Of the 67 players invited to camp by the Padres, there are quite a few I don't know too much about. One of those is Jose De Paula. The name seemed familiar but, gun to my head, I couldn't have told you what position he plays. Thank goodness we live in a day and age with cool stuff like Baseball Reference and Google because this is the kind of thing that would have bothered me for days in the early 90s.
Turns out De Paula is a 22-year-old lefty starter. He signed with the Padres in 2007 and spent that season with their Dominican Summer League team. De Paula moved up a single rung on the organizational ladder each year, last pitching for the high-A Lake Elsinore Storm in 2011. He missed all of last season due to issues with his visa, which have since been rectified.
De Paula's most recent active season was one of setbacks. He posted his highest ERA to date- his 5.22 mark was .33 runs above the league average- and saw his K rate sink for the fifth consecutive season, to a still respectable 7.0. He continued to have struggles against right-handed batters and it has been suggested that his future may be as a lefty specialist.
If his career pattern to date is to be trusted, one could expect him to spend this season with AA San Antonio, although his sabbatical from organized ball and possible role change could see him return to some sort of A-ball. I guess that's why they have players come to camp and, you know, do stuff before they make decisions about that sort of thing. Best of luck to Jose this spring and many seasons to come.
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