PLAINFIELD CHARTER TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The eyes of the Detroit Tigers organization have been on Izaac Pacheco for quite some time now.
Detroit’s No. 12 prospect on the MLB pipeline started to make his way up the ladder of the minor league last summer when he was moved to the Whitecaps in August.
After hitting an impressive .267 with eight home runs and 38 RBI in 88 games in Lakeland, he struggled in West Michigan with the bat. He hit just .187 and struck out 17 times with nine walks in 18 games. However, in that short stretch, Pacheco hit three home runs.
While he didn’t homer with the Tigers in his second spring training, he did go 3-for-6 in limited at-bats with two walks. It brought some attention to the young infielder.
“It was really cool to compete against some of the guys that you looked up to your whole life,” Pacheco said of playing MLB players in the spring. “It wasn’t as nerve-racking as it was my first spring training, my feet felt a little more wet. It was fun and exciting.”
Now eight games into the young 2023 season with the Whitecaps, his average still sits at just .207 but one thing is keeping the eyes on Pacheco: he’s already homered three times, all of which came in the last three games.
His power seems to be translating well at each level he’s played at in his young career.
“It’s definitely a faster game (in high-A baseball) than it is in Lakeland,” Pacheco said. “The pitching is a lot better and they attack you differently. I’ve been figuring out how they attack me and what I need to work on to get to those pitches they have on me. So I’ve been attacking my weaknesses.”
So far, it’s working and he’s helped the Whitecaps get off to a 6-2 start. But more importantly, he’s showing the power in his swing the Tigers hoped he would have in 2021 when he was drafted 39th overall in the second round.
After playing much of last season in Florida, starting this season with the High-A ball club gives Pacheco a chance to take his baseball life a little slower and work on his hitting mechanics every day.
Last season was his first real chance to feel what it was like playing meaningful baseball at a professional level as the Whitecaps came just short of making the playoffs in 2022.
“It was a fun environment (at LMCU Ballpark) last summer when I was here,” Pacheco said. “Everyone wants to win and it’s fun to be with this group from the start and try to compete.”
In the last three games against the Lansing Lugnuts that Pacheco homered, none of them were cheap. His first on Friday was a deep shot left-center field and the other two carried the large wall in center field at Jackson Field.
Of course, power-hitting is now new to the 20-year-old. He’s been clobbering baseballs since his days at Friendswood High School in Texas. It’s just been adjustments he’s been working on every season since being drafted that have tried to make him a more complete hitter.
While he hasn’t changed much with his swing in the offseason, he feels a simpler approach will continue to help his swing overall, not just to continue hitting for power.
“It’s all about trying to be consistent every day,” Pacheco said. “A couple of bad games doesn’t call for a huge adjustment, I need to trust what I did in the offseason and know that it worked then and stick with that. If I do make adjustments, make it a minor one at most during the season.”
If he keeps hitting the ball out of the yard, any major adjustments won’t be on the mind of Pacheco. It’ll only keep the spotlight on him.