After watching him overmatch hitters in the low Class A South Atlantic League, the Yankees are promoting righthander Rafael DePaula to high Class A Tampa.
DePaula, 22, has been as good as advertised in his U.S. debut. Over 13 starts for Charleston, Depaula maintained a 2.94 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings (13.4 K/9) and 23 walks. He ranks fourth in the minors in strikeouts, only two behind minor league leader Daniel Winkler of the Rockies despite having faced 66 fewer hitters.
DePaula first emerged on the prospect radar as an amateur pitcher in the Dominican Republic nearly five years ago, but issues with his background (including an MLB suspension before he ever signed a contract and an age change) delayed his arrival into pro ball. After signing for $500,000 in 2010 and going through an elongated process to receive his visa and get his contract approved, DePaula made his debut in the Dominican Summer League last year and ranked as the organization’s No. 10 prospect before arriving in Charleston this season.