James Paxton: How Good Can He Be?

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Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Bottom Line

So what is his upside? I asked Jeff Sullivan of USS Mariner and Fangraphs what he thinks his upside, and he replied with “a healthy Erik Bedard.” On it’s face, that may not sound like high praise, as the Bedard we remember was always hurt, and not all that amazing when he did pitch.

But it’s easy to forget that Bedard was pretty awesome with the Orioles, posting the following from 2005 to 2007:
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I can’t speak for everyone, but I would take a range of 3.5-5 WAR from James Paxton in the #2 or 3 slot in the rotation. However, I think the 3-4 WAR range is actually pretty likely from what I have seen so far, with the 5 WAR mark being the upside. So if the statement of upside is morphed to “healthy, 2007 Bedard,” then I agree wholeheartedly.

Regardless of if you think Paxton will be Clayton Kershaw, Erik Bedard, or Dennis Cook (spoiler alert: he isn’t Dennis Cook. Wait, who is Dennis Cook?) there is reason to be excited about him right now, and a lengthy conversation to be had regarding his future. 95+ with a hard breaker from the left side is a good starting point for success.

As always, feel free to comment with your opinion on Paxton and his upside.