Scouting Mets' Prospect #34: Robert Paulk

The New York Mets drafted right-handed pitcher Robert Paulk in the 24th round of the 2002 MLB Draft out of North Florida Junior College. Possessing one of the best curveballs in the Mets' farm system, Paulk ranks #34 among the Top 50 Mets' Prospects. Here's a scouting report on Robert Paulk.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Robert Paulk
Position: Relief Pitcher
DOB: March 14, 1981
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 175
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Ask Mike Cameron, Cliff Floyd or Doug Mientkiewicz: Summers in St. Lucie aren't exactly the most ideal vacation destination.

Over the last two years, those major league Mets have begged and pleaded, kicking and screaming, not to be sent to the Florida State League on rehab assignments.

Just imagine, then, how elated minor league pitcher Robert Paulk was to escape after six full months of rehab under the sun, his 'parole' granted to join the Brooklyn Cyclones up north.

The New York-Penn League was a step back for Paulk, who spent all of 2004 with St. Lucie, but KeySpan Park must have looked like an oasis to the 24-year-old righthander.

"I'd been [in Florida] since Feb. 1st, and it was starting to wear on me a little bit," Paulk said. "It was getting monotonous, but that's the kind of stuff you have to go through. You have to put the bad with the good."

After having his right labrum cleaned up in a January procedure, Paulk left no doubt about his ability to challenge professional hitters, going 4-0 with a 0.95 ERA in 14 appearances with the Cyclones and averaging more than one strikeout per inning.

"I didn't mind," Paulk said. "I knew they wanted me to come back and make sure I was all right. I feel like I'm throwing well again. I worked my butt off in Florida, so I felt like I was strong and ready to go."

With the Cyclones, Paulk – a 24th round selection from North Florida Junior College in the 2002 draft – felt like something of an elder statesman, sharing a clubhouse mostly comprised of players fresh out of the June draft.

Being able to impart some advice to the Brooklyn kids was a fringe benefit for Paulk, but the most rewarding piece of the experience was firing strikes without discomfort.

Paulk had started to feel twinges and small tweaks near the end of his 2004 season with St. Lucie, an overall successful campaign in which he went 8-6 with a 3.70 ERA in 31 appearances (10 starts).

"There were nagging pains," Paulk recalls. "I could have [pitched] through it, probably, but I wouldn't have had my best stuff. There's no point in letting your numbers suffer if you don't have your best stuff. I'd be kicking myself in the butt now."

His third tour of duty at Brooklyn complete, Paulk sees his 2006 campaign beginning in New York again, but slightly upstate – Paulk hopes to finally make the jump to Double-A Binghamton, where he's been told he has a significant chance of making the B-Mets' bullpen.

"I feel like I'll be able to handle it," Paulk said.

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2005

Brooklyn

4-0

4

19.0

16

10

21

0.95

2005

GCL

0-0

0

3.0

4

0

1

0.00

2004

St. Lucie

8-6

3

92.1

111

23

60

3.70

2003

St. Lucie

1-1

0

2.0

3

2

3

13.50

2003

Capital City

2-1

7

29.0

22

17

23

1.55

2003

Brooklyn

1-1

15

32.0

18

10

38

2.53

2002

Brooklyn

3-0

1

18.2

27

5

17

4.82

2002

Kingsport

1-3

1

21.2

26

8

19

2.91



Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup, Slider.

Other Pitches. Paulk's bread and butter is his devastating curveball, which currently serves as his best out pitch. He throws a power curve in the 77-79 MPH range with a big loop that sweeps over the plate, tailing away from right-handed batters and in on lefties. He compliments his fastball and curveball with a solid slider that sits 84-86 MPH and he'll occasionally mix in a changeup around 80 MPH. As a reliever, he seldom goes to the changeup and is more of a three-pitch pitcher when coming out of the bullpen.

