Who is Eddinson Paulino? Red Sox infield prospect was ‘an eye-opener’ last year after impressing in Florida Complex League

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)


Who is Miguel Ugueto? Red Sox outfield prospect batted .331 in Florida Complex League last year

Red Sox outfield prospect Miguel Ugueto was among the organization’s top performers in the Florida Complex League last year.

Nicknamed “The Machine” like Albert Pujols, Ugueto appeared in 35 games for the Sox’ rookie-level affiliate. Over that stretch, the right-handed-hitting 19-year-old batted a stout .331/.370/.528 (135 wRC+) to go along with 15 doubles, two triples, two home runs, 20 RBIs, 26 runs scored, seven stolen bases, seven walks, and 26 strikeouts across 135 plate appearances.

He posted a .949 OPS against right-handed pitching compared to a .733 OPS against left-handed pitching.

Among FCL hitters who made at least 130 trips to the plate in 2021, Ugueto ranked 13th in strikeout rate (19.3%), third in batting average, 15th in on-base percentage, sixth in slugging percentage, fifth in OPS (.898), 15th in isolated power (.197), eighth in speed score (8.6), and seventh in wRC+, per FanGraphs.

Defensively, the 6-foot-2, 185 pounder saw playing time at all three outfield positions last year in Fort Myers. He logged 99 2/3 innings in left, 56 innings in center, and 104 in right while not committing a single error and recording three outfield assists.

A native of Venezuela, Ugueto originally signed with Boston for just $10,000 as an international free agent in August 2019. His first full professional season was wiped out because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but he certainly made up for lost time in 2021.

With that being said, though, there does seem to be some concern regarding Ugueto’s outlook in spite of the success he enjoyed last summer. As highlighted by SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall in September, “scouts are skeptical of his ability to hit more advanced pitching. His swing is ugly and he is a free swinger with poor pitch recognition and no approach at the plate. Unless his approach improves drastically, he will struggle to make contact as he moves up the system.

“Defensively, his profile also puts a lot of pressure on his bat, as he is slow-footed with a corner outfield profile,” added Cundall. “While he has played a significant amount of center field this year, he has moved to the corners in his last eight games.”

Ugueto, who does not turn 20 until this coming September, is not regarded by any major publication as one of the top prospects in the Red Sox’ farm system. He was, however, one of 11 outfielders to participate in the team’s fall performance program this past October.

On that note, Ugueto is projected by SoxProspects.com to begin the 2022 minor-league season where he left off in 2021: the Florida Complex League. Of course, under that scenario, it would not be surprising if Ugueto were to earn a promotion to Low-A Salem at some point this summer.

(Picture of Miguel Ugueto: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)