After his brutal outing Friday in Texas, most figured Felipe Paulino‘s time in the White Sox’ rotation had run out. Saturday afternoon he was sent to the disabled list with rotator cuff inflammation, proving many right.
The team called up Andre Rienzo from AAA Charlotte to take his spot after making ten starts for the team late last season.
We recently discussed Paulino’s immediate future with the team and possible candidates to take over the no. 5 starter role. As we’d said, Rienzo may not have tons of upside, but he does have the most upside of all the team’s options and at 25 years old, it’s time to figure out exactly what you have in the Brazilian prospect.
The reason the team put Paulino on the DL instead of waiving him is to make sure they don’t lose out on him entirely. By putting him on the DL, he can take some time off to get himself together and then make as many “rehab starts” as necessary. Hopefully in those outings he can get in a groove, and if so he may get another shot with the Sox.
But lets discuss Rienzo, as you’ve got to figure it’ll be his job to lose even when Paulino is fully healthy.
Last year, Andre made ten starts going 2-3 posting a 4.82 ERA and a 1.482 WHIP. He was nowhere near spectacular, as you can tell from those numbers, but he was solid more times out than not.
He had six quality starts and posted a decent line another time or two. In his good starts, he was very efficient with his pitches, didn’t let up many hits, and minimized the walks.
Because he’s a guy that pitches to contact (38 K’s in 56 IP) even when he is successful, the walks are key. In his minor league career he’s given up 3.7 free passes per nine innings, and last year for the Sox that number rose to 4.5. So keeping that number down will be huge for him.
He also just has to keep the ball down the zone. He has a lot of natural sink to his pitches, so when he does keep it down, hitters usually beat the ball into the ground. But when the ball is left up, he’s awfully hittable.
Rienzo’s main tasks will be keeping the team in games and not forcing Robin Ventura to have to go to his bullpen too early in the games he starts. Paulino was not able to do either of those things, so the club had to make the change. If Rienzo doesn’t succeed, they won’t wait too long to turn to one of the other options for the gig we mentioned.