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Felipe Paulino has rejoined the Kansas City Royals and is expected to be activated in time to make a start on Saturday against the New York Yankees. The right-hander opened the season on the disabled list because in spring training he was dealing with what was classified as a right forearm flexor pronator strain.
Paulino made two rehab starts, both with Double-A Arkansas, and went a combined 10 1/3 innings in them. He allowed eight hits, three runs and two walks, with 13 strikeouts. In camp, he struggled with his command and location a bit, so the results of his April work on the farm are encouraging.
The 28-year-old had a bit of a breakthrough in 2011, after KC traded with the Colorado Rockies for him. For the year, he posted a 4.46 ERA, a 8.59 K/9 and a 3.55 BB/9. The progress of his control rate was cause for optimism, although the outcomes indicate that he remained as hittable as he'd been in previous major league stints.
As a starter with the Royals, however, he was 4-6 with a 4.26 ERA, an 8.68 K/9, a 3.59 BB/9 and a .271 BAA in 120 1/3 stanzas. His hard fastball is a weapon. KC helped him begin to understand how to set it up a little better and to remain focused on hitting the strike zone.
If he maintains those control rate gains and cuts down on the mistakes, considering the strikeout prowess he carries, Paulino could be a nice roto asset. He's a must-own in AL-only leagues, of course, but those in deep mixed leagues should keep an eye on him - maybe even consider stashing him in case the former Houston Astros prospect takes his game to the next level.
He reached only 89 pitches in the 6 1/3 stanzas of his last rehab outing, so it's a little dangerous for KC to throw him out there so quickly. But the club is hurting for innings from its rotation, as the graphic in Bob Dutton's article demonstrates. Fantasy players should probably be in no rush to plug in Paulino this Saturday against the Bronx Bombers.
Kansas City is moving the ST winner of its No. 5 rotation spot, Luis Mendoza, to the bullpen. The soft-tossing, ground-balling righty was 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA in four starts. There's little need to retain him, even in AL leagues, unless yours is extremely deep.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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