No one expected much from David Pauley this year, but he actually turned out a few quality performances. Despite striking out only five hitters per nine innings, Pauley ran an excellent 49.8 ground-ball percentage and a 4.49 xFIP. He was even slightly unlucky in terms of home run-to-fly-ball ratio.
Notably, Pauley pitched at least six innings in ten of his fifteen starts. He was watchable. David Pauley didn’t make you cringe when you turned on your television and saw that he was pitching. He induced a sense of apathy and low expectations, which made his occasional quality start appear better than it actually was. Pauley was worth 0.1 wins-above-replacement this year, but he benefited comparison-wise from being on an awful team.
Is David Pauley going to be the next Doug Fister, a guy that comes out of nowhere and succeeds at the Major League level? No. That won’t happen. Is David Pauley an adequate rotation placeholder for a few starts next season while Michael Pineda is polished up in AAA? Yes. Is David Pauley a valuable pitcher, either now or in the future? No.
Outlook: David Pauley isn’t part the Mariners future. He’s a replacement-level-pitcher, and he pitched about to that level in 2010. He exists only to fill a temporary hole in the M’s starting rotation. I doubt we’ll see him for any sort of significant stretch of time in 2011 and beyond, unless something goes horribly, horribly wrong.