Looking back at this year a lot went right for the Mariners. Pitching in particular was fantastic. With one of the best staffs in the league the Mariners were able to have their most successful season in years.
Looking forward it should continue to be strong and while Jack Zduriencik is always looking for more pitching I think we can expect those returning to put on another great showing.
Although very early in his career right now, James Paxton has shown what he can do in the majors. Injury kept him from a complete season this year but with only one bad start in his career I think we are all curious about what he can do in a full year.
Just two years ago Paxton was struggling in the minors and many believed he might end up as a bullpen arm.
Then after fully recovering from injury, he bounced back to have a great 2013 and made his major debut in September of that year. Since then Paxton has pitched fantastically. His fastball sits around 92-94 but we have seen him reach back and throw it in the upper 90s and his curve is devastating.
A power pitching lefty is a hot commodity in the league and Paxton is making a name for himself in a rotation that already features two big names in Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. Going into next year that will be a great core to begin in the starting rotation.
It will be interesting to see what he can do with a full year. *Fingers crossed* Next year we’ll have the chance to see him take on a full workload.
Will this help him grow into a better pitcher or was the time on the DL keeping him fresh this year and that’s why he was able to succeed?
I believe we will see him take a step forward next year. Paxton stands 6’4” with a large frame which helps him throw his pitches seeming effortlessly. Injury has knocked him back a few times but I believe if he avoids injury he will still have the stamina to last an entire season.
Not only do I expect him to take a step forward but I’m expecting him to be a force in the rotation. He’s flashed his strikeout ability in several starts but it wasn’t very consistent. In 13 starts this year he struck out batters at a 7.18 K/9 rate.
Not bad, but watching some of the his games this year you can see there is potential for that number to rise.
In particular, two of the three game he played against the Angels he struck out 9 and 8 in those games while going 7 and 6 2/3 innings. Taking just two games isn’t proving the point but just showing that he was able to put those numbers up against a powerful Angels offense shows something.
I think a full year of Paxton will bring more games like these. While the team already depended on him this season, next season I think he takes on a larger role and helps contribute to what can be the best starting rotation in the majors.