With two starters currently down for the Yankees, it’s time for James Paxton to step up and help lead the Bombers to a title.
Way back on November 19, 2018, the New York Yankees struck a deal with the Seattle Mariners, acquiring southpaw James Paxton for top prospect Justus Sheffield, along with Erik Swanson and Dom Thompson-Williams. The Yankees acquired Paxton with the mindset that he could be an ace if he was able to completely find it on the mound. Now, two years later, the Yankees need Paxton to contribute more than ever.
James Paxton – Before the Yankees
While Spending time with Seattle, Paxton showed signs of a really good pitcher. In 102 starts with the Mariners across six seasons, Big Maple, as they call him, went 41-26 with a 3.42 ERA in 582.1 innings. He also showed elite numbers on the analytical side, too, pitching to a 3.13 FIP and a 3.36 xFIP. Lastly, Paxton struck out 617 batters, resulting in a 9.54 K/9.
The one knock on Paxton and his days with Seattle was his ability to stay on the field. Paxton, between 2014 and 2018, had seven injured list stints. These IL stints ranged from as small as an elbow contusion to spending over three months on the sideline with a lat muscle strain.
Last season, the Yankees saw the best and the not-so-best of the lefty. You could best describe his season as a roller coaster, showing flashes of brilliance to signs of being a bust. Many people, when thinking of Paxton’s success, think back to April 16 at Yankee Stadium against the Boston Red Sox. In this game, Paxton went 8.0 scoreless innings, surrendering only two hits, a walk, and a hit batter while striking out 12.
The other fond memory Yankee fans have of Paxton was how he finished off the 2019 regular season. In September, although his xFIP was 3.94, his ERA was 1.05 and had a FIP of 2.20 in 25.2 innings, striking out 30. Finally, the southpaw finished off his 2019 campaign strong in game five against the Houston Astros in the ALCS. Despite walking four batters, Paxton pitched six innings of 1-run ball, striking out nine and only allowing four hits.
Paxton Must Step Up
Big Maple recently left a bad taste in Yankee fans’ mouths after an awful performance in the Nation’s Captial on Saturday, pitching just 1+ inning and allowing five hits and three runs. On the bright side, it’s still early in the abbreviated season, and the lefty has some time to make up for his performance on Saturday. With Luis Severino out for the year after receiving Tommy John Surgery and pending free-agent Masahiro Tanaka still recovering from taking a comebacker to the head in a simulated game (although he is expected to return soon), it’s time for James Paxton to pick up the pace and help lead the Yankees to a championship.