James Paxton
James Paxton
29-Year-Old PitcherSP
Seattle Mariners
Out
Injury Illness
Est. Return 9/24/2018
2018 Fantasy Outlook
When healthy, Paxton pitched like an ace for the Mariners in 2017, posting an ERA under 3.00 for the first time as a full-time member of the big-league rotation. The changes were fueled by an adjustment to his pitch mix, as he nearly stopped throwing his changeup, opting to use his curveball a career-high 21.3 percent of the time. Paxton posted the best swinging-strike rate of his career (12.5 percent), en route to an increased strikeout rate (28.3 percent), while maintaining good walk and home-run rates. There is little reason to doubt Paxton's core skills as elite, but he enters his age-29 campaign without a 200-inning season under his belt as a professional (he reached 171.2 between Tacoma and Seattle in 2016). He lost time last season to forearm and pectoral strains, marking the third straight year he's required a DL stint due to an arm injury. Ideally, he can be drafted as a No. 2 fantasy starter while being paired with a more durable No. 1. Read Past Outlooks
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$Agreed to a one-year, $4.9 million deal with the Mariners in January of 2018, avoiding arbitration.
Bullpen slated for Friday
PSeattle Mariners
Illness
September 19, 2018
Paxton (illness) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Paxton has been sidelined since Sept. 7 while battling pneumonia. He fired a successful bullpen session Tuesday and will throw another Friday before being reevaluated. The southpaw is still hoping to make two more starts before the end of the season, though he'll need to return early next week for that to happen.
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Pitching Stats
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2016
 
 
-15%
BAA vs RHP
2018
 
 
-41%
BAA vs RHP
2017
 
 
-14%
BAA vs LHP
2016
 
 
-2%
BAA vs RHP
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2016vs Left .273 278 68 18 70 11 2 4
Since 2016vs Right .233 1392 399 85 301 62 4 35
2018vs Left .333 105 35 7 32 8 0 3
2018vs Right .198 502 159 35 92 15 2 18
2017vs Left .198 91 22 4 17 2 0 0
2017vs Right .229 461 134 33 96 22 0 9
2016vs Left .284 82 11 7 21 1 2 1
2016vs Right .278 429 106 17 113 25 2 8
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2016
 
 
-22%
ERA at Home
2018
 
 
-19%
ERA at Home
2017
 
 
-33%
ERA at Home
2016
 
 
-11%
ERA at Home
ERA WHIP IP W L SV K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Since 2016Home 3.11 1.10 208.2 14 11 0 10.4 2.3 0.9
Since 2016Away 3.99 1.23 198.2 15 7 0 10.2 2.2 0.9
2018Home 3.43 0.99 76.0 5 4 0 11.6 2.3 1.2
2018Away 4.24 1.22 74.1 6 2 0 11.6 2.8 1.3
2017Home 2.45 1.12 77.0 7 3 0 10.5 2.9 0.7
2017Away 3.66 1.08 59.0 5 2 0 10.1 1.8 0.5
2016Home 3.56 1.24 55.2 2 4 0 8.7 1.6 0.6
2016Away 3.99 1.36 65.1 4 3 0 8.7 1.9 0.7
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Stat Review
How does James Paxton compare to other starting pitchers?
This section compares his stats with all starting pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 120 innings). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
K/BB
4.62
 
