Houston Astros: David Paulino Set for Breakout in 2017

David Paulino pitched well for the Houston Astros against the Angels Friday night, hopefully setting up for what could be a breakout year in 2017.

Currently, David Paulino is the 4th best prospect in the Houston Astros farm system, according to MLBPipeline.com. Paulino first struck the attention of Astros fans when he was thrown into the fire in Cleveland. Unfortunately, Paulino’s debut did not quite go as planned.

While Paulino could have been dejected and taken that first appearance as a failure, he has used his opportunity as a September call-up to prove himself. Ever since that mishap in northern Ohio, Paulino has shown Houston Astros fans why he is their fourth-best prospect.

In his last two appearances, Paulino has pitched four innings, allowing zero runs and only two hits while walking one and striking out two. In short, Paulino has not been lighting up the box score with strikeouts. However, he has been efficient against two divisional foes in Seattle and Los Angeles.

Most importantly, Paulino has certainly shown that he is comfortable coming out of the bullpen for the Astros, and can settle down and work efficiently on the mound against major league hitters. Paulino has never been a strikeout pitcher, so it comes as no surprise that he is not racking up the punch-outs to start his major league career.

At six feet seven inches, Paulino’s intimidating frame certainly strikes opposing hitters. Unfortunately, the 22-year-old right-hander cannot say the same about his fastball, which sits at about 93 MPH, reaching up to 95 MPH. Paulino’s changeup helps to make up for the fact that his fastball does not blow hitters away, as the change offers a nice switch in velocity.

Although Paulino now has some major league experience under his belt, the Astros still have decided to send their highly rated prospect to the Arizona Fall League later this month. Astros fans should not see this in a negative manner, as Paulino will be able to harness his craft and work on his repertoire while enjoying some nice October weather.

Paulino should be in a Houston Astros uniform to start the 2017 season. While his goal is to make the starting rotation, A.J. Hinch could use him in the bullpen as well. With Doug Fister likely not returning to Houston, Paulino will certainly have a chance to establish himself in the rotation during Spring Training.

Overall, Astros fans should be very happy with Paulino’s progression thus far and look forward to having their fourth best prospect in an Astros uniform for a full 2017 season.

Not bad for a guy who was picked up from the Tigers for Jose Veras….

***Stats from Baseball-Reference***

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