Scouting Rangers Prospect #47: David Paisano

Outfielder David Paisano took a major step forward in 2009, not only with the Rangers but also while playing winterball in Venezuela. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at the prospect with a feature article and an in-depth scouting report.

Vital Statistics:
Name: David Paisano
Position: Outfield
DOB: November 26, 1987
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 165
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Acquired: 2006 trade from Chicago White Sox with RHP Brandon McCarthy for LHP John Danks and RHPs Nick Masset and Jake Rasner

When the Rangers dealt for right-hander Brandon McCarthy, they also acquired a relatively little-known outfield prospect that had yet to play professionally in the U.S.

But Paisano was coming off an outstanding campaign in the Venezuelan Summer League [.338 batting average and .907 OPS] and the Rangers were intrigued by his tools, which included a premium glove and plus speed.

After three full seasons in the Texas organization, Paisano has been a bit of a slow developer, but he is beginning to show signs of significant progression.

Paisano's first year with the Rangers came in 2007, when he was assigned to Single-A Clinton. The outfielder skipped both the Arizona Rookie League and short-season A ball. Understandably, he had some struggles, batting .203 with 11 doubles and three homers in 306 at-bats. But he showed advanced defense and great speed [20 steals in 22 attempts] in his time with the L-Kings.

He spent much of the 2008 campaign nursing a hamstring injury that sidelined him for nearly half the season. He eventually took a step back and went to short-season Spokane. Paisano had more success, posting a .262 batting average with 18 doubles, six homers, and 23 walks in 66 contests.

The 22-year-old was a bit better at Single-A Hickory in 2009, but he really began to turn heads after his late-season promotion to High-A Bakersfield. Although Paisano was inconsistent, his potential was beginning to show up for extended stretches.

Perhaps Paisano's most important moment of his professional career came this offseason, when he played a key role in the outfield for the La Guaira Tiburones.

Paisano not only gained invaluable experience in playing against upper-minors and big league competition, but he also had some success. In 73 regular season at-bats, he batted .233 with five doubles, two triples and two home runs. He had 10 walks, 19 strikeouts, and seven steals in nine attempts. The prospect also got limited action in the postseason, where he was 3-for-13 with a double and a round-tripper.

The prospect appeared in 51 total games for La Guaira, and he contributed in a number of ways. He was used as a defensive specialist at all three outfield spots, a pinch runner, a pinch hitter, and a starting outfielder. Paisano hit in the club's leadoff spot at times, and he also hit at the bottom of the order.

Paisano's strong 2009 campaign both with the Rangers and in Venezuela could mean he is finally prepared to take a massive step forward this season, a la Craig Gentry last year.

Also See: Rangers Minor League Mailbag (October 6, 2009)
Sizing up the outfield prospects (October 1, 2009)

Batting and Power: Regarded as a speedy outfielder with outstanding defensive skills, Paisano's bat has always been his biggest question mark, but he made plenty of improvements in 2009. For the most part, he performed better than his numbers suggested after a late-season promotion to High-A Bakersfield. He was batting .286 before a 2-for-25 slump dropped his final average to .253.

While Paisano fell victim to some extended slumps both in Hickory and Bakersfield last season, he showed improved discipline with good gap power at times. The Venezuela native has some raw power, which is beginning to show up more in game situations as he progresses. His experience against advanced competition in the Venezuelan Winter League this year could prove valuable, as he posted five doubles, two triples and two home runs in 73 regular season at-bats.

Base Running and Speed: Paisano has flashed plus speed for much of his career, and he's not a bad baserunner either. However, Paisano appeared to lose a step or two in 2009. He has battled hamstring injuries for the last couple seasons, and his body continues to fill out. Both likely contributed to the loss of speed last season, but his speed was still a tick above average.

Defense: Ever since Paisano joined the Rangers' system prior to the 2007 season, he has been an advanced route runner, which is largely what makes him such a smooth defender in centerfield. He didn't cover quite as much ground in 2009, as the hamstring injuries appear to have hurt his first-step quickness, but he is excellent at reading the ball off the bat and is still an above-average defender who plays smart defense. He has a solid arm all-around, and he could fill in at any of the three outfield spots. For center, his arm is absolutely plus. His arm is accurate and he gets good carry behind his throws.

Projection: At his best, Paisano has the tools to be a top-of-the-order hitter and a premium defender. He made some significant strides in 2009, but he still has a long way to go in terms of staying consistent at the plate and remaining healthy. Should he reach the Majors, he may be most likely to play a similar role to the one he played with La Guaira in winterball this year–a reserve outfielder that can provide plus defense, plus speed and a decent bat off the bench.

2010 Outlook: Paisano should open the 2010 season back in Bakersfield, as he looks for some more consistency. He got just 38 games and 158 at-bats in the Cal League last summer, and he had some peaks and valleys. Regardless, Paisano should see Double-A Frisco by the second half of the season. While he is just 22-years-old, the 2010 campaign will be his sixth year in professional baseball, and it is about time for the Rangers to start pushing him.

ETA: 2011.

2005 DSL White Sox (DSL) .272 151 5 3 8 18 2 9 33 .321 .377
2006 VSL Orioles/White Sox (VSL) .338 195 13 0 17 36 8 22 37 .430 .477
2007 Clinton (A) .203 306 11 3 20 43 20 20 85 .273 .275
2008 Spokane (SSA) .262 275 18 6 44 47 9 23 51 .332 .400
Clinton (A) .130 54 2 0 4 6 4 6 11 .234 .167
2009 Hickory (A) .268 291 22 1 30 45 10 16 61 .333 .368
Bakersfield (A+) .253 158 11 3 12 31 1 17 44 .341 .380

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