Pitching. Paulk's extensive repertoire had the Mets trying his hand at starting some games for the St. Lucie Mets in 2004. However, his labrum injury and more importantly, his value as a solid setup man and closer, ended those thoughts when he returned to the mound in 2005. He uses his Major League fastball to set up his curveball and slider. And when opposing batters are sitting on the curve, Paulk has enough juice in his fastball to blow it by hitters. Paulk has a closer's mentality and he's very good in the pressure situations.

Projection. It is pretty certain that Paulk's days as a starter are now well behind him. Paulk, while possessing above average stuff for a closer at the minor league level, projects to be more of a setup man at the Major League level. He doesn't have the blazing fastball of a Billy Wagner or Armando Benitez, but with his tremendous secondary pitches, his fastball has the appearance of being harder than it actually is. Paulk projects to be a solid setup man, akin to Aaron Heilman with the Mets in 2005, only his main pitch will be the curveball instead of the changeup.

ETA. 2007. Don't let Paulk's time with Brooklyn in 2005 cloud his timetable. Paulk was sent to Brooklyn for a change of scenery and to help bolster the Brooklyn Cyclones' bullpen. He should have probably seen significant time in AA-Binghamton last season and it should be his destination in 2006. From there, Paulk isn't too far from Shea Stadium. Barring anymore serious injuries, Paulk could see some ample time with the Mets in 2007.

Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Robert Paulk
\r\nPosition: Relief Pitcher
\r\nDOB: March 14, 1981
\r\nHeight: 5'11\"
\r\nWeight: 175
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\nAsk Mike Cameron, Cliff Floyd or Doug Mientkiewicz: Summers in St. Lucie aren't exactly the most ideal vacation destination.\r\n

\r\nOver the last two years, those major league Mets have begged and pleaded, kicking and screaming, not to be sent to the Florida State League on rehab assignments. \r\n

\r\nJust imagine, then, how elated minor league pitcher Robert Paulk was to escape after six full months of rehab under the sun, his 'parole' granted to join the Brooklyn Cyclones up north.\r\n

\r\nThe New York-Penn League was a step back for Paulk, who spent all of 2004 with St. Lucie, but KeySpan Park must have looked like an oasis to the 24-year-old righthander. \r\n

\r\n\"I'd been [in Florida] since Feb. 1st, and it was starting to wear on me a little bit,\" Paulk said. \"It was getting monotonous, but that's the kind of stuff you have to go through. You have to put the bad with the good.\"\r\n

\r\nAfter having his right labrum cleaned up in a January procedure, Paulk left no doubt about his ability to challenge professional hitters, going 4-0 with a 0.95 ERA in 14 appearances with the Cyclones and averaging more than one strikeout per inning. \r\n

\r\n\"I didn't mind,\" Paulk said. \"I knew they wanted me to come back and make sure I was all right. I feel like I'm throwing well again. I worked my butt off in Florida, so I felt like I was strong and ready to go.\" \r\n

\r\nWith the Cyclones, Paulk – a 24th round selection from North Florida Junior College in the 2002 draft – felt like something of an elder statesman, sharing a clubhouse mostly comprised of players fresh out of the June draft. \r\n

\r\nBeing able to impart some advice to the Brooklyn kids was a fringe benefit for Paulk, but the most rewarding piece of the experience was firing strikes without discomfort.\r\n

\r\nPaulk had started to feel twinges and small tweaks near the end of his 2004 season with St. Lucie, an overall successful campaign in which he went 8-6 with a 3.70 ERA in 31 appearances (10 starts).\r\n

\r\n\"There were nagging pains,\" Paulk recalls. \"I could have [pitched] through it, probably, but I wouldn't have had my best stuff. There's no point in letting your numbers suffer if you don't have your best stuff. I'd be kicking myself in the butt now.\"\r\n

\r\nHis third tour of duty at Brooklyn complete, Paulk sees his 2006 campaign beginning in New York again, but slightly upstate – Paulk hopes to finally make the jump to Double-A Binghamton, where he's been told he has a significant chance of making the B-Mets' bullpen. \r\n

\r\n\"I feel like I'll be able to handle it,\" Paulk said.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n

