Get to know the man with the sweet swing

ST. PETERSBURG — Isaac Paredes made his mark last week with his record-breaking power show, tying the Rays’ team record by homering three times in a game, becoming the first in their 25-season history to do so in four consecutive at-bats. And by homer in a third straight game on Saturday, he became the second with Brandon Lowe to hit at least five in three games.

That would be an impressive outburst for any player, but even more so for one who is 23 years old, has played in his 88th, 89th and 90th big league games and had hit a total of seven previous homers (five of which were early this season).

Here are five things you should know about Paredes:

trading places

Isaac Paredes traded to the Rays for Austin Meadows from Detroit. [ JOSE JUAREZ | Associated Press (2021) ]

Paredes was first signed by the Cubs for $800,000 in July 2015 at the age of 16 and was in the middle of his second pro season when he was first traded. He was sent to the Tigers with promising candidate Jeimer Candelario in exchange for two Pennant Race pickups, catcher Alex Avila and emergency responder Justin Wilson.

That experience helped in the final days of spring training, when Paredes made a surprise move to the Rays for Austin Meadows, along with a competitive balance round draft pick. While Meadows was obviously the bigger name, Paredes (until Saturday afternoon) has the better stats:

Meadows (over 36 games): 128 AB, 32 hits, 9 runs, 0 hours, 11 RBIs, .250 BA, .347 OBP, .328 SLG, .675 OPS

Paredes (over 33 games): 95 AB, 22 hits, 17 runs, 10 hours, 20 RBIs, .232 BA, .288 OBP, .579 SLG, .867 OPS

Impressive company

CAPTION: (St. Petersburg, FL.--07/04/06) Jonny Gomes slides home in the 8th inning with a Ty Wiggington single.  STAFF PHOTO-JAMES BORCHUCK STORY SUMMARY: Tampa Bay Devil Rays vs. Boston Red Sox (Times Photo by JAMES BORCHUCK)
CAPTION: (St. Petersburg, FL.–07/04/06) Jonny Gomes slides home in the 8th inning with a Ty Wiggington single. STAFF PHOTO-JAMES BORCHUCK STORY SUMMARY: Tampa Bay Devil Rays vs. Boston Red Sox (Times Photo by JAMES BORCHUCK) [ BORCHUCK, JAMES | St. Petersburg Times ]

Paredes became the sixth Rays player to homer three times in a game and the first to do so by the fifth inning. He joined a list of household names:

• Jonny Gomes: July 30, 2005 vs. Royals

• Evan Longoria: September 18, 2008, vs. Gemini

• BJ Upton: September 9, 2012 v Rangers

• Evan Longoria: Oct. 3, 2012 vs. Orioles

• Travis d’Arnaud: July 15, 2019 with the Yankees

• Brandon Lowe: October 2, 2021 with the Yankees

• Isaac Paredes: June 21, 2022 vs. Yankees

Paredes became the fifth Mexican player, after Bobby Avila (1951), Vinny Castilla (1999, 2001), Erubiel Duraza (2002, 2004), to hit three home runs in a game (according to baseball-reference.com data going into the year dating back 1901). Christian Villanueva (2018).

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Since the White Sox’s Jose Abreu on Aug. 22-23, 2020, Paredes became the first big-league player to home in four straight at-bats (he was hit by a pitch for the fourth time on Tuesday). And he was the first to do so against the Yankees (and the second in at least 60 years) since Bo Jackson (July 17, 1990 – April 9, 1993).

personal affairs

Bobby Smith high-fives Vinny Castilla after Castilla hit a three-run homer during a 2001 Devil Rays game.
Bobby Smith high-fives Vinny Castilla after Castilla hit a three-run homer during a 2001 Devil Rays game. [ Times (2001) ]

His name is pronounced eez-ACK puh-RAY-dehs. And although his name is Paredes, his full name is Isaac Edgardo Paredes Calderon. … He has two brothers and a sister and was raised by his grandparents and his mother and father. … Paredes grew up in Hermosillo, in the northwestern Mexican state of Sonora, where soccer was the more popular sport, and said “we would need a lot more time to describe what it was like growing up there.” … He said he was “very proud” to represent Mexico at the majors and considers Vinny Castilla, the former Ray, to be one of his idols. … Another idol is wrestler John Cena, from whom he borrowed the celebratory gesture of waving his hand in front of his face.

A romantic side?

Paredes has one of the most interesting walkup songs on the team, De Los Besos Que Te Di, by popular Mexican artist Christian Nodal. The song is somewhat romantic and is about a discussion between former lovers, the title can be translated as “the kisses I gave you”.

Paredes said his election wasn’t about the words. “I picked it because it’s a classic Mexican song,” he said of team interpreter Manny Navarro. “I was hoping that when the fans here hear it, because it’s a Latin singer, they’d have a connection.” So is he a romantic at heart? “It could be me,” Paredes said.

Achievements on the field

Isaac Paredes grimaces on his Rays debut in the third inning against the Twins on May 1st.
Isaac Paredes grimaces on his Rays debut in the third inning against the Twins on May 1st.
[ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

He made his major league debut on August 17, 2020; got his first hit that day (a two-run single by Gio Gonzalez of the White Sox); hit a grand slam for his first homer (before Cleveland’s Adam Plutko) on August 21. … He played in the 2019 All-Star Futures Game, alongside Wander Franco and against Luis Patino. … He made All-Star teams in three of his four full seasons in the minor league. … He has impressed the Rays with his maturity. “He can seem to slow down the game,” said manager Kevin Cash. “He processes what he wants to do on the plate. He processes when balls are hit to him and how he wants to go about catching a ball, the footwork required, being aware of the situation of the game and being mindful. It’s pretty cool to see young players doing that.”

rays growls

With their first series of the season starting Thursday in Toronto and requiring vaccinations to enter Canada, the Rays will likely be without a player or two. …Ji-Man Choi ordered Winix Plasma Wave Air Purifiers as a gift for all Rays players and coaches. Why? “Because he’s a good teammate,” said Brett Phillips. … Interesting timing for the Rays’ Faith Day event on Saturday, the same day as the St. Pete Pride parade. … Third baseman Yandy Diaz didn’t mishandle Josh Donaldson’s 99-mile line ride on Wednesday; It broke the webbing of his 44 brand glove and was repaired by Navarro, the multi-talented interpreter and batting practice thrower. … MLB.com’s latest sham has the Rays using the #29 pick against Robby Snelling, the high school leftist from Reno, Nevada, on July 17; Baseball America and The Athletic have her on the left Brandon Barriera of American Heritage High in South Florida. … The Rays’ handling of their Pride Night on June 4 remains an occasional topic of conversation around the game. Mets outfielder Mark Canha told SNY-TV’s Andy Martino that he’s “probably in the minority” as an LGBTQ+ ally in any major league clubhouse and that “the situation at Rays doesn’t really surprise me.” It is what it is.” … Rewarding moment for pitcher David Hess on Tuesday as he pitched an inning for Triple-A Durham, completing his return from a battle with a cancerous germ cell tumor. … Class A Bowling Green won his title in the first half of the South Atlantic League. The Rays have afternoon starts five out of six days starting Wednesday, including holiday matinees on Friday (Canada Day) and July 4 in Boston, plus the split doubleheader on Saturday (12:07 p.m. and 6:07 p.m p.m.). … The Shane Baz move is on a list of pitches that should be thrown more often, according to The Athletic’s stats champion Eno Sarris.

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