Juan De Paula is just 21 years old but is now headed to his fourth organization since signing with the Seattle Mariners on July 2, 2014. He was sent to the New York Yankees in 2016 along with fellow pitcher Jio Orozco in exchange for Ben Gamel. Then last year, in another waiver deadline deal, he was sent to the San Francisco Giants along with Abiatal Avelino as the Yankees added Andrew McCutchen for the stretch run. On Tuesday morning De Paula was dealt for another outfielder, Kevin Pillar, as he will head to the Toronto Blue Jays, who also get Derek Law and Alen Hanson in the deal.
De Paula is a quite lean 6’3” right handed pitcher who can sit 94-96 consistently with a good downhill plane. He has decent balance in his delivery but does not repeat the arm slot and speed well, always coming out of a lower 3/4 slot but with varying bend at the elbow. The inconsistency and late effort does lead to some command trouble that will likely prevent him from sticking as a starter in the long term. The arm slot does allow the fastball to have a ton of run when it is at is best, making it an above average offering. The curve is his best secondary offering, sometimes showing 12-6 but more often an 11-5 break. It hangs too often and comes with bend in the arm that makes it easy to read, but when he really snaps it off there is plenty to like about it and is a future average offering. He also has a change but it is far from polished, easy to recognize, and lacks movement, so it gets hit hard often.
Overall, De Paula has a ceiling of a solid middle reliever with a 55 grade fastball and 50 grade curve, although the command and delivery concerns land him with an OFV of 45. He may be well traveled, but it means there are teams that like what they see in him. I expect him to start briefly in extended to get familiar with the Blue Jays organization, but quickly get out to Low A and earn a promotion to High A this season.