Year

Team

W-L

\r\n

\r\n SV

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2005

\r\n

\r\n Brooklyn

\r\n

\r\n 4-0

\r\n

\r\n 4

\r\n

\r\n 19.0

\r\n

\r\n 16

\r\n

\r\n 10

\r\n

\r\n 21

\r\n

\r\n 0.95

2005

\r\n

\r\n GCL

\r\n

\r\n 0-0

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 3.0

\r\n

\r\n 4

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 0.00

2004

\r\n

\r\n St. Lucie

\r\n

\r\n 8-6

\r\n

\r\n 3

\r\n

\r\n 92.1

\r\n

\r\n 111

\r\n

\r\n 23

\r\n

\r\n 60

\r\n

\r\n 3.70

\r\n

\r\n 2003

\r\n

\r\n St. Lucie

\r\n

\r\n 1-1

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 2.0

\r\n

\r\n 3

\r\n

\r\n 2

\r\n

\r\n 3

\r\n

\r\n 13.50

\r\n

\r\n 2003

\r\n

\r\n Capital City

\r\n

\r\n 2-1

\r\n

\r\n 7

\r\n

\r\n 29.0

\r\n

\r\n 22

\r\n

\r\n 17

\r\n

\r\n 23

\r\n

\r\n 1.55

\r\n

\r\n 2003

\r\n

\r\n Brooklyn

\r\n

\r\n 1-1

\r\n

\r\n 15

\r\n

\r\n 32.0

\r\n

\r\n 18

\r\n

\r\n 10

\r\n

\r\n 38

\r\n

\r\n 2.53

\r\n

\r\n 2002

\r\n

\r\n Brooklyn

\r\n

\r\n 3-0

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 18.2

\r\n

\r\n 27

\r\n

\r\n 5

\r\n

\r\n 17

\r\n

\r\n 4.82

\r\n

\r\n 2002

\r\n

\r\n Kingsport

\r\n

\r\n 1-3

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 21.2

\r\n

\r\n 26

\r\n

\r\n 8

\r\n

\r\n 19

\r\n

\r\n 2.91


\r\n
\r\nRepertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup, Slider.
\r\n
\r\nOther Pitches. Paulk's bread and butter is his devastating curveball, which currently serves as his best out pitch. He throws a power curve in the 77-79 MPH range with a big loop that sweeps over the plate, tailing away from right-handed batters and in on lefties. He compliments his fastball and curveball with a solid slider that sits 84-86 MPH and he'll occasionally mix in a changeup around 80 MPH. As a reliever, he seldom goes to the changeup and is more of a three-pitch pitcher when coming out of the bullpen.
\r\n
\r\nPitching. Paulk's extensive repertoire had the Mets trying his hand at starting some games for the St. Lucie Mets in 2004. However, his labrum injury and more importantly, his value as a solid setup man and closer, ended those thoughts when he returned to the mound in 2005. He uses his Major League fastball to set up his curveball and slider. And when opposing batters are sitting on the curve, Paulk has enough juice in his fastball to blow it by hitters. Paulk has a closer's mentality and he's very good in the pressure situations.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. It is pretty certain that Paulk's days as a starter are now well behind him. Paulk, while possessing above average stuff for a closer at the minor league level, projects to be more of a setup man at the Major League level. He doesn't have the blazing fastball of a Billy Wagner or Armando Benitez, but with his tremendous secondary pitches, his fastball has the appearance of being harder than it actually is. Paulk projects to be a solid setup man, akin to Aaron Heilman with the Mets in 2005, only his main pitch will be the curveball instead of the changeup.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2007. Don't let Paulk's time with Brooklyn in 2005 cloud his timetable. Paulk was sent to Brooklyn for a change of scenery and to help bolster the Brooklyn Cyclones' bullpen. He should have probably seen significant time in AA-Binghamton last season and it should be his destination in 2006. From there, Paulk isn't too far from Shea Stadium. Barring anymore serious injuries, Paulk could see some ample time with the Mets in 2007.
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