James Paxton
James Paxton
30-Year-Old PitcherSP
New York Yankees
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Big Maple's season was highlighted by a no-hitter in his home country, but it was somewhat abbreviated due to a tired shoulder in the summer that limited him to 160.1 innings. He improved his strikeout rate for a fourth consecutive season (to 32.3%), which is impressive for a pitcher with no true offspeed pitch. Yet, he has made a transition from a heavy groundball pitcher to a flyball one, and the transition has impacted his home-run rate. That rate doubled last season (to 1.29 HR/9), which was a significant factor in his ERA rising three quarters of a run over 2017. Health remains the risk with Paxton as the 160.1 innings last season were a career high. He went into the offseason with a commitment to bring a changeup into 2019, so watch for it in spring training -- he needs it. Twenty of his homers allowed were hit by righties, so adding a pitch that fades from them is needed, especially with the relocation to Yankee Stadium and the American League East. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a one-year, $8.58 million contract with the Yankees in January of 2019, avoiding arbitration.
Fans seven in no-decision
PNew York Yankees
July 15, 2019
Paxton didn't factor into the decision in Monday's 5-4 loss to the Rays, giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks over six innings while striking out seven.
ANALYSIS
The southpaw had little trouble with most of the Tampa lineup en route to his third straight quality start and sixth of the year, but Travis d'Arnaud touched him up for two solo shots -- a prelude to the catcher's game-winning blast off Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning. Paxton will carry a 3.94 ERA and 102:32 K:BB through 82.1 innings into his next outing Saturday, at home against the Rockies.
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
 
 
-21%
BAA vs RHP
2019
 
 
-17%
BAA vs RHP
2018
 
 
-39%
BAA vs RHP
2017
 
 
-14%
BAA vs LHP
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .280 280 82 15 73 15 0 3
Since 2017vs Right .222 1246 377 94 253 52 3 39
2019vs Left .306 77 22 4 22 5 0 0
2019vs Right .254 252 73 26 57 14 1 10
2018vs Left .330 112 38 7 34 8 0 3
2018vs Right .202 533 170 35 100 16 2 20
2017vs Left .198 91 22 4 17 2 0 0
2017vs Right .229 461 134 33 96 22 0 9
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
 
 
-28%
ERA at Home
2019
 
 
-32%
ERA at Home
2018
 
 
-21%
ERA at Home
2017
 
 
-33%
ERA at Home
ERA WHIP IP W L SV K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Since 2017Home 2.99 1.09 201.2 14 9 0 11.2 2.7 1.0
Since 2017Away 4.16 1.26 171.0 14 6 0 11.0 2.5 1.1
2019Home 3.26 1.24 38.2 2 2 0 11.2 4.0 0.9
2019Away 4.78 1.62 37.2 3 2 0 11.2 3.1 1.4
2018Home 3.35 0.99 86.0 5 4 0 11.7 2.0 1.3
2018Away 4.24 1.22 74.1 6 2 0 11.6 2.8 1.3
2017Home 2.45 1.12 77.0 7 3 0 10.5 2.9 0.7
2017Away 3.66 1.08 59.0 5 2 0 10.1 1.8 0.5
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Stat Review
How does James Paxton compare to other starting pitchers?
This section compares his stats with all starting pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 120 innings)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity, Barrels/BBE %, Balls Hit 95+ MPH %, and Spin Rate are benchmarked against this season's data (min 70 IP). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • K/BB
    Strikeout to walk ratio.
  • K/9
    Average strikeouts per nine innings.
  • BB/9
    Average walks per nine innings.
  • HR/9
    Average home runs allowed per nine innings.
  • Fastball
    Average fastball velocity.
  • ERA
    Earned run average. The average earned runs allowed per nine innings.
  • WHIP
    Walks plus hits per inning pitched.
  • BABIP
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many balls in play against a pitcher go for hits.
  • GB/FB
    Groundball to flyball ratio. The higher the number, the more likely a pitcher is to induce groundballs.
  • Left On Base
    The percentage of base runners that a pitcher strands on base over the course of a season.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Barrels/BBE
    The percentage of batted ball events resulting in a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
  • Spin Rate
    Spin Rate is the rate of spin on a baseball after it is released. It is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm).
  • Balls Hit 95+ MPH
    The percentage of batted balls hit that met or exceeded the 95 MPH threshold.
  • Swinging Strike
    The percentage of pitches that result in a swing and a miss.
K/BB
3.19
 
