#45 Bryan Paukovits
Acquired: Drafted 46th Round of 2005 Amateur Draft
From: Le Mesa, California
In 2008, Bryan Paukovits was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery. Often times pitchers are able to pitch the following system, but what is also common is for pitcher's velocity to improve in the second season post surgery. This was the case for Paukovits.
Paukovits showed up on several sleeper watches for the Royals after posting a 3.32 ERA in his time in Burlington in 2010. After receiving a midseason promotion he struggled in Wilmington, but had done enough to earn a spot on my "keep an eye" on him list.
In 2011, Paukovits returned to Wilmington where he was surrounded by quality arms fighting for opportunities in the Blue Rock rotation. In part because of this, but also because he profiles better in the bullpen the Royals elected to shift him to relief in 2011.
For 2011, Paukovits posted an above league average ERA at 3.46. His K/9 came in at 7.57 which is virtually identical to the Carolina League average. However, what separates Paukovits as a potential bullpen arm is his control and propensity to force ground balls. His BB/9 in 2011, was 2.80, while his HR/9 was a minuscule 0.16. This figure was partly the result of a 47% ground ball percentage.
Paukovits has struggled with control in the Arizona Fall League allowing 7 walks in 10 innings, so he probably isn't ready to legitimately push for a bullpen spot yet. I expect him to open the year in the back of Northwest Arkansas's bullpen in 2012. If he can get his command to where it was in Wilmington and continue to improve on that ground ball rate I believe he could one day surface as a middle reliever in Kansas City.