Red Sox Prospect No. 26: David Pauley

Editor's Note: Diehard Magazine is in the midst of its third annual countdown of the top 50 prospects in the Red Sox chain today. Subscribe to our print magazine in order to learn even more on the top 50! Today: The countdown continues with the no. 26 prospect, pitcher David Pauley.

Just because David Pauley didn't pitch in the major leagues last season doesn't mean he didn't warrant a promotion.

Pauley struggled a bit in the second half of last season (he had a 4.96 ERA and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 46/21 while allowing opposing batters to hit .303 in 61 2/3 innings; prior to the All-Star Break he had a 3.91 ERA, a 64/28 K/BB ratio and an opponents batting average of .246 in 92 innings), but he continued to craft a reputation as an innings-eater by going 6-6 with a 4.33 ERA in 153 2/3 innings—tied for the second-most in the chain—at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Alas, the only long-term openings in the big league rotation were claimed by Kason Gabbard and Jon Lester, and spot starts were made by Devern Hansack and the surging Clay Buchholz, who overshadowed all of his farm system contemporaries by throwing a no-hitter in his second big league appearance.

Add it all up and Pauley is the overlooked big leaguer-in-waiting. "We like him a lot," Sox director of player development Mike Hazen said. "We like what he brings to the table. We like the adjustments he made last year. He had a really good year at Triple-A. He didn't get the opportunity to pitch in the big leagues, but at any time I think he could have."

With a repertoire that relies heavily on a sinker and a changeup, Pauley won't overwhelm anyone stuff-wise, but he's as close to a finished product as anyone in the chain beyond Buchholz. With 35 starts already at Triple-A, he's plenty experienced for someone who won't turn 25 until June. Last year marked the third time in four seasons he's surpassed 150 innings. He fell shy of that milestone in 2006, when he battled a forearm injury in the second half, but he still impressed the Sox with his tenacity during three big league starts.

Still, with the Sox featuring seven big league starters as of New Years Day and several highly touted prospects racing up the minors, it appears as if Pauley needs a trade in order to get an extended big league opportunity. The Sox have one more option on him, so another season as an insurance policy seems likely.

But if he eventually lands with a small-market team willing to plug him into the back of the rotation, a Brian Bannister-type rookie season—Bannister went 12-9 with a 3.87 ERA and finished third in the Rookie of the Year balloting as a 26-year-old for the Royals last season—is entirely possible.

"I don't see any reason why he's not going to get an opportunity," Hazen said.


Previous prospects ranked No. 26:
2007: Andrew Dobies, P
2006: Jamie Vermilyea, P (acquired in the Rule 5 draft in 2005, sent back to the Blue Jays in March 2006)
2005: Ian Bladergroen, 1B (unranked in 2006 and 2007)


DIEHARD 2008 TOP 50 PROSPECTS
50.) Travis Beazley, P
49.) Beau Vaughan, P
48.) Ty Weeden, C
47.) Mike Jones, 1B
46.) Tommy Hottovy, P
45.) Chad Spann, 3B
44.) Yamaico Navarro, SS
43.) Chad Rhoades, P
42.) Mike James, P
41.) Jay Johnson, OF
40.) Jeff Natale, IF
39.) George Kottaras, C
38.) Bryce Cox, P
37.) Daniel Haigwood, P
36.) Che-Hsuan Lin, OF
35.) Edgar Martinez, P
34.) Andrew Pinckney, 3B
33.) Dusty Brown, C
32.) Jason Place, OF
31.) Jeff Corsaletti, OF
30.) Argenis Diaz, SS
29.) Daniel Bard, P
28.) Brock Huntzinger, P
27.) Adam Mills, P
26.) David Pauley, P


Diehard managing editor Jerry Beach can be reached at diehardmag@yahoo.com. To receive a free issue of Diehard, call 888-501-5752.

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