Mariners Position Battle Update: 5th Starting Pitcher
James Paxton – LHP
James Paxton leads all Mariners’ pitchers with three starts this spring. He has fared reasonably well, going 1-0 with a 4.00 ERA through 9 Cactus League innings. Paxton has struck out 3 and walked 1. His most recent outing was his most impressive. Paxton dominated the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night, allowing 1 unearned run on 3 hits through 4 innings of work.
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The Ladner, BC product’s injury history is well documented, but Paxton has been remarkably productive when healthy. He has gone 12-8 with a 3.16 ERA across 30 career starts. Paxton was once again one of the M’s better hurlers in 2015, going 3-4 with a 3.90 ERA in 13 outings. He fanned 56 and issued 29 free passes through 67 innings pitched. Aside from the lack of starts, the only red flag last year was the fact he allowed 1.433 walks/hits per inning.
The big southpaw has made just 13 starts in each of the last two seasons. He missed much of last year with a strained finger tendon on his throwing hand. 2016 is a make or break season for Paxton, and his ability to stay healthy will likely determine his future in baseball. He has the necessary skills to be a starting pitcher in the big leagues, and I’m hopeful he reaches his potential this summer in Seattle.
Next: Karns showing well in spring training