2017 IBI Top 75 Prospects: #52 Dorssys Paulino

Our 2017 countdown continues with a once highly regarded bat who struggled with injury last year but really finished the season strong and is still someone that fans should be keeping an eye on...

52. Dorssys Paulino – Outfielder

Born: 11/21/1994 – Height: 6’0” – Weight: 175 – Bats: Right – Throws: Right

Facts & Info: Paulino was signed by the Indians as an undrafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in July of 2011 for $1.1 million. His father Jesus Sanchez pitched in the big leagues for seven years from 1998-2004 with the Cubs, Marlins, Reds and Rockies, and is also a pitching coach for the Indians’ Dominican Summer League team.

Offense: Paulino is an offensive-oriented player who has put up some interesting numbers at a few of his minor league stops to date. He has a very efficient, simple swing that has a smooth load and is short and compact which he repeats well. He has some good hand-eye coordination and a good bat path through the zone and some above average bat speed that allows him to consistently spray line drives all over the field. There is a natural feel for hitting and for finding the barrel, and when combined with some quick, strong hands and overall strength allows him to drive balls into the gaps with authority and show average power. His approach is advanced as he works counts, is aggressive attacking fastballs, recognizes spin well and does a good job of limiting chase. He uses a whole field approach and is at his best when he is working the ball to the off gap.

Defense: Paulino was originally scouted and signed as a shortstop, but after a few inconsistent seasons at the position he was moved to the outfield. He just lacked the consistency with his fielding, range and throwing accuracy to stick at shortstop, so the Indians moved him to the outfield shortly into the 2014 season. The outfield was something that was always in play for him because he had experience there as an amateur and actually worked out as an outfielder and infielder for the Indians, so they always knew the outfield would be a possible destination if shortstop didn’t work out for him. The Indians have worked with him to pick up all of the nuances of playing in the outfield, and he has made some strides over the three seasons he has played there and gained more comfort for the position, but he is still a below average defender there. The athleticism, good lateral quickness and above average arm he had at shortstop all work well for him in the outfield, but he lacks much speed or range and has trouble tracking balls.

Speed & Intangibles: Paulino only has average speed, but his athleticism and quickness helps play that speed up at times – especially on the bases where he shows the ability to steal the occasional base. He’s had some makeup and focus issues he has had to overcome that plagued him early in his career, but he has done a nice job in recent seasons of being more mature with his work and has been humbled some by the struggles he has had with consistency over the last few seasons.

Focus: The biggest obstacle for Paulino is his mental approach to the game and is the main thing the Indians have worked on the last two years and will continue to work on this season. Scouts and non-Indians personnel from other organizations have often referred to him as a lazy player because they just don’t like his body language and actions when they see him play. The Indians themselves don’t necessarily feel this way, but they have challenged him to take a more mature approach to the game and improve his focus and discipline. They have worked with him to have a better willingness to be coached and to be open-minded about making adjustments, something that finally took hold at the midpoint of the 2015 season. The Indians have also worked with him to develop a better routine to his daily work and preparation and also with his plans when he steps up to the plate. The defense and bat could also use improvement, but the belief is there is not a lot of upside to him in either area. The Indians have worked with him to be more on time at the plate and in a better position where he is more in sync and able to more consistently show all of the great attributes of his swing. Defensively, he needs to keep working to be better at picking the ball up after contact, get better jumps and take better routes to balls.

Future: Paulino had a 2016 season that was really split into two parts. In the first part, he suffered a broken hamate bone in his left hand in May which he played through initially since he wasn’t sure what the injury was and it ended up hurting his numbers as he hit .235 with 1 HR, 11 RBI and .639 OPS in 27 games with High-A Lynchburg. He finally went on the disabled list on May 13th and had surgery to correct the issue and it forced him out of the lineup for almost two months. After a brief rehab stint in Arizona, he returned to Lynchburg on August 2nd and hit well for the rest of the season hitting .330 with 5 HR, 20 RBI and .950 OPS in 28 games. Not only did the clean bill of health help him get back to being the productive player many have come to know him to be, but the time on the shelf recovering from the surgery allowed him an opportunity to slow things down and put things in perspective. Coaches raved how he looked refreshed and like a new person when he returned to Lynchburg, and not surprisingly, the performance followed. His days as a high level prospect are all but gone because of his limitations defensively and the lack of real big production potential with the bat, but he’s still an interesting prospect who has a knack for hitting balls hard, consistently driving balls into the gaps and brings some versatility as a fielder. He’s another fringy prospect who needs to have a big 2017 to reignite the interest in him and the belief the bat will play even as a defensive challenged left fielder. He should open the season with a return to High-A Lynchburg, but if he stays healthy and is consistent with his performance he could see a good amount of time at Double-A Akron.

Ranking History: #44 (2016), #45 (2015), #11 (2014), #3 (2013)

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