The White Sox are expected to be very active at this week’s Winter Meetings, as James detailed here. And on the first day in Orlando, they … well, they signed Felipe Paulino.
Who is Felipe Paulino? It appears he’s the next in the long line of attempted reclamation projects for pitching coach Don Cooper. Paulino, 30, is the type of high upside/low risk pitchers the White Sox love to sign.
Sexy in stirrups. // Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Put frankly, Paulino’s numbers have never quite matched up with his stuff. Coming up in the Astros’ organization, the appeal with Paulino was always because of his fastball. In 2011, he averaged right around 95 mph on it, which would have ranked second in all of baseball if he had thrown enough innings. But as Fangraphs documented that year, his issue has always been with location, something Cooper can hopefully help him with.
Paulino’s advanced statistics have shown him as a better pitcher than he has been. His FIP (3.54) and xFIP (3.93) the last few seasons project a pitcher who should be able to contribute to an MLB club.
It’s never been fair for fans to expect Cooper to be able to work his magic with anyone and everyone. But if he’s able to get Paulino to “figure it out,” the White Sox could have a cheap contributor for at least a few years. If not, it’ll be easy to cut ties.