In 2015, Paredes signed with the Cubs (see Transactions below).
The Cubs scout Mexico aggressively, partly because signing a guy doesn't count against the bonus pool, only what you pay the player counts. And what you pay the Mexican League does not count.
In 2017, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Isaac as the 29th-best prospect in the Cubs' organization.
After being traded to the Tigers' organization, BAPH rated Paredes as the 7th-best prospect in their farm system in the winter before 2018 spring training. He was at #3 in the spring of 2019. He was at #5 in the offseason before 2020 spring camps opened. And he was at #6 in the spring of 2021.
Jan 4, 2018: Arguably the most promising bat of the Tigers' rebuilding trades last summer pronounced his potential with one incredible August stretch. But there was more to Isaac Paredes' game than his three home runs in two games.
Those two efforts for Class A West Michigan at Lake County, coincidentally while Tigers general manager Al Avila was in town to watch the organization's No. 2 overall prospect Matt Manning, raised Detroit fans' hopes that they had found a gem in their July deals. Paredes was an 18-year-old shortstop in the Midwest League, and the lesser-known infield prospect in the week-old trade that sent Justin Wilson and Alex Avila to the Cubs. Those home runs had fans seeing it as a steal.
The rest of the way was a reminder that Paredes was still a raw prospect, a teenager who began playing pro ball just a year earlier and signed in 2015 for an $800,000 bonus. After six hits and seven RBIs in two days, he went 8-for-73 with one extra-base hit and eight RBIs over his next 21 games. He labored out of that slump with three hits and two doubles in West Michigan's three-game Midwest League playoff series loss to Dayton, giving him some momentum heading into winter ball.
Paredes also rose from the 19th-ranked prospect in the Cubs' system to the ninth-ranked Tigers prospect in MLB Pipeline's most recent rankings. He's the highest-ranked infielder in a system that had become dramatically thin in recent years, and became the focus of the Tigers' summer dealings.
Paredes' muscular build resembles a college upperclassman's, and fills out his 5-foot-11 frame. Despite the streakiness, his plate approach shows more maturity than his age. Even as he slumped in August, Paredes didn't rack up strikeouts, fanning as many times at West Michigan as he walked (13). He walked and struck out five times each in winter ball.
"He's got an advanced approach for his age," said Mike Rabelo, who managed Paredes at West Michigan before being promoted to Class A Advanced Lakeland this 2017 offseason. "You don't see him too much swinging at balls out of the zone like you would expect from an 18-year-old guy that has some pop. He's got a pretty good clue when he goes up there. That's the reason why we traded for him, when he holds that bat in his hands."
Paredes, speaking at season's end through translator and Whitecaps coach Jorge Cordova, said he tried to make an impression after the trade. Once he hit the home runs, he got away from his game. "He just lost his plan, the way he's supposed to hit," Cordova said. "He was too comfortable, he wasn't concentrating, he was swinging the bat like crazy. He wasn't focused enough to hit the way he's supposed to hit." A refocus, with a mechanical tip or two from then-Whitecaps hitting coach Mike Hessman, got him back to form.
Like many of the prospects the Tigers acquired in trades this summer, Paredes is far from the doorstep to Detroit. His next logical step is Lakeland, where the Florida State League tends to humble power hitters. Still, if he can build on his approach and keep learning rather than change, he has the strength and discipline to be the kind of impact-hitting young infielder the Tigers have struggled to produce in recent years since trading Devon Travis to Toronto for Anthony Gose.
Paredes might outgrow shortstop, and he began playing second and third base in spots down the stretch. But if he hits, the Tigers will find a place for him. (J Beck - MLB.com - Jan 4, 2018)
In 2018, Isaac showed up at spring training a little bulky. If he’s going to stay at shortstop, he must shed some pounds and become more flexible. He plays second base and third base, too.
2018 Season: Paredes showcased his advanced hitting ability last season while reaching Double-A at age 19. He finished with a .278/.359/.456 line, 45 extra-base hits (including a career-high 15 HR) and 70 RBIs between two levels. There are questions about his future defensive home, but Paredes' plus hit tool and potential for at least average power could make him an above-average regular at the highest level.
July 2019: Paredes represented the Tigers at the Futures All-Star Game.
2019 season: Paredes was named the Tigers MLB Pipeline Position Player of the Year. He entered the season with high regard as the Tigers’ top position prospect, a title since taken by slugging outfielder and latest first-round draft pick Riley Greene. Despite being one of the younger players in the Eastern League, the 20-year-old Paredes more than held his own, batting .282 (135-for-478) with 23 doubles, 13 home runs, 66 RBIs and a .784 OPS. All but one of his home runs came after June 1, including five in the final month.
More impressive was his plate discipline for a young power hitter. Despite his aggressive approach, he finished with almost as many walks (57) as strikeouts (61), resulting in a .368 on-base percentage. None of his free passes were intentional.
Oct 1, 2019: Isaac Paredes is just 20 years old, but his age has hardly held him back as he’s climbed his way through the Tigers’ system.
Paredes was promoted to Double-A Erie late in the 2018 campaign and hit .321 over 39 games, despite being just 19 years old at the time. He carried that momentum into 2019, prompting the Tigers to send him to the Arizona Fall League for more development.
“I’m very happy, I’ve very excited to be apart of this and for the opportunity that the Tigers have given me,” the Tigers’ No. 5 prospect said. “There’s a lot of talent here and I just appreciate the confidence that the Tigers have given me.”
