Baltimore Orioles slugger Jimmy Parades had another impressive game with two hits, including a home run and four RBIs. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
I'm not sure what's left to say about Jimmy Paredes this month, except that the longer you watch him, the more you have to think this is more than just a random hot streak.
Paredes, 26, had two hits, including a home run, and four RBIs on Tuesday in the Orioles' 9-4 win over the Seattle Mariners.
He is now 36-for-104 (.346) in 25 games this season and is just shy of qualifying for -- and leading -- the American League batting race. He should be able to qualify by Thursday or Friday if he plays full games.
He has hit safely in 22 of 25 games this year and extended his on-base streak to 20 games Tuesday. He's second on the Orioles in RBIs (22) to Adam Jones' 25 and only Chris Davis has more homers (eight) than Paredes (Jones and Manny Machado also have six).
What has been most impressive about Paredes, in my mind, is how well he covers the plate with his bat. He is smashing pitches way outside, he's slapping pitches on the inside corner and he's getting pieces of breaking balls in the dirt to keep at-bats alive.
He crowds the plate from either box and has been effective from both sides.
Here's what Seattle's Danny Farquhar had to say about the home run Paredes hit against him: "I think it was like a foot off the plate, but it was up. And he kind of stands on the plate. I guess that's the middle to him."
And here's what Seattle's Taijuan Walker said about Paredes' two-run single: "I thought it was a pretty good pitch. I looked at video, and it looked like it was off the plate pretty good, too. I threw a fastball up and in to get him off the plate. It was just a good piece of hitting."
That's the thing with Paredes. He seems to keep the bat head around the middle of the plate longer than most hitters. I've heard him compared to Robinson Cano and Miguel Tejada in that aspect, and that's some pretty good company.
The name Vladimir Guerrero was kicked around, too, but Vlady was the ultimate bad-ball thrasher. This guy is seemingly hitting good pitches all over the ballpark.
Guerrero and Cano were both phenoms; Paredes isn't exactly an overnight sensation. He is with his fifth organization. He has been traded twice (technically, anyway) and waived three times, including once by the Orioles. He was traded by his original organization, the New York Yankees, in the Lance Berkman deal with Houston, and the Orioles sort of traded for him, sending cash to the Kansas City Royals last July.
There's no question he could hit -- he's batted nearly .290 in the majors and hit .302 for the Orioles in 18 games last year before tearing up spring training this March.
But this? Potentially leading the league in hitting if he gets a few more plate appearances over the next few days?
"Darn, I was going to sit him tomorrow. I guess I've got to play him. You never know," joked Showalter. "We've seen so many guys do good things in spring training and the season starts and it doesn't happen for them. We've seen guys that struggle like heck in the spring and then the season starts and the light goes on.
"Jimmy was not only trying to make the club and be a part of this, but he knows how you stay here because he's been down this road before. He's not playing like a guy that's out of options. He knows. I think he likes it here and he knows we like what he brings."