Houston Astros: Should the team protect David Paulino?


The Houston Astros have some choices to make with Rule V draft

With the deadline to protect eligible players taking place today, the Houston Astros have some interesting choices to make regarding which players to add to the 40-man roster. Joe Musgrove, Chris Devenski, and Teoscar Hernandez are just a few names that the Astros could protect from other franchises this year. Another name to be mindful of is right-handed pitcher David Paulino.

Paulino, the throw in of the Jose Veras trade to the Detroit Tigers in 2013, is starting to look like a steal for Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow. Remember when the team also acquired outfielder Danry Vasquez, who was the main prospect coming back to the Astros. Well, in the meantime, Paulino has usurped Vasquez.

Standing at an imposing 6’7″ and 215 pounds, the 21-year old right-hander quietly put together a solid season in 2015. In fact, Paulino went 5-3 with a 2.81 ERA in 67.1 innings for the Astros Class A-, A, and A+ teams. He started 12 of the 13 games he appeared in 2015, allowing more than three runs once in any given start.

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But what stands out the most about the right-hander’s 2015 season is his impressive 72:19 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Yes, you read that right. In 67.1 innings, he managed to strike out 72 while only walking 19. That, along with his imposing physical frame, will likely cause other organizations to claim him in the Rule V draft. After all, if you can find a 6’7″ pitcher that can throw a fastball in the mid-to-upper 90’s and throw strikes, then someone is likely to take a chance on him if the Astros don’t protect him.

The only issue with Paulino keeping at this point is his injury history and limited exposure. Between various injuries and the dreaded Tommy John surgery in 2013, Paulino has only 106.1 innings of minor league playing time since 2011. That may not be enough service time for someone to claim him in the Rule V draft unless another organization feels like he can blossom under their watch. And with the Astros having numerous players under consideration for protection then he may slip through the cracks.

Next: Houston Astros: Top Four Players to Protect in Rule V Draft

Verdict: I can envision the Astros protecting Paulino, but at the same time the front office may not when considering the organization’s plethora of prospects open to the Rule V draft. This may turn out to be a numbers game, and Paulino is unfortunately left out. 

**Statistics provided by Fangraphs.com & Baseball Reference**