July 5, 2011
Link to original story, first published online at milb.com 6/30/11
By: Bob Sutton
Dan Paolini solved much of the mystery involving new bat requirements during the college season, and he carried that solid hitting stroke into his first professional assignment with the Appalachian League's Pulaski Mariners.
Coming off a college career for Siena as one of the country's top power hitters, he has settled in well with Pulaski. He batted .389 during his first week as a pro.
"So far, it has gone smooth," Paolini said. "If you still hit it good, the ball still goes good. Swing at good pitches and get good lift. As long as you barrel balls up, the ball will go."
The second baseman was a 10th-round pick by the Seattle Mariners in June.
"Going into my junior year, everyone kind of knows about the numbers you put up," Paolini said. "My whole goal was to concentrate and make good contact on the ball."
He maintained a decent pace. Paolini's 19 home runs this year tied for the seventh most in Division I. That followed a sophomore season when he belted a MAAC-record 26 homers.
He did this as a 190-pound player who bats from the right side. He said he never allowed the fact that he's not a hulking player get in the way of making good contact.
"I'm not big, so I don't have that pure power," he said. "I'm not trying to do too much. Just trying to stay level."
He made adjustments during his final college season. He said he saw fewer fastballs, but more than two-thirds of his homers came on off-speed pitches, and he said he viewed his ability to adjust as a significant benefit to his development.
With Pulaski, he was one of only two players with more than one double through the first week of the season. He belted a team-leading three in six games and also smacked a triple.
Pulaski manager Rob Mummau, who's also an amateur scout for the organization, said Paolini has created a solid early impression with his hard-nosed play. Despite a slightly unorthodox approach in the batter's box -- an uppercut to his swing and a leg movement -- there's no reason to change at this point, Mummau said.
"He has some raw power," he said. "I could see him as an offensive second baseman."
Paolini said he has always been a second baseman. Though his size at six-foot doesn't make him large for a power hitter, he'll be bigger than many of the second basemen on the Rookie level. He said he also could play as an outfielder.
Paolini indicated that he felt good about his Draft position after a three-year college stint. He said he hopes to continue to make the progress that he showed at Siena.
"I just carried that through," he said. "I'm ready to start a new book."