Santa Fe Christian senior Dillon Paulson has been nearly flawless this season as a pitcher, but scouts project him as a hitter at the next level.
School comes easy for Dillon Paulson.
One read and he has pretty much mastered the material.
Baseball doesn’t come quite as easy, but Paulson’s numbers on the field are equally as impressive as those off it.
Headed for USC with an eye on majoring in finance, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Paulson carries a 4.09 GPA.
If you doubt that number, look at the schools he turned down — USD, UCLA and Vanderbilt.
A left-handed pitcher, Paulson is 7-0 with a 0.15 ERA this season. He has allowed just one earned run in 48 innings with four walks and 63 strikeouts on a team that is 19-3 and ranked No. 2 in the county.
He has complete-game shutouts of Otay Ranch, Patrick Henry, Rancho Buena Vista, Del Norte and Bishop’s.
A first baseman, he’s hitting .450 with four home runs, 10 doubles and 23 RBIs. In the field he has handled 119 chances without an error.
With his fastball velocity sitting at 85-86 mph, pro scouts like Paulson as a hitter.
And that’s OK with him.
“I’m a position player who pitches,” Paulson said. “I don’t like pitching. I do it because it helps the team.
“But I love playing first base. I love hitting.”
With a 335-foot fence in right field and a wind blowing out at USC’s Dedeaux Field, Trojans coaches also see him as a hitter.
“Dillon led the state in RBIs (47) last season, was Coastal League Player of the Year and first-team All-CIF,” said Santa Fe Christian coach Don Mitchell. “And he hasn’t slacked off.
“He made a commitment to the physical side this season. He’s in great shape.
“His baseball IQ is above his years. Whether he’s pitching, hitting or playing the field, he rarely makes a mental mistake.”
Paulson’s father, Dennis, played golf at San Diego State, was a two-time California State Open winner, had seven professional wins and finished 14th in the 2000 Masters.
Dennis Paulson now works as a commentator on the PGA Tour for SiriusXM Radio.
“I’d like to take credit for Dillon’s success, but his mother (Linda) has done a great job with the boys,” Dennis said of Dillon and his younger son Ethan, who plays on the Santa Fe Christian JV team.
Dillon said his father outfitted him with the best golf equipment and got him the best instruction.
But never pushed his son toward the sport.
“My dad knows what it takes to compete at the top level,” Dillon said. “He hates losing.
“But I’m not a good golfer.
“I can’t understand why I can hit a ball traveling 90 mph and make it go where I want, but I can’t make a ball sitting on the ground do what I want.”
Dennis Paulson said he was a good baseball player growing up, but gravitated to golf because he liked having the pressure on himself.
“Team sports are so important because of the social aspect, the interaction with teammates and coaches,” Dennis said. “When Dillon decided baseball was his path, I just hoped his high school coaches wouldn’t screw him up.
“They’ve been tremendous.
“Every day he comes home from practice and says he had fun. How many kids can say that?
“He’s really smart, might even be an underachiever in the classroom. But he’ll only be 17 when he graduates, so he’s done something right.”
The pro baseball draft is June 8. Scouts say Paulson could go as high as the third round.
“Pro ball is the end goal,” he said. “But you become an adult very quickly when you sign that pro contract. I don’t know if my body is mature enough now to compete with 22-year-old guys in pro ball where the bad guys are throwing 94 mph.”
Dennis Paulson said he kids his son about pro ball.
“I tell him if you play in the minor leagues you’ll meet your first wife,” Dennis said.
“If you go to USC, you’ll meet your only wife.
“So we’ll wait and see. Whatever happen, happens.”
THE PAULSON FILE
Year / Avg / 2B/ HR / RBI
So. / .351 / 9 / 2 / 22
Jr. / .455 / 10 / 4 / 47
Sr. / .450 / 10 / 4 / 23
Totals / .413 / 29 / 10 / 92
Year / IP / Hits / ER / BB / K / ERA / Rec
So. / 67.3 / 26 / 17 / 18 / 46 / 1.77 / 6-2
Jr. / 68 / 21 / 17 / 17 / 68 / 1.65 / 7-2
Sr. / 48 / 27 / 1 / 4 / 63 / 0.15 / 7-0
Totals /183.3 / 74 / 35 / 39 / 177 / 1.33 / 20-4