Apr
07

Hot .GIF Action: Rafael DePaula

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After nearly two years in visa purgatory, right-hander Rafael DePaula finally made his stateside debut yesterday. He struck out eleven in 4.1 innings with the Low-A Charleston River Dogs, throwing a ton of fastballs, a handful of sliders, and just a few changeups. Forty-nine of this 71 pitches were strikes and there were a ton of swings and misses, like the one you see above. I didn’t count, but it was easily over ten whiffs and probably closer to 20.

Baseball America ranked the 22-year-old DePaula as the Yankees tenth best prospect a few weeks ago, calling him “the biggest X-factor in the system” while saying his “ceiling is as high as any Yankees minor league pitcher.” New York desperately needs some young impact pitching to emerge, so it sure would be nice if DePaula builds off yesterday’s start and climbs the ladder in a hurry. More .GIFs after the jump.

  • Jerkface

    BOSS

  • Blake

    Smooth….I like …please stay healthy

  • Bryan

    That hook is solid. Do you know where he was sitting with his fastball? Also, why only 70 pitches?

    • Bo Knows

      Probably just because it’s the first game of the season, they probably only wanted him to do so many pitches or 5 innings

  • yankeefeminista

    He’ll move fast.

  • yankeefeminista

    They’re limiting the SP’s first time around. Plus he has some longer innings, I believe. Makes sense. Just hope they let them work past the fifth as they gain arm strength.

  • yankeefeminista

    *had some longer (laboring)

  • Dalek Jeter

    The second to last gif is just awesome.

  • Sam

    All my eggs are in his basket expect him to finish season pitching in AA playoffs

  • YankeesJunkie

    DePaula, Campos, and Banuelos all could make an impact later in 2014 or early 2015.

  • Bo Knows

    Just looked up De Paula’s swing K percentage for the game…it was at 36.8% that is just inhuman, point of reference Strasburg had a 27.3% swinging strike rate in A ball, Dylan Bundy had a 35% swinging K rate in A ball. I’m not saying De Paula is even in those two’s universes in terms of talent, but that is some very nice company.

    • The Real Me (Formerly Cris Pengiucci)

      Gotta keep in mind that DePaula is 22. Is Stasburg even 22 now (haven’t looked it up). The point is Rafael is old for that level, even if he hasn’t had a significant amount of coaching within the system.

      I’m intrigued and hopeful he’ll progress quickly and remain healthy and effective. Would be nice if he can contribute in the near future.

      • Josh

        Strasburg is 24 but the point remains.

      • Bo Knows

        Strasburg is 24 (25 come July), he was 21/22 years old to start his first pro season (since he was a college draftee)

        And he’s not that old, just turned 22 a few weeks ago so he’d essentially be the same as a college player drafted and sent to Low A for a month as a tuneup. Another example is Matt Barnes, top Red Sox pitching prospect was 22 (28% swinging K%) last year in A ball before being promoted. So its not unusual.

        Also the average age of Low A level is 22, that said De Paula’s dominance is not a common thing, and considering he’ll be a fast mover is very good.

        • Bo Knows

          he being De Paula

      • Andy In Sunny Daytona

        De Paula is younger than the pitcher he opposed, Pat Light, who was a 1st Round Supplemental pick from last year.

      • Greg

        Yeah, his age is not a big deal at all. As Bo said he’s 2012 college draft age, and that’s probably a good way to think of him. Not everybody needs much “coaching within the system,” anyway. He missed a couple seasons and hasn’t had much competition until now, but (in his one game so far, mind you) he threw strikes and blew away class A hitters, so he doesn’t seem at all raw.

  • Strader

    He looks like he has been worth the wait. I just hope he doesn’t end up as trade bait. Dale Murray or Ken Phelps aren’t available this year, are they?

  • http://gotfisheries.blogspot.com Dropped Third

    I wonder if he could make it to AA this year if he plays well…

  • CONservative governMENt

    Assuming the Astros get first pick in 2014 draft, who would help the Yankees in that second spot?

  • TomH

    Does anyone know why he had so much visa trouble?

    • Cool Lester Smooth

      He had initially lied about his age and last name.

    • Havok9120

      He had to go through the expanded process that they hit you with when they figure out the initial lie. The State Department (not to mention the security services) all get a bit twitchy when you fabricate a DOB and surname.

  • Tom

    I might be in the minority, but I hope they don’t fast-track this guy.

    He’s probably only throwing 110 or so innings this year maybe 130-140 innings next year. If he’s in the bigs after that then you have to deal with the innings jump craziness again.

    3 years in the minors would be fine (or maybe targeting the 2nd half of 2015). I’d rather the Yankees take a Rays approach – even when a guy seems ready they seem to give him an extra 1/2 season in the minors and get a little more polish. Most of their starters are seeing multiple years at or above 140 innings prior to cracking the rotation full time (Price was the notable exception, but he had college innings)

    Moore: 144 inning and ~160 innings prior to cracking the rotation
    Hellickson 150, 113, 153
    Davis: 150, 160, 160
    Cobb: 140, 125, 144
    Archer 140 (*cubs), 147, 155

    Other than to maybe give him a taste of the playoffs in AA, let him dominate A ball (high /low) spend next year in AA and depending on how that goes maybe another 1/2 to full year between AA and AAA.

    • isotopesgm

      Copying the Rays model for pitching development seems to be a smart thing to do.

    • Bo Knows

      The Rays model also includes getting there prospects to throw 120 innings within the first two years of pitching, many other successful programs do the same thing but act more aggressive. If, someone dominates they will push them to face stronger competition rather than wasting time sticking forcing them to go against inferior opponents.

      I prefer the Oakland/Reds/Cardinals/White Sox/Nationals model, which gets them to throw 120-130 innings within the players first two years (considering De Paula has thrown a lot in the DSL, and probably at instructs as well, I bet he could handle the load) and promote aggressively if/when the player is dominating.

      The Yankees frankly wast too much time only slightly increasing innings and the system ends up with a bunch of guys who have been in the system 4-5 years yet very few to practically none of them have broken the 120 innings let alone 130. They don’t need to go full Rangers and just say “Damn pitch counts and innings limits” but they need to stop babying their pitchers and let them throw.

  • Scout

    I’ll get excited when he reaches Trenton, not before.

    • Andy

      If he keeps pitching like this it will be a matter of hours.

  • Barry

    Really like his delivery. He seems to repeat it every single time flawlessly.

  • Andy

    Was the fourth to last .GIF a fastball? If it was than that’s a remarkable amount of sink for a guy with such good velocity.

    • Tremont

      That’s a hard curve or maybe a slider.

  • dkidd

    the two-seamer movement in the third to last gif is maddux-esque

    please avoid stairs, young man