Like his teammate Miguel Ugueto, Red Sox infield prospect Eddinson Paulino was one of the organization’s top performers in the Florida Complex League last season.
In 36 games for the Sox’ rookie-level affiliate, Paulino batted .336/.436/.549 to go along with 16 doubles, four triples, 13 RBIs, 25 runs scored, five stolen bases, 15 walks, and 21 strikeouts over 133 plate appearances. The left-handed hitting 19-year-old slashed .354/.436/.585 (94 PAs) against right-handed pitching and .290/.436/.452 (39 PAs) against lefties.
Among FCL hitters who made at least 130 trips to the plate in 2021, Paulino ranked tied for first in doubles, tied for second in triples, 30th in walk rate (11.3%), eighth in strikeout rate (15.8%), second in batting average, third in on-base percentage, second in slugging percentage, first in OPS (.985), ninth in isolated power (.212), 14th in speed score (7.8), and first in wRC+ (161), per FanGraphs.
Defensively, Paulino was scouted and signed as a shortstop. Last year, however, the 5-foot-10, 155 pounder saw playing time at three different positions while logging 85 innings at second base, 149 at third base, and just 16 at short.
A native of Santiago, Paulino originally signed with Boston for $205,000 as an international free agent coming out of the Dominican Republic in July 2018. He officially inked his first contract with the club on his 16th birthday.
After spending his first full professional season in the Dominican Summer League, Paulino fell victim to the fact that the 2020 minor-league campaign was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That being said, Paulino clearly made the most of his time away from organized ball. Even after starting this past season on the bench in the FCL, Paulino was undoubtedly “an eye-opener” among Red Sox prospects in 2021.
Back in August, SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall noted that Paulino’s athleticism, defensive versatility, and smooth swing made him “one of the most intriguing young position players” in Boston’s farm system.
“Scouts think Paulino can really hit,” Cundall wrote. “He has been hitting hard line drives all over the field this year and made impressive exit velocity gains, hitting the ball much harder this year than he did in 2019 in the DSL. The one knock on Paulino so far has been that it is unclear how much over-the-fence power Paulino will develop. He is listed at 5-foot-10, 155 pounds, and while he has projection in his frame, he is unlikely to grow into a major power threat.”
Paulino, who does not turn 20 until July, is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the 25th-ranked prospect in the organization. He is projected by the site to begin the 2022 season at Low-A Salem.
On that note, Paulino can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career this December. The Red Sox would need to add the versatile infielder to their 40-man roster by late November if they intend to protect him from it.
(Picture of Eddinson Paulino: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)