Projecting the 2018 Seattle Mariners: James Paxton

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 21: James Paxton
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 21: James Paxton /

As we prepare to shuffle away from the Kings Court and fully embrace The Maple Grove, we go from projecting the past ace of the Mariners, and now focus our sights on current M’s Ace, James Paxton.

Hey, did you know James Paxton is from Canada? Crazy right? Why did they never mention that? Oh they do every single inning he has pitched in? Who knew? But yes, the Lefty of Ladner is a the single most important pitcher for the Mariners in 2018.

Before his second DL stint forced Paxton to miss most of August and September, Paxton was a dominate force in the AL, and was receiving serious Cy Young consideration. But, as has become the tradition, Paxton was bit by the injury bug, and his injury all but ended the Mariners playoff chances.

When he does pitch, Paxton is one of the best lefties in baseball. In 2017, Paxton posted a 2.61 FIP and a 3.25 xFIP with 156 strikeout in just 136 innings. His 10.32 K/9 rate and 2.45 BB/9 rate both are excellent, as were his 45% ground ball rate.

All of these factors point to a legitimate All-Star and Cy Young candidate, if only Paxton could stay healthy. Paxton posted a 4.6 fWAR in just 136 innings last season. There are no signs of a slip coming, but can Paxton repeat his performance over 180+ innings?

Sodo Mojo’s Projections for James Paxton: 155 IP, 145 hits, 10 HR, 160 K, 40 BB, 2.90 ERA, 2.58 FIP, 1.19 WHIP

As you can see, we went half way. Do we think Paxton will throw 180 plus innings? No. But we also think he will continue to be a dominate force, and stay healthier than he did last season.

Paxton is a true wild card for the Mariners. When he pitches, we know he will be excellent. But if he can throw enough innings to qualify for a Cy Young Award, it could be a game-changer for the Mariners playoff chances.

Next: Projecting the 2018 Mariners: James Paxton

If he cannot throw more than the 136 innings, the Mariners are doomed to another season of mediocre baseball.