David Paulino Making His Case To Be A Top Prospect
While already garnering national attention on top prospect lists, David Paulino is making a great case to be even higher after his start to the 2016 season.
Paulino was acquired by the Astros in the trade that sent Jose Veras to the Tigers in 2013. Paulino was the PTBNL in that deal. At the time, the Astros were getting a very raw, very young starting pitcher. Paulino had only thrown 24 innings stateside prior to the trade. Credit to Astros scout in Florida, Alex Jacobs, who saw enough in Paulino to believe he was worth taking a shot on.
Paulino was recovering from Tommy John Surgery when he was traded and ended up missing the entire 2014 season because of it. Finally healthy, and ready to show the Astros what he could do, he started the 2015 with Tri-City. He only pitched 9.1 innings in the NYPL striking out 10 before being promoted to full season, Quad Cities.
He made five starts for Quad Cities posting a 1.57 ERA with 7 BB/32 K in 28.2 innings. This was enough for the Astros to give him another challenge and promote him to Lancaster. He posted a 4.91 ERA but had great peripherals with 10 BB/30 K in 29.1 innings. He finished with a combined record of 5-3, 2.81 ERA, 67.1 IP, 19 BB, 72 K in 2015.
His performance in 2015 brought him some attention and got him on a few top prospect lists. Baseball America ranked him the #91 prospect Pre-2016 and MLB had him just outside the top 100. The Astros also decided to add him to the 40-man roster, protecting him from the Rule 5 Draft.
Paulino was assigned to Corpus Christi to start 2016 and he has dominated there. He is currently 3-2 with a 1.73 ERA, 52 IP, 39 H, 11 BB, 60 K, 10.4 K/9, 5.4 K/BB. The 6’7″ right hander has his fastball hitting 97 MPH consistently sitting in the mid 90s. He mixes that with a big curveball and does a great job attacking hitters.
He also has a 1.96 FIP, which better indicates how well he has pitched. In his 48 innings this season he has allowed just 2 HR, and only 4 HR allowed in his MiLB career. Paulino has also been very impressive versus MLB’s top prospects. According to MLB Farm, he has held MLB Top 20 prospects to a .207 BA with 38 K in 127 at bats.
From a PTBNL in a trade for a relief pitcher, to a prospect who could be one of the best in baseball. Paulino has worked hard and seen his stock rise like not many have. If he continues at this pace, he could be on the short list for a call-up to help Houston this season.
**Photo Credit: Tammy Tucker**