MINNEAPOLIS – The Tigers discussed with Isaac Paredes about being more aggressive at home and trying to hit for more power. At the same time, he tried to maintain the strike zone discipline that featured at the top of his resume as a prospect.
The challenge of finding that balance, along with the risk and reward of both sides, has been on display in recent days, including the Tigers’ 3-2 loss to the Twins on Tuesday. He tore an off-speed pitch from Charlie Barnes in the seats along the left field line before taking a third called-up in the second inning, then burned a line in left field for a double from Barnes in the fourth. However, he advanced Miguel Cabrera to a goal scorer in the sixth inning with a ball on the ground from opposite ground across the right side.
Days earlier, he tore another ball along the left field line at Comerica Park which bounced out of play for a ground rule double to charge in the ninth inning goals against Royals’ closest Scott Barlow.
The vast majority of balls in play since returning to the Tigers just over a week ago have been on the pull side.
“This is something I have to do,” Paredes said through a translator a few days ago, “be more aggressive, have a good strike zone and be aggressive on the first pitches of every presence. batting. One of the things the coaches told me to find that old Isaac is.
Paredes hasn’t really been a formidable powerful hitter. His best season for power in the big leagues was in 2018, when he netted 15 homers, 28 doubles and had a .456 shot percentage in 123 games between High-A Lakeland and Double-A Erie. He hit 13 homers and 23 doubles in a full season with Erie in 2019, but his stroke percentage fell to 0.416. Some evaluators who watched him as he climbed the system thought he could be a solid, pure hitter in the Majors, but not with much power.
So far, his shot percentage as a Tiger is 0.323 with just two homers in 54 games over two seasons. The Tigers are trying to tap into his natural strength and make the most of his momentum without him betraying his sense of the strike zone.
That’s a small sample size this year, but while his average release speed has declined against fastballs over the season, it has increased against low-speed pitches and broken balls. For the season, his average exit speed and hard hit rate are up slightly from last year, and his average launch angle has increased from 7.5 to 17.5 degrees.
The risk with this is to get too aggressive and lose discipline at plate. However, Paredes entered Wednesday with more walks (four) than strikeouts (three) since returning from AAA Toledo. With the Mud Hens, the ratio was more impressive, with 28 walks to 17 strikeouts in one month of play since returning from injury in mid-August.
“I’m feeling great so I’m going back to practice what we’ve been working on in the minor leagues, building confidence in myself and my talents and giving my best,” said Paredes. .
Another important step for Miggy?
The Miggy Milestone counter at Comerica Park closed at 502 career homers and 2,987 hits after the Tigers’ home final on Monday.
Will there be an important milestone for Cabrera when the Tigers return for their home opener in 2022 on April 8?
The Tigers are on the road for their final week of the season. They will also start next season on the road for seven games in Seattle and Oakland. If Cabrera gets even slightly warm – he had nine straight hits at the bat earlier this month – he has a good chance of hitting 3,000 before the Tigers return to Detroit.
It would be another tough break for Tigers fans, who watched Cabrera go through an entire homestand last month trying 500 home runs before finally hitting him in Toronto.
“I tested the baseball gods with 500. It didn’t work,” manager AJ Hinch said last weekend. “He’s going to get his hits every time he gets his hits.”
Cabrera played five of the six games on the Tigers’ last homestand, allowing fans to follow his hit parade. Hinch indicated last week that he was set to play Cabrera in Monday’s makeup game against the White Sox, but decided to pitch him to DH. He finished with two hits, including a brace that sparked the Tigers’ five-point rally in the eighth inning to almost overcome a six-point deficit in an 8-7 loss.
Cabrera will likely have a few days off on this end-of-season road trip, Hinch said. But unless Cabrera maybe a hit or two before the last game of their first road trip next season, don’t expect Hinch to change his playtime plans.
“I didn’t sit it down on the first road trip,” Hinch said half-jokingly. “Latest news.”