Tigers like the work Isaac Paredes is doing in Mexican winter league ]

Earlier in the offseason, Paredes was much better against weaker competition. He hit .379 with 17 doubles, four home runs and 26 RBIs — with 27 walks to 12 strikeouts — in 42 regular-season games, pacing the Mexican league in on-base percentage (.480), on-base plus slugging percentage (1.060) and doubles (17). He was third in slugging percentage with a .579 clip.

Paredes competed in 19 playoff games, between Mazatlán and Hermosillo, going 20-for-68 (.294) with three doubles, two home runs, 13 RBIs, 12 walks and three strikeouts. He logged a .398 on-base percentage and a .426 slugging percentage.

Now that Paredes’ winter league assignment is over, he is scheduled to arrive in Lakeland, Florida, on Feb. 22 for the Tigers’ first full-team workout. New manager AJ Hinch has him penciled in as a third baseman, but will test him at second base.

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Paredes made his MLB debut Aug. 17, hitting .220 with one homer, six RBIs, eight walks and 24 strikeouts across 34 games in 2020.

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

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