The New York Yankees may be loaded with veteran arms at the moment, but the team also has some shining stars down in their farm system. Perhaps, the best young arm the team currently has in their minor league system is starting pitcher Rafael De Paula.
De Paula was most recently ranked 45th in Baseball America’s Midseason Top 50 Prospects, and the fireballer will be an extremely popular fantasy baseball prospect to watch over the second half of the season.
In 64.1 innings with the Charleston River Dogs, the right-hander had an amazing 6-2 record. He struck out 96 batters and boasted a 2.94 ERA in Lo-A ball. He was pitching too well to stay in Charleston, so he earned the promotion to High-A.
Since being promoted to the Tampa Yankees, though, De Paula has not pitched as well. He is 0-2 through his first three starts in the Florida State League with a 7.13 ERA. The opposition is hitting .306 off the youngster and he has clearly struggled making the transition. He just arrived in Tampa, so I am confident that he will start to calm down over the next few weeks.
De Paula pitched for the World team in the Minor League All-Star Futures Game and the Dominican certainly turned some heads. He pitched a scoreless fifth inning for the International team, while allowing just one hit and striking out one batter.
In the All-Star game, the hurler was able to showcase his 92-94 MPH fastball and deadly changeup. He has outstanding command over both pitches, but the kid has also started to mix in a nasty slurve. If he can perfect this pitch, it will give him a nasty three-pitch repertoire to bring with him to the bigs.
The 22-year-old is worth targeting early in prospect drafts next season, and he may even be worth carrying over on an active roster if he continues to fly threw the Yanks’ farm system.