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Astros’ Paulino Another Find in Recent Trade

The Houston Astros acquired right-hander David Paulino and outfielder Danry Vasquez from the Detroit Tigers at the trade deadline in 2013 for a two-month rental of reliever Jose Veras. At the time Vasquez was a rising prospect for the Tigers and the centerpiece of the deal. Paulino was nothing more than a rail-thin project to sweeten the pot.

A lot has changed since then: Paulino has bulked up, his fastball has gained velocity and the breaking ball has taken a step forward developmentally. Across three levels of A-ball this season, the 21-year-old boasts an impressive 72:19 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 67.1 innings. Here are my notes from seeing Paulino in extended spring training this year.

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Tigers’ First-Rounder Burrows Impresses in Debut

The Tigers selected right-hander Beau Burrows, one of the hardest throwing prep arms in the class, out of Weatherford High School in Texas with the 22nd-overall pick a few months ago. After quickly signing for just over slot value ($2.1 million), Burrows was assigned to the Tigers’ Rookie-league affiliate in the Gulf Coast League. The 18-year-old right-hander put together an impressive professional debut, with above-average numbers but, more importantly, Burrows’ pre-draft stuff and command were present and he showed the aptitude to adjust to pro instruction. I observed two of Burrows’ starts, on August 13 and August 27.

Physical Description
Generously listed at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, Burrows is likely closer to an even six-feet tall and has a mature build for his age. There’s solid strength in Burrows’ upper body and core. His lower half is exceptionally strong with fairly thick tree trunk legs; there’s minimal physical projection remaining. That being said, Burrows’ frame already resembles that of a potential innings eater.

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Astros Power Arm Martes Emerges as Top Prospect

Astros right hander Francis Martes started the year in extended spring training and Kiley McDaniel had him graded as a 35+ FV. Martes was one of the lesser pieces in the big Jarred Cosart/Colin Moran trade and he was in Rookie-level ball at the time of the trade. From last year to early in 2015, Martes’ velocity jumped, his breaking ball jumped from fringy to at least plus, all of which has helped his above-average changeup play even better. Last week, Kiley graded Martes as the top prospect in the minor leagues that wasn’t in his pre-season Top 200, falling somewhere among the top-50 prospects in baseball and earning at 55 FV grade.

Martes went out to Low-A from extended spring this year, then to the hitter-friendly High-A Cal League where he dominated again until the 19-year-old scorching hot prospect got the promotion to Double-A on Monday. Here’s my observations from two looks at Martes earlier this year in extended spring training, in April/May when his whirlwind season was just getting started and very few scouts were paying attention.

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