Detroit Tigers in winter leagues: Daz Cameron debuts, Isaac Paredes earns award

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Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press
·6 min read
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After Cangrejeros de Santurce backed out of the Puerto Rican Winter League, Detroit Tigers outfielder Daz Cameron was forced to join a new squad for the offseason.

He ended up with Indios de Mayagüez, one of the four teams playing, and made his debut Tuesday. The 23-year-old, who had to get permission to negotiate with other Puerto Rican teams, went 0-for-3 with one RBI and one strikeout in his team’s 2-0 victory against RA12.

Cameron made his MLB debut and played 17 games for the Tigers last season. He batted .193 (11-for-57) with two doubles, one triple and three RBIs. He had two walks and 19 strikeouts.

Last week in winter leagues: Sergio Alcantara stands out again

Paredes nearly ties longtime record

Third baseman Isaac Paredes — nicknamed ‘El Tigre’ — is leaving no doubt about his bat in the Mexican Pacific Winter League. For Venados de Mazatlán, the 21-year-old is 47-for-124 (.379) with 17 doubles, four homers and 26 RBIs.

He has 19 walks (and three intentional walks) to 11 strikeouts, with a .463 on-base percentage, a .613 slugging percentage and a 1.075 on-base plus slugging percentage.

[ How Detroit Tigers' Isaac Paredes was discovered in Mexico ]

Tigers third baseman Isaac Paredes runs past first base after hitting single against the Cubs during the fourth inning at Comerica Park on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020.
Tigers third baseman Isaac Paredes runs past first base after hitting single against the Cubs during the fourth inning at Comerica Park on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020.

On Thursday, Paredes went 3-for-3 with one double, one home run and four RBIs. The next day, he was 4-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs.

From Dec. 15 through Dec. 21, he registered at least one double in six straight games. He was one double away from tying the record (set by Jose Tolentino in the 1996-97 season) for consecutive games with at least one double. But he went 0-for-3 on Tuesday.

On Monday, Paredes was named the Mexican Pacific Winter League Player of the Week. During the five-game span, he logged a .550 batting average, 11 hits, seven doubles, one home run and seven RBIs.

[ Why Tigers like what Isaac Paredes is doing in winter league ]

He is the Tigers’ No. 6 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, and played in 34 MLB games last season. Paredes hit .220 (22-for-100) with one home run and six RBIs in his first big-league stint.

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Candelario, Alcantara slumping

Shortstop Sergio Alcantara — who made his MLB debut with 10 games last season — started strong for Tigres del Licey in the Dominican Winter League.

However, through Tuesday, he has fallen to 18-for-70 (.257) with two doubles, one triple, two home runs and eight RBIs in 23 games. He has eight walks to 21 strikeouts. Also, his defense is lacking.

Tigers third baseman Sergio Alcantara attempts to field a groundball against the Cardinals in the second inning in the second game of the doubleheader against the Cardinals on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, in St. Louis.
Tigers third baseman Sergio Alcantara attempts to field a groundball against the Cardinals in the second inning in the second game of the doubleheader against the Cardinals on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, in St. Louis.

In the field, Alcantara has six errors in 89 chances (.933 fielding percentage) at shortstop. He made a crucial mistake in a Dec. 16 clash with Toros del Este. The game was tied, 2-2, with two outs and runners on first and second base in the top of the eighth inning. Alcantara didn’t field the ball well, and then he threw wide of the first baseman. His error allowed the go-ahead run to score.

Toros del Este went on to win, 6-2.

Meanwhile, third baseman Jeimer Candelario — playing for Toros del Este — has 10 games under his belt in the Dominican Winter League. He is 5-for-37 (.135) with three doubles, four RBIs, four walks (and one intentional walk) and seven strikeouts. As the team’s third baseman, he has one error in 31 chances.

The 2020 Tiger of the Year, Candelario finished last season with a .297 batting average, 11 doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 29 RBIs in 52 games.

[ How Jeimer Candelario plans to build on breakthrough 2020 season ]

Big-league relievers

Left-hander Gregory Soto owns a 3.60 ERA and 1.200 WHIP in five games and five innings for Aguilas Cibaeñas in the Dominican Republic. The 25-year-old flamethrower has three strikeouts and one walk.

In 2020, Soto had a 4.30 ERA in 23 innings for the Tigers across 27 games. He recorded 29 strikeouts and 13 walks while consistently touching 100 mph with his fastball.

Detroit Tigers reliever Gregory Soto throws a pitch in the sixth inning vs. the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on Sunday, July 26, 2020.
Detroit Tigers reliever Gregory Soto throws a pitch in the sixth inning vs. the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on Sunday, July 26, 2020.

A veteran member of Detroit’s bullpen, righty Jose Cisnero is tossing for Gigantes del Cibao in the DR. He has a 5.40 ERA in four games (3⅓ innings) with two strikeouts and three walks. The 31-year-old was one of the most effective relievers for the Tigers last season. He had a 3.03 ERA, 34 strikeouts and 10 walks in 29 2/3 innings.

Right-hander Drew Carlton has a 0.63 ERA and 0.698 WHIP through 14 games (14⅓ innings) for Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Republic. The 25-year-old has one walk compared to 11 strikeouts. He pitched for Double-A Erie in 2019.

[ Tigers' Drew Carlton 'keeps having success' as MLB journey stops in Dominican Republic ]

ABL updates

Outfielder Ulrich Bojarski delivered a home run and four RBIs in Saturday’s win for Perth Heat in the Australian Baseball League, which began Dec. 17.

But his performance didn’t count.

The COVID-19 pandemic has corrupted the ABL this season, as there are travel restrictions in parts of the country. Because of postponed games, Perth competed in an exhibition game. That’s when Bojarski crushed his three-run homer Saturday against Brisbane’s Futures Team.

Through three official games, as of Monday, Bojarski is 1-for-11 (.091) with one double, one RBI, one walk and one strikeout.

For the Sydney Blue Sox, outfielder Cam Gibson is 2-for-9 (.222) with one double and one strikeout in two games. Fellow Blue Sox outfielder Jacob Robson is 1-for-6 (.167) with one double, two RBIs, one walk and two strikeouts.

[ Two outfielders from Tigers joining Manny Ramirez in Australia ]

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

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers in winter leagues: Isaac Paredes wins award