The Seattle Mariners currently have a slew of young starters in their rotation. The team suffered some big setbacks this off-season, as they lost veteran Hisashi Iwakuma to the disabled list with an injured finger and star prospect Taijuan Walker to the DL with a back injury.
As a result of the team’s pitching problems, young hurler James Paxton has been thrust into the rotation. Shockingly, Paxton wasn’t anything special this spring. He posted a 0-1 record in five starts and posted a 3.18 ERA in 17 innings of work.
Manager Lloyd McClendon has been raving about Paxton all spring, though, and the left-hander has drawn vast comparisons to Andy Pettitte. The youngster has demonstrated pinpoint command and can throw some serious heat. He has a nasty curve ball and his fastball has been steadily clocked at 96 MPH after the fifth inning.
During his 2014 debut against the Los Angeles Angels, Paxton pitched a magical game. He threw seven scoreless innings and allowed just four base runners (two hits/two walks). Even better, the fireballer struck out nine batters.
Paxton wasn’t as lucky in his second start. He was still able to pick up the win in just five innings of work, but the rookie was rocked for three runs on first inning homers from Albert Pujols and David Freese. Paxton bounced back to retire 14 straight batters before leaving in the sixth inning with a strained lat muscle.
Some owners may shy away from Paxton this week due to the lat injury, but it doesn’t appear to be very serious. The southpaw will only be placed on the 15-day disabled list and will be worth stashing away until he comes back.
Paxton has earned a spot in the team’s rotation and has displayed serious fantasy potential. Grab him now before someone else locks up this hard-throwing lefty.