The Jays Journal staff returns with our yearly Top 30 prospect rankings. The #17 spot goes to an exciting pitcher acquired in the Ken Giles trade last year.
When the Blue Jays traded star closer Roberto Osuna to the Houston Astros, the key piece coming back in the deal was Ken Giles. However, when it’s all said and done, David Paulino has the potential to be the most valuable player acquired.
- Name: David Paulino
- Position: SP/RP Age: 25
- Height: 6′ 7 Weight: 222 lbs
- Throws: Right Bats: Right
Acquired: Part of the return from the Houston Astros for Roberto Osuna.
Fangraphs Prospects Report (Current Value/Future Value)
Fastball: 55/55 Slider: 40/45
Curveball: 55/60 Changeup: 50/50
Command: 45/50 Future Value: 50
There’s no question about it, David Paulino has the raw ingredients to become a successful pitcher. Paulino’s pitch repertoire features four pitches. His fastball and curveball are his best offerings, with the former thrown in the 91-95 mph range with good downhill plane, and the latter acting as a true “out” pitch. The Dominican native also throws a changeup and slider that are serviceable but have room for improvement. Paulino can also command his pitches quite well, though he has yet to fully regain his confidence and acuity coming back from multiple injuries and a PED suspension.
Durability a Concern
Though there’s no doubt of Paulino’s talent, the one cause for concern is Paulino’s ability to stay on the field. Consider this list:
June 2012 – GCL Tigers transferred RHP David Paulino from the 7-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list.
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July 2013 – GCL Tigers placed RHP David Paulino on the 60-day disabled list.
June 2014 – GCL Astros placed RHP David Paulino on the 60-day disabled list.
October 2017 – Houston Astros placed RHP David Paulino on the 60-day disabled list. Bone spurs in right elbow.
Throughout his career, Paulino has dealt with various injuries, including elbow reconstruction in 2014 and elbow tendinitis in 2016. It’s clear that Paulino has a higher risk for injury as a starter, but this risk could be reduced through a role transition.
Impact Multi-Inning Reliever
While Paulino has prospect eligibility, he’s ready to contribute at the MLB level in 2019. And because he has the ability to throw multiple innings at a time, the Blue Jays should transition him full-time into the bullpen. His already great arsenal could play up even more in short bursts and the reliever role would allow the Blue Jays to strictly control his innings. Furthermore, the Blue Jays could look at Paulino as a candidate for the “opener,” should they choose to use that strategy. The role of the opener would let Paulino continue his comfortable routine as a starter while helping in the transition to the bullpen.
Whatever the case, David Paulino is a name that all Blue Jays fans should know. If he manages to stay healthy, Paulino might just be the best player from the Roberto Osuna package when it’s all said and done.