K/9
11.6
 
BB/9
2.5
 
HR/9
1.3
 
Fastball
95.4 mph
 
ERA
3.83
 
WHIP
1.10
 
BABIP
.309
 
GB/FB
1.08
 
Strand %
70.3%
 
Advanced Pitching Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Today's Lineup
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
Paxton used to have a distinct delivery, in which he leaned back during his stride and pointed his glove high toward the sky. It was an aspect of his mechanics for years, but he made a major adjustment that improved his balance by largely eliminating the lean-back in his delivery, and the glove came down in conjunction. With these improved upper-body mechanics, Paxton was able to better line up the gears of rotation for his fastball, and the result was the fastest average heater (97.3 mph) of his career by nearly two full ticks. Overall, he threw his most pro innings since 2013, trimmed the walks and maintained nearly a strikeout per inning. The 28-year-old Paxton is beyond the point where we can call him a post-hype sleeper, but the improvements that he made last year appear to be legit, giving him significant upside that may still be lurking under the radar.
Paxton made the rotation out of spring training the last two years and both years missed nearly four months with an injury. In 2014, it was a lat strain. Last season, it was a strained middle finger tendon sustained in late May. He finally returned in mid-September but tore a fingernail in his third start back and was shut down for the season. When healthy, he was effective -- 12 of his 29 earned runs came in two games, leaving him with a 2.63 ERA in his other 11 starts. A groundball pitcher, Paxton has a 94-95 mph fastball, a plus curve and a good changeup. But for the second year in a row, he struggled with control (3.90 BB/9). Inconsistency has limited his K:BB to an ugly sub-2.00, and better command would likely improve his 7.5 K/9. Paxton will be back in the rotation this year as long as he's healthy, but he's 27 now and needs to take the next step with his control and command to fulfill his potential.
Paxton earned a rotation job last season after a solid spring, but just two starts into the year he suffered a lat strain that sidelined him the next four months. When he returned, he justified his prospect status, allowing two runs or fewer in nine of 11 starts. A nine-run, six-walk disaster against the Blue Jays in late September ruined his final numbers, but overall he had a promising season. Paxton's fastball averaged 94.8 mph, and his curveball proved to be the plus pitch that was expected. A groundball pitcher, Paxton needs to continue to improve his control. The Mariners would like to add another starting pitcher this season, but Paxton should still have a place in the rotation.
Paxton had an up-and-down year at Triple-A Tacoma, but it only took him four September starts with Seattle to show that he belongs in the 2014 rotation. Small sample size, yes, but the left-hander pitched two scoreless outings, including a four-hit, 10-strikeout, seven-inning shutout of the Royals in his final start. Paxton is a groundball pitcher with a mid-90s fastball. When he keeps the ball down, he's tough to hit, as right-handers found out to the tune of a .141 BAA last year. He gets into trouble when he loses command of the fastball, which is what caused his headaches in Tacoma last year, but he did not show any command issues with Seattle last season. His curveball is a potential plus-pitch, and he mixes in an effective changeup. Whether Paxton actually makes the rotation depends on various factors – the team's offseason moves, spring training, etc. But there's little doubt he is ready.
Paxton's path to the majors was a bit steeper last year than perhaps first thought heading into spring training. A knee injury caused him missed time and problems early in the year. He struggled with control and saw his command within the strikezone lacking as well, unable to consistently hit his spots. Once he got healthy, though, he looked every bit the top-prospect pitcher most expected. In the second half, he posted a a 58:22 K:BB ratio over 11 starts with a 2.40 ERA at Double-A Jackson. Paxton overpowers batters with a mid-90s fastball, but it was the development of his curve and changeup last season that really impressed. He heads to spring training this season with a legitimate chance of making the big-league rotation. The Mariners, though, have plenty of in-house options, which likely will leave Paxton at Triple-A waiting for his chance in Seattle.
One of the organization's top prospects, Paxton made his pro debut last season at Low-A Clinton and blew away the competition with 80 strikeouts in 56 innings. He then made a seamless transition from the Midwest League to Double-A Jackson in July, totaling 51 strikeouts in 39 innings with a 1.85 ERA. The 23-year-old lefty has a strong fastball/curveball combination and induces his share of groundballs, posting a 1.53 GO/AO last season. Paxton enters 2012 with a shot at the major league rotation in spring training. The Mariners likely will let him percolate at Triple-A Tacoma to at least start the year. Don't be surprised, though, if he's in Seattle by summer. Keep track of his progress and get ready to pounce, as the 6-foot-4 Paxton has tremendous upside.
More Fantasy News
Not listed among weekend's starters
PSeattle Mariners
Illness
September 19, 2018
Paxton (illness) is not listed among the Mariners' starters for their weekend series against the Rangers, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Throws bullpen session
PSeattle Mariners
Illness
September 19, 2018
Paxton (illness) threw a lengthy bullpen session at Minute Maid Park prior to Tuesday's game against the Astros, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Back with Mariners
PSeattle Mariners
Illness
September 17, 2018
Paxton (illness) joined the Mariners on Monday, though he remains without a return date, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
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Targeting return next weekend
PSeattle Mariners
Illness
September 16, 2018
Mariners manager Scott Servais said there's a "small percentage" chance that Paxton could start Wednesday against the Astros, but it's more likely the lefty rejoins the rotation next weekend versus the Rangers, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
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Exact return date still unclear
PSeattle Mariners
Illness
September 16, 2018
Paxton (illness) emerged from Saturday's catch session without setbacks, but his exact return date to the rotation remains up in the air, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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