In 2001, the San Diego Padres drafted David Pauley out of high school in the eighth round. In 2003 with the Wizards, he posted a 7-7 record with a 3.29 earned run average to go along with 117 strikeouts and 38 bases on balls over 117.2 innings pitched. He started in 21 of his 22 games and did earn one save as a Wizard.
By 2004, Pauley had received recognition by Baseball America as the seventh best prospect in the San Diego Padres organization. However, after the 2004 season, San Diego shipped Pauley to the Boston Red Sox along with Jay Payton and Ramon Vazquez plus cash in exchange for speedy Dave Roberts.
In May of 2006, Pauley made his Major League debut, starting against the Toronto Blue Jays. He was called up from Boston’s Double-A affiliate at the time (Portland) to spot start for the injured David Wells. He allowed six runs on 11 hits over just 4 and two-thirds innings. However, despite the poor first outing, the Red Sox did win 8-6.
“I was definitely nervous,” Pauley said. “I knew it was going to be tough. I thought I dealt with it pretty well. It’s just a stepping stone to my next one” [source: YahooSports]
He appeared in two more games with Boston during the remainder of the 2006 season, pitching in a total of 16 innings, while also pitching with the Red Sox’s Triple-A squad. Pauley pitched all of 2007 in Triple-A Pawtucket.
In 2008, Pauley began the year with Triple-A Pawtucket where he went 14-4 with a 3.55 ERA and 103 strikeouts over 147 innings pitched. In August, he returned to the Fenway mound – but it was against the Charlotte Knights in a “Futures at Fenway” game. He went seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out four en route to his thirteenth victory of that season in front of 36,000 spectators.
Pauley did get the chance to pitch a couple innings in relief with the Red Sox in September. The moves that Boston makes over the course of this offseason will likely play big into Pauley’s future. He is on Boston’s 40-man roster and therefore not in jeopardy of being snagged in the upcoming Rule-5 Draft. His solid season in Pawtucket seems to indicate that he has figured out Triple-A and is looking for his place at the next level. Whether he can crack the rotation in Boston or land a place in the bullpen remains to be seen.
Pauley mixes a very good sinker with a low 90s fastball with good movement, a good changeup, and a nice curveball. Has 5th starter potential at the MLB level. Pauley has demonstrated solid success against AAA competition for extended periods of time, but has yet to impress much at the big league level, although he hasn’t been given much of an opportunity. Needs to improve his control somewhat. Gives up a lot of home runs. Good fielder with a strong pick-off move [soxprospects.com].
Boston also has to fill the catcher and fourth outfielder spot; which could be filled by former Wizards George Kottaras and Paul McAnulty (though it is unlikely). Boston has been known to pull of some solid trades in recent years, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pauley get shipped or slotted in at the number five role, which is currently available to my knowledge.
Regardless, it seems that Pauley should and will be entering Spring Training in 2009 with his eyes set on winning a job on the Major League roster.
Update – January 19th, 2009: OMG! I was right! David Pauley got traded . . . to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for pitcher, Randor Bierd. Hopefully Pauley will get a good shot at cracking the Major League roster.
Update – July 4, 2010: David Pauley was granted ffree agency from the Orioles in November of 2009 and he signed with the Seattle Mariners about a month later. Through 2010, Pauley had been 1-6 with a 3.68 earned run average in 15 games for the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers. Last week, he was called up to the Bigs when Mike Sweeney went on the DL. Pauley hasn’t allowed a run in three innings since being recalled.