Paxton dominated the visiting Rays for six strong innings, allowing just one earned run on four hits to secure his first major league win. His lone mistake was giving up a home run to Evan Longoria in the top of the sixth as the Mariners went on to win 6-2.
Paxton is one of a trio of young Seattle pitching prospects that have been working their way through the minors over the last few seasons, the other two being Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker. Walker made his debut about a week ago and has looked good in two starts, while Hultzen has yet to be called up and remains in triple-A Tacoma.
With their rising stars looking good at the MLB level, the Seattle rotation will almost certainly look very different next season. Felix Hernandez will again lead their pitching staff and Hisashi Iwakuma will be back as well, but the remaining three slots will most likely be filled by Erasmo Ramirez, Taijuan Walker and Paxton.
Seattle rolled the dice with limited success in 2013 on starting pitchers Joe Saunders, Aaron Harang and Jeremy Bonderman. Neither Harang or Bonderman are even with the Mariners anymore after being DFA’d and then released, and I think it is unlikely that Saunders will be invited back in 2014.
That opens up the necessary spots for the young pitchers that have been shining in the minors to show their stuff in the big show.