When I took a look at the New York Yankees‘ updated list of top prospects, there was a name that I, and probably many Yankees fans were not familiar with. That person was ranked No. 10 on that list, and is a Dominican pitcher named Rafael De Paula. He seemingly came out of nowhere to break the top ten list, and with pretty good reason.
Rafael De Paula was signed by the Yankees back in 2010. However Visa issues pushed his debut within the Yankees organization back to this past season. Being 21 years old, there is still plenty of time for De Paula to mature and work his way through the minor leagues.
He spent his 2012 season playing for the Dominican Summer League, where he posted an 8-2 record alongside a 1.46 ERA. In a little under 62 innings pitched, he struck out 85 batters while only walking 18. He also kept hitters to a measly .162 average against him. Certainly very formidable for any pitcher in any league.
Scouting reports say that De Paula has a fastball that sits in the low 90s, but can get all the way up to 97 miles per hour. He also has a plus curveball that supposedly has very good movement on it to go along with a slider and changeup. Scouts also say that his movement and control are very noteworthy – with his control being what scouts appear to be raving about the most.
In fact, scouts believe that he is a very advanced pitcher for his age. Scouts also predict that he could be a number two starter in the Yankees rotation one day, but has a possibility of even being an ace. De Paula certainly promises to be a very exciting prospect within the coming years.
Although he is probably two or three years away from making a big impact on the Major League level, De Paula appears to be a tremendous talent and will be someone to keep an eye out for as a star in the Yankees’ farm system.
Follow Hunter Farman on Twitter @hfarman1