K/9
11.1
 
BB/9
3.5
 
HR/9
1.3
 
Fastball
95.4 mph
 
ERA
3.94
 
WHIP
1.43
 
BABIP
.362
 
GB/FB
1.13
 
Left On Base
78.1%
 
Exit Velocity
89.0 mph
 
Barrels/BBE
6.4%
 
Spin Rate
2199 rpm
 
Balls Hit 95+ MPH
38.9%
 
Swinging Strike
14.0%
 
Advanced Pitching Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
When healthy, Paxton pitched like an ace for the Mariners in 2017, posting an ERA under 3.00 for the first time as a full-time member of the big-league rotation. The changes were fueled by an adjustment to his pitch mix, as he nearly stopped throwing his changeup, opting to use his curveball a career-high 21.3 percent of the time. Paxton posted the best swinging-strike rate of his career (12.5 percent), en route to an increased strikeout rate (28.3 percent), while maintaining good walk and home-run rates. There is little reason to doubt Paxton's core skills as elite, but he enters his age-29 campaign without a 200-inning season under his belt as a professional (he reached 171.2 between Tacoma and Seattle in 2016). He lost time last season to forearm and pectoral strains, marking the third straight year he's required a DL stint due to an arm injury. Ideally, he can be drafted as a No. 2 fantasy starter while being paired with a more durable No. 1.
Paxton used to have a distinct delivery, in which he leaned back during his stride and pointed his glove high toward the sky. It was an aspect of his mechanics for years, but he made a major adjustment that improved his balance by largely eliminating the lean-back in his delivery, and the glove came down in conjunction. With these improved upper-body mechanics, Paxton was able to better line up the gears of rotation for his fastball, and the result was the fastest average heater (97.3 mph) of his career by nearly two full ticks. Overall, he threw his most pro innings since 2013, trimmed the walks and maintained nearly a strikeout per inning. The 28-year-old Paxton is beyond the point where we can call him a post-hype sleeper, but the improvements that he made last year appear to be legit, giving him significant upside that may still be lurking under the radar.
Paxton made the rotation out of spring training the last two years and both years missed nearly four months with an injury. In 2014, it was a lat strain. Last season, it was a strained middle finger tendon sustained in late May. He finally returned in mid-September but tore a fingernail in his third start back and was shut down for the season. When healthy, he was effective -- 12 of his 29 earned runs came in two games, leaving him with a 2.63 ERA in his other 11 starts. A groundball pitcher, Paxton has a 94-95 mph fastball, a plus curve and a good changeup. But for the second year in a row, he struggled with control (3.90 BB/9). Inconsistency has limited his K:BB to an ugly sub-2.00, and better command would likely improve his 7.5 K/9. Paxton will be back in the rotation this year as long as he's healthy, but he's 27 now and needs to take the next step with his control and command to fulfill his potential.
Paxton earned a rotation job last season after a solid spring, but just two starts into the year he suffered a lat strain that sidelined him the next four months. When he returned, he justified his prospect status, allowing two runs or fewer in nine of 11 starts. A nine-run, six-walk disaster against the Blue Jays in late September ruined his final numbers, but overall he had a promising season. Paxton's fastball averaged 94.8 mph, and his curveball proved to be the plus pitch that was expected. A groundball pitcher, Paxton needs to continue to improve his control. The Mariners would like to add another starting pitcher this season, but Paxton should still have a place in the rotation.
Paxton had an up-and-down year at Triple-A Tacoma, but it only took him four September starts with Seattle to show that he belongs in the 2014 rotation. Small sample size, yes, but the left-hander pitched two scoreless outings, including a four-hit, 10-strikeout, seven-inning shutout of the Royals in his final start. Paxton is a groundball pitcher with a mid-90s fastball. When he keeps the ball down, he's tough to hit, as right-handers found out to the tune of a .141 BAA last year. He gets into trouble when he loses command of the fastball, which is what caused his headaches in Tacoma last year, but he did not show any command issues with Seattle last season. His curveball is a potential plus-pitch, and he mixes in an effective changeup. Whether Paxton actually makes the rotation depends on various factors – the team's offseason moves, spring training, etc. But there's little doubt he is ready.
Paxton's path to the majors was a bit steeper last year than perhaps first thought heading into spring training. A knee injury caused him missed time and problems early in the year. He struggled with control and saw his command within the strikezone lacking as well, unable to consistently hit his spots. Once he got healthy, though, he looked every bit the top-prospect pitcher most expected. In the second half, he posted a a 58:22 K:BB ratio over 11 starts with a 2.40 ERA at Double-A Jackson. Paxton overpowers batters with a mid-90s fastball, but it was the development of his curve and changeup last season that really impressed. He heads to spring training this season with a legitimate chance of making the big-league rotation. The Mariners, though, have plenty of in-house options, which likely will leave Paxton at Triple-A waiting for his chance in Seattle.
One of the organization's top prospects, Paxton made his pro debut last season at Low-A Clinton and blew away the competition with 80 strikeouts in 56 innings. He then made a seamless transition from the Midwest League to Double-A Jackson in July, totaling 51 strikeouts in 39 innings with a 1.85 ERA. The 23-year-old lefty has a strong fastball/curveball combination and induces his share of groundballs, posting a 1.53 GO/AO last season. Paxton enters 2012 with a shot at the major league rotation in spring training. The Mariners likely will let him percolate at Triple-A Tacoma to at least start the year. Don't be surprised, though, if he's in Seattle by summer. Keep track of his progress and get ready to pounce, as the 6-foot-4 Paxton has tremendous upside.
More Fantasy News
Not listed for weekend start
PNew York Yankees
July 11, 2019
Paxton is not among the Yankees' probable starters for this weekend's series against the Blue Jays.
ANALYSIS
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Strikes out 11 in loss
PNew York Yankees
July 7, 2019
Paxton (5-4) struck out 11 while allowing two runs on seven hits and no walks through six innings to take the loss against the Rays on Sunday.
ANALYSIS
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Allows one earned run
PNew York Yankees
July 2, 2019
Paxton allowed one earned run on eight hits and two walks while striking out three across six innings Tuesday against the Mets. He did not factor into the decision.
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Yields six runs in no-decision
PNew York Yankees
June 26, 2019
Paxton allowed six runs on eight hits with four walks and three strikeouts across 4.1 innings during an no-decision against the Blue Jays on Wednesday.
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Notches fifth victory
PNew York Yankees
June 21, 2019
Paxton (5-3) earned the win after allowing one run on five hits and three walks while striking out seven over five innings Friday night against the Astros.
ANALYSIS
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