Juan De Paula was signed by the Seattle Mariners as an international free agent in 2014 as a 16-year-old out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The 6-foot-3 right-hander was acquired by the New York Yankees on Aug. 31, 2016 in a trade with Seattle that sent outfielder Ben Gamel to the Mariners. After not being ranked last year, De Paula enters the 2018 season as the #30 ranked prospect in the Yankees organization according to Pinstriped Prospects.
De Paula had an impressive showing in his professional baseball-debut season. He threw 77 2/3 innings for the Mariners’ Dominican Summer League squad where he posted a 2.32 ERA with a 4.53 strikeout-to-walk ratio that caught the organization’s attention. De Paula also finished the season with a 0.99 WHIP.
De Paula had the chance to showcase his abilities in the US in his second pro season as he shined in the Arizona Rookie League. Still just 18 years old at the time, De Paula posted a 3.07 ERA in 11 games (41 IP), while improving his strikeout rate (per 9 IP) from 7.9 to 11.6. The youngster also saw his fastball velocity jump a few ticks from high-80s to low-90s on a more consistent basis.
De Paula spent his first season in the Yankees organization at short-season Low-A Staten Island where he continued to improve and shine. Still just 19 throughout the 2017 season, De Paula continued to increase his fastball velocity, finding consistency between 92-95 mph. He also worked on refining his delivery and it translated to an astounding 2.90 ERA over 12 games (11 starts) where he struck out 53 over 62 innings and finished with a 1.08 WHIP. De Paula also earned NY-Penn League Pitcher of The Week honors twice – for the weeks of Aug. 13 and Aug. 20.