Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 2/21/1993 (2014 Opening Day Age: 21)
Acquired: Amateur Free Agent, 2009
Ranking History: #47 (2011), #7 (2012), #23 (2013), #45 (2014)
Background: A high priority international signing in 2009, Paulino was all projection at the outset of his career. He posted a 3.88 ERA in 46-1/3 innings during his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2010. He broke out and put himself on the prospect map with a 2.36 ERA in 45-2/3 innings during his stateside debut in 2011 with the Gulf Coast League Tigers. He allowed just 34 hits and 18 walks that summer, while striking out 45 batters and showing impressive arm strength.
Did not play in 2012 or 2013; injured.
Body: Long; lean; good wiry strength; lots of arms and legs; projectable frame with average shoulders and some room to add strength; multiple (two) shoulder surgeries leave physical durability in question.
Delivery/Mechanics: Inconsistent; lots of arms and legs to control; has variability from rocker step to balance point; frequently off balance throughout; arm slot changes as rest of delivery changes; landing foot is inconsistent; mechanics needed considerable work before surgery and no idea how to tell where they will be when he returns to the mound; delivery could push player to bullpen.
Fastball: Pre-injury showed easy 93-95 with consistency; flashed 97-98 on occasion; very good life on pitch; can blow it by hitters in any part of the zone; excellent angle thanks to length; FB jumps at hitters when he maintains full extension out front; can appear faster than radar gun readings; more in the tank with additional strength; potential 7 pitch; unknown whether velocity will return after multiple surgeries; pre-injury velocity/grade projection. Grade – Present 6/Future 7
Curveball:Lacks consistency; occasional feel to spin; mechanical inconsistency thwarted CB development; potential above-average pitch when on top and showing consistent arm slot; didn't miss bats pre-injury but had potential as reasonable second offering. Grade – 3+/5
Changeup: Rarely used in stateside debut; too firm; often overthrown; gets a little true; needs to trust grip and let it fly; decidedly third pitch; feel wasn't coming at end of 2011 season; may never develop feel to throw pitch consistently; well below-average with minimal projection thanks to poor feel for craft. Grade – 3/4
Control/Command: Lots of work required; delivery/mechanics can be a mess; hinders ability to find strike zone; control must come first and was well below-average pre-injury; command projection impossible without some idea of the strike zone; very much a thrower rather than pitcher; big developmental hurdle.
Other: Two shoulder surgeries to repair torn labrum on resume; two consecutive missed seasons; decent athlete; finer points of the game are extremely raw; needs time on the field; some makeup concerns expressed at times; unclear whether the player really wants it.
Summary: Arm strength is evident; potential 7 FB; can dominate hitters with FB when on; CB potential to be average at with development; CH unlikely to be a factor; control is questionable; little chance command is developed; multiple surgeries and lost developmental time; makeup concerns; lots of variables in developmental path.
Risk: Extreme risk; two shoulder surgeries; missed the last two seasons; no experience outside of complex leagues; makeup questions.
Projection: Lack of overall feel eliminates future in rotation; arm strength allows for some bullpen projection; control problems limit high leverage roles; likely 8th inning ceiling; high flameout potential; would rank higher if not for injury history and plethora of unknowns.
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