Felipe Paulino – 2012 Profiles and Projections

Felipe Paulino (28)

W – 10

ERA – 4.05

WHIP – 1.37

K/9 – 8.5

Statistics

I actually wrote about Paulino being a sleeper last season.  The guy possesses a 95 MPH fastball and the ability to strike people out… what he didn’t have was good control, the ability to strand runners, and luck.  Through 34 starts the last 2 seasons his FIP was between 3.44 and 3.69 (despite ERAs a run or more higher).  In fact, his .341 BABIP was the highest in the majors in 2011 (ahead of Lackey, Niese, and Nolasco).  His 70.8% LOB% was a bit low as well, though not extraordinarily low for a pitcher of his skill set.  The problem lies within the fact that in 3 partial seasons (2009-2011), through 51 starts, Paulino has consistently had high BABIPs (.361-.331-.341) and low LOB% (67.6%-58.5%-70.8%).  Now, you could just say it’s a small sample size or that he was just unlucky each season, but I feel like maybe he just doesn’t possess the ability to really be a good PITCHER yet.  He’s a good thrower – he has great velocity and can strike guys out – but maybe his pitch selection and pitching mentality aren’t quite there yet.  I mean, if we could just pencil him in for normalized BABIP (around .300) and LOB% (around 73%), then you’d likely have a breakout pitcher here – something along the lines of 3.60 ERA/8.5 K/9.  Clearly, most fantasy owners aren’t expecting those kinds of numbers, though.  Paulino does have control issues as well… his walk rate was 4.52 BB/9 in 2010.  However, he lowered that to 3.55 BB/9 in 2011, so he could still be growing and developing as a starter.  In fact, Paulino was much better as a starter than reliever in 2011 (and for his career) as his ERA as a starter was 4.26 while his overall ERA for 2011 was 4.46.  He also only had 2 starts out of 20 last year that could really be described as disastrous (6 ER in 4 IP and 5 ER in 5 IP), showing he won’t really wreck your ERA in a single start as some risky starters do.  Paulino, though maybe a bit raw and still growing, is very talented… he’s got a lot of upside potential and is someone you should take a flier on late in deep drafts over guys like Randy Wolf, who you already know what to expect from, because if he puts it all together, you’ve got another stud starter for your rotation.