The New York Yankees were banking on a strong season from lefty James Paxton when MLB kicked off in July. Unfortunately, he was battered in his first few turns and showed dimished velocity, which was a concerning development because in the vast majority of cases, that is associated with an injury.
Since starting in the 90-91 mph range, Paxton’s velo was slowly starting to creep up to more respectable levels, but still, far from the 95.5 mph he averaged in 2019. And, as it turns out, he was injured: a left flexor strain cost him the rest of the season, as he hit the injured list after making only five starts.
Now, the New York Yankees’ left-hander isn’t associated with the team anymore, as he is now a free agent. In a market short of elite pitching, Paxton could secure a relatively good deal if he shows other teams he’s healthy.
The former Yankees’ pitcher is generating interest
According to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi, Paxton reached 94 mph during a recent throwing session for scouts. That’s an encouraging sign for the southpaw. It’s not quite his usual velocity, but at this time of the year, clubs will see it as a good sign.
According to Morosi, “as many as 20 teams” sent representatives to watch the workout. It’s not yet known if the Yankees were on that group.
Paxton’s agent, Scott Boras, has naturally been talking up his player, saying that he’s healthy and that he is generating plenty of interest in the open market. His recent showcase seems to validate both claims.
Overall, Paxton is looking to leave behind a very bad 2020 on a personal level. He struggled to a 6.64 ERA in 20.1 frames, and while his FIP was a much more decent 4.37, it was clear from the beginning that he was dealing with some kind of injury. In the five starts he covered for the Yankees this season, his fastball averaged 92.1 mph.