Paredes has rewarded the Tigers with his offensive consistency and production. While he projects to have average power in the future, Paredes currently employs a contact-focused approach and rarely strikes out. In fact, he struck out just 61 times this season and, for comparison’s sake, drew 57 walks.
Defensively, Paredes has good hands and a strong arm, but his range may require him to move away from shortstop. The infielder has spent time at both second and third base in the Minor Leagues and is open to playing either spot. (W Boor - MLB.com - Oct 1, 2019)
Oct 14, 2019: Isaac Paredes’ season in the Arizona Fall League is over. The infielder, ranked as the Tigers' No. 5 prospect by MLB Pipeline, was removed from the Mesa Solar Sox roster as he prepares for winter ball in his native Mexico. Paredes returned to his hometown of Hermosillo, Tigers vice president of player development Dave Littlefield told MLB.com.
“He has had a fine season in which he has competed at a high level in Double-A,” Littlefield said in a text message. “We wanted to see him compete and gain some more experience at the AZFL, and feel he’s ready to go home. He will take the next few weeks to rest, condition and rev up for some more at-bats in Obregon in the Mexican Winter League.”
The 20-year-old Paredes has played for Obregon in the Mexican Pacific League each of the previous two off-seasons. That was put on hold when he was selected as one of the Tigers' representatives to the AFL, allowing him to face some of baseball’s top prospects.
Paredes batted .208 (11-for-53) with two home runs, eight RBIs, 12 walks, 13 strikeouts and a .773 OPS. He hit a solo homer in his final AFL game to go with two walks and two runs scored. (J Beck - MLB.com - Oct 14, 2019)
MLB debut (Aug. 17, 2020): Paredes went 1-for-4, getting a bases-loaded single in the fourth to drive in the Tigers’ only two runs of the game. He also saw 21 pitches in those four plate appearances and didn’t strike out once. That’s consistent with his reputation as a batter with a good eye for the strike zone.
Isaac is one of six Mexican-born players to have made his Major League debut in 2020.
“There’s more talent coming,” Paredes told MLB.com in Spanish. “We’re going to see more players in the Major Leagues soon. We’re getting back to the era when we had stars, like Vinny Castilla and Fernando Valenzuela. Mexicans are eager to take advantage of this opportunity. They’re hungry to move baseball forward and give a greater name to our country. I’m so proud of my countrymen who are trying to complete this dream with me. It’s a privilege to be here in this position.”
Paredes grew up living with eight or nine people in the small Hermosillo home of his grandparents, Jesus Paredes and Gloria Arbizu, while his father traveled to work construction jobs in other areas of Mexico. Paredes played baseball and soccer, for reasons that transcended his love for the sports.
“I knew that in our country, sports are a way to help you avoid getting involved with vices like drugs,” he said. “In our city, we knew of people whose lives had been destroyed by drugs, and my grandmother and my father always taught me to never go near the streets where there were drugs. I had a beautiful childhood, and baseball and soccer were two of the big reasons.
“We’re a very united family. Despite some difficult times, my family always demonstrated to me that nothing was impossible. I also knew that life was a series of tests, and they taught me to work hard for what I wanted. We always had the support of friends and family. My aunts, uncles and cousins were always around, and they helped me, too.”
Paredes, 21, smiled during a recent video interview while speaking about the dreams he has for his 2-year-old daughter, Susuki, to be educated in the U.S. In Detroit, Paredes plays the position once held by the Gold Glove-winning Aurelio Rodríguez, whose 2,017 career Major League games are the most by a Mexican-born player.
In August 2020, Isaac made their Major League debut at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago. Paredes started at third base and drove in two runs in his first appearance for the Tigers on Aug. 17.
“I had a whirl of emotions in me,” González said. “I look back at how far I’ve come, how much I’ve accomplished, the things we’ve gone through as a family to get to where I am. All the sacrifices my parents have made, that I have made, it was all worth it.” (Morosi - mlb.com - 9/21/2020)
2020 Season: Paredes got off to a hot start that included a grand slam in Cleveland, then endured a long slump and then finished with a 10-game hit streak late in the season. His .220 average and .568 OPS weren't great, but he showed a mature approach at the plate for a 21-year-old. (Evan Woodbery - firstname.lastname@example.org - Oct. 23, 2020)
- 2021 Season: Paredes played 23 games for the Tigers and 72 games for Triple-A Toledo. He hit .208 in the majors with one home run, five RBIs, 10 walks and 11 strikeouts. For the Mud Hens, he hit .265 with 11 homers, 42 RBIs, 56 walks and 47 strikeouts.
Paredes has a .215 batting average, two homers, 11 RBIs, 18 walks and 35 strikeouts in his 57-game MLB career.
Feb., 2022: Isaac continued to showcase a patient approach in the Mexican Pacific League, drawing 37 walks against 20 strikeouts in 42 games. As a righthanded-hitting infielder who plays third base, second base and shortstop, his versatility and on-base ability could come in handy to a Tigers team that is beginning to turn the corner in its rebuild. (Matt Eddy - Baseball America - April, 2022)
July 2015: Paredes signed with the Cubs as a free agent, out of Mexico, for $800,000. He had been playing for the Mexico City Red Devils.
July 31, 2017: The Cubs acquired lefty reliever Justin Wlson and backup catcher Alex Avila from the Tigers. In return, the Cubs dipped into their farm system, sending top prospect Jeimer Candelario, Class A shortstop Isaac Paredes, and a player to be named later or cash to the Tigers.
- April 4, 2022: The Rays traded Austin Meadows to the Tigers for Isaac Paredes and a Competitive Balance Round B Pick.