Born: April 21, 1981
Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an amateur free agent in 1997. Drafted by the Kansas City Royals from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2002 Rule V Draft. Returned by the Kansas City Royals to the Pittsburgh Pirates on March 13, 2003.
AVG - .310
R - 37
HR - 6
RBI - 55
BB - 34
SO - 79
OBP - .363
I think it's safe to say that Paulino's offensive performance last season was a pleasant surprise for the Pirates. Paulino emerged as the starting catcher when Ryan Doumit went back on the disabled list and Humberto Cota continued to struggle with doing anything right.
His .310 average was a bit higher than what he normally put up in the minor leagues, so expect that to drop a little, maybe sit around the .280 mark. He hit 19 doubles last season and should improve upon that. Many believe more power will come, but he shows more of a doulbe-type swing. He can spray the ball into the opposite field and should be a solid late-of-the-oder bat for the Pirates again this season.
With Neil Walker in the system, the Pirates will continue to push Paulino and make sure he progresses. Walker, however, has been testing himself at different positions, which is mainly due to Paulino's success at the Majore League level. Keep an eye on Paulino's defense this season, though. Throwing out runners has always been a problem for Pirates catchers thanks to Jason Kendall and it continued over to Paulino, but not quite as drastic.