Friday, July 19, 2013

The turnaround of Dorssys Paulino

Captains shortstop Dorssys Paulino hit his 19th double Friday against Quad Cities.

The two-bag feat further illustrates Paulino's growth since arriving in Lake County. Paulino, who entered the season as the Indians' No. 3 prospect, according to Baseball America, didn't hit a double in April. In fact, he didn't collect one extra-base hit during the month.

Paulino's inability to find barrels represented an early-season mystery. As a 17-year-old in the rookie Arizona League last summer, Paulino had 26 extra-base hits in 41 games. His performance, physical potential and the $1.1 million he received in 2011 propelled Paulino toward the top of prospect lists.

The slow start left many wondering if Paulino graduated to full-season baseball too soon. His struggles were magnified because Francisco Lindor flourished with the Captains as an 18-year-old in 2012. Some even wondered if the Indians would demote Paulino to Mahoning Valley at the start of the New York-Penn League season.

Paulino is rewarding the Indians for their patience. He's hitting .237, a pedestrian average until a glance at his 2013 day-by-day history. Paulino was hitting .199 on May 26.

He has 25 extra-base hits, including three homers, since the frigid April. He has committed 30 errors, but only three have come in July.

The season might not solidify Paulino, the youngest player in Captains' history, as one of baseball's elite prospects. But improvement and development are buzz words in the low minors. Paulino's recovery from a slow suggests he might be absorbing some lasting lessons.

-- Guy Cipriano | @newsheraldguy


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