Friday, April 09, 2010

Xavier Paul's X-Factor

Dodger minor leaguer Xavier Paul got some nice publicity in the Albuquerque Journal this Wednesday (no link; subscription only). In Will Webber's feature story, "The X-Factor; Outfielder Xavier Paul Has Attention of the Dodgers," the Albuquerque Isotopes' starting outfielder was profiled as a pretty level-headed guy:

“Being here is not exactly where I wanted to be to start the year, but I’m going to make the most of it,” Paul said during Tuesday’s media day workout at Isotopes Park. “I really enjoy it here. The fans are similar to L.A., and if you’re going to play minor league ball anywhere, it might as well be here.”

Paul was reportedly one of the last players sent down as the Dodgers broke camp last week. Manager Joe Torre has said he expects Paul to be a factor in the Los Angeles outfield before too long.

For now, the wait is on.

Paul said he’ll spend that time improving on some of the finer points of the game — like staying patient at the plate and giving Dodger scouts fewer opportunities to discredit his bloated offensive stats because he plays in the rarefied air of Albuquerque.

He began last season hitting .408 (31-for-76) in April. He finished at .328 with two homers and 16 RBI in 31 games for the Isotopes.

“This is a hitter’s park, but it’s not really like that for me,” Paul said. “I’m not a guy that hits the ball in the air a lot. My swing doesn’t create much lift, so you see a lot of the balls I hit stay on the ground. You don’t need a hitter’s park to hit ground balls.”

Paul, 25, spent most of the offseason working out on his own. He played a few weeks in an instructional league in Arizona last October, but he opted not to take part in winter ball. [...]

“The main goal was to come into (spring training) showing the organization I was healthy and had the ability to play in the big leagues,” he said. “I think the reason I’m here right now is they have a really crowded outfield and they wanted me to get at-bats every day. Up there I might only get a pinch hit every few games. I’d rather play every day, and if it means staying here for a while I’m OK with it.” [...]

“I got a chance to be up there last year, and it was great,” Paul said. “I’m a young guy with some options left. If I can get the job done here I know I’ll get another chance.”

With Jason Repko off to the Twin Cities, it appears Paul will be the next outfielder in waiting (not that we want Andre Ethier's ankle injury to be worse than it sounds). Props to the X-Man for his positive attitude. Let's hope the only "bitter sacrifice" awaiting X-Paul happens to be a long, run-scoring fly out that just misses going out of the park by inches.

Xavier Paul head from / Sport PR photos


Dodgerbobble said...

XP really impressed me in Spring Training. I think this kid will make a fine major-leaguer.

Unknown said...

Can't wait to see Paul in Albuquerque this season. Isotopes won the first game of the season last night!!!

Josh S. said...

I wonder if he has to keep avoiding Leach so his abilities don't get canceled out.

Delino DeShields, Sr said...

Off topic - I was in a comic book store and an artist from the X Factor was hanging out, randomly signing copies. I bought my one and only issue that day.