Houston Astros: Three pitching prospects who will have big roles in 2017

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The third most likely prospect to make an impact in 2017.

Nov 5, 2016; Surprise, AZ, USA; West pitcher David Paulino of the Houston Astros during the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 5, 2016; Surprise, AZ, USA; West pitcher David Paulino of the Houston Astros during the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

David Paulino

Paulino is already on the 40-man roster, but his debut was less than spectacular. He showed that he had the stuff, but struggled to strike hitters out. Paulino was acquired by the Astros in the Jose Veras trade while he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. Now that he is healthy, he is one of the top pitching prospects in the system.

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He was called up at the end of the season and made a spot start, only lasting three innings. He showed great poise, but then fell apart giving up four runs while walking two hitters. However, he seemed to settle down for the rest of his four innings pitched in 2016, not allowing a run. As you can see, seven innings are not enough to judge how good Paulino can be.

Unless Paulino has a powerful showing this Spring, he is ticketed for Triple-A Fresno. While he did pitch seven big league innings, he only pitched 14 innings in Triple-A before his call-up. The Houston Astros could want him to get some more experience at Triple-A. His stay could be short though because he is on the 40-man roster.

He is a tall pitcher who throws hard, in the mid-nineties, with a power breaking pitch. The starting rotation is currently six deep, so there is not a clear opening for him. Should a starting pitcher not be ready for the start of the season, Paulino could be an option. However, outside of a spot-start here and there or an arm needed out of the bullpen could get him on the team.

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