Position: Right-handed Pitcher
The Tigers signed Paulino during the international signing period in 2009 as a 16-year old. A native of the Dominican Republic, Paulino was given a modest bonus by the Tigers and saw his first professional action in the Tigers Dominican Instructional League in the fall of that year.
His first official pro experience came in the Dominican Summer League this year, where he held his own playing the entire year at just 17.
Though he finished with only a 1-6 record last summer, Paulino managed a solid 3.88 ERA in 46 1/3 inning of work. Though he struggled with a lot of walks, the young righty did fan 55 opposing hitters.
At this early juncture, the calling card for Paulino is clearly the big time fastball. Even at his age and with his rail thin 6-foot-4, 170 pound frame, he already has consistent average big league velocity, and he will regularly show plus stuff with a high octane version that can get up to 94, even later in his outings. His fastball has some explosive late life at the plate.
With that premium velocity -- and it is projected to increase -- comes some serious trouble with command and control. Paulino struggles to throw strikes of any kind, let alone locate in the zone. He shows good athleticism and a willingness to work hard at reigning in his arsenal, and as a result most scouts project him to approach at least fringe-average command.
In addition to his big time fastball, Paulino also tries to work in a curveball and change-up. While he does show some feel for both pitches, they are both below-average pitches at this time.
There is an enormous gap between what Paulino is now, and what he could or will become. The Tigers plan to continue developing him as a starter for now, simply to continue giving him innings, but it is almost impossible to project his future role at this point.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP AVG R
There is no history of injury or even excessive soreness in Paulino's brief history. His pitch counts and innnings were limited in 2010, and we should expect the same over the next two years or so.
The Tigers are considering bringing Paulino to the US for spring training and then determining his ultimate assignment from there. Though he could stand to work with some of the stateside staff, the GCL may be a bit aggressive for someone without the ability to throw strikes regularly.
Regardless of his final team assignment in 2011, in the DSL or GCL, the key for Paulino will be to make strides in consistently throwing the ball in the strike zone and finding a reliable second pitch. If either of those begins to come to fruition next year, he couled be a big mover on this prospect list a year from now.
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