The Jimmy Paredes show rolled on in Baltimore last night. The Orioles’ designated hitter, in the midst of a breakout season at 26, went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs. He drove in the first two runs of the night for the Orioles as they went onto erase a 2-0 deficit and down the Texas Rangers 4-2. Paredes, who entered the year with a grand total of five home runs and 40 RBIs in parts of four Major League seasons has already doubled that home run total has nearly equaled his career RBI total with 38.
The 26-year-old journeyman infielder/outfielder/designated hitter now ranks fifth in the American League with a .319 batting average, is sniffing the top-ten in slugging at .520, and is batting a ridiculous .457 with runners in scoring position. With two outs, his average with runners in scoring position rockets to .667. His clutch performance with runners on base helps him rank third in the team in RBI behind only Chris Davis and Manny Machado. He does all this while playing with a reckless abandon, swinging from the heels, and chasing way more curveballs in the dirt than he should.
All of that, of course, leads to the question posed in the headline of this article. Is Jimmy Paredes deserving of an All-Star berth on the American League roster?
He is certainly deserving of being in the conversation. Thanks to the league’s balloting process, however, he has very little chance. Paredes’ name does not show up on the ballot despite the fact that he is right up there with Nelson Cruz, Kendrys Morales, and Alex Rodriguez in terms of pure production. If ever there was a case to be made for a more dynamic balloting process, Jimmy Paredes is Exhibit A, and a strong candidate to be included in the Final Vote.
Paredes likely loses out to the other three candidates due to his more limited playing time. He has appeared in only 59 of the Orioles’ 78 games. Cruz has played 76, Morales 75, and Rodriguez 74. On a per game basis, though, Paredes has been wildly more productive than the others, save Cruz. Nearly 20 games down on the rest of the group, Paredes has driven in only seven fewer than Rodriguez and has equaled Morales’ home run output. Had he played in more than nine games in April — worth noting that he drove in nine in the process — Paredes would likely receive an All-Star nod.
Jimmy Paredes is unlikely to make the American League All-Star roster this season. That is no poor reflection on his amazing season. It is hard to top Nelson Cruz and his 20 home runs and .307/.370/.557 line despite playing half of his games in Safeco Field. Paredes may not be an All-Star, but that does not diminish his value to the Baltimore Orioles this season. The Orioles have made a habit of unearthing hidden gems the past four years, but in Paredes, they may have actually unearthed a real star. All-Star or not, it has been a treat to watch Jimmy Paredes play this season, and he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.