New York Yankees: James Paxton First Starter to Feature in Spring Training

Game three of the Yankees 2019 Grapefruit League season happens today and features James Paxton on the mound – Yankees fans first look at the Big Maple in pinstripes.  The game will start at 1:05 on YES from George M. Steinbrenner field.

The Yankees throw out this lineup against the Blue Jays and RHP Marcus Stroman:

The 30 year old left-hander went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA for the Mariners last season, striking out 208 in only 160.1 innings.  While he had some injury issues in ’18:

Mel Stottlemyre Jr., Paxton’s pitching coach for the past three seasons, notes that some of the injuries — a bruised left forearm thanks to a comebacker last August, for example — were simply out of the pitcher’s control. Others were the result of Paxton pushing too hard. “He’s a tireless, relentless worker,” says Stottlemyre. “We had to tame it. If he didn’t throw 45 to 50 pitches on the side at 90- to 100-per cent effort level, in his mind, he didn’t feel like he prepared himself.”

Paxton is healthy this spring and fans are eager to see the results of his relentless preparation.

What to expect?  The 6’4, 235 pound southpaw throws his mid-90s four-seamer roughly 60% of the time and his 88-90 mph cutter around 20% of the time, along with a long 80s curveball.  He throws fastballs 80% of the time, which BrooksBaseball.com describes as “blazing fast.”  

Mike Axisa of riveraveblues.com writes that Paxton is second only to Lance Lynn in fastball usage in the league and he generates a high number of swings and misses in the zone.  Unfortunately, his home run totals are high as he generates a high number of fly balls as well.  Fans will be eager to see how this plays out in Yankee Stadium.

Paxton’s comparables, according to Baseball Reference.com are players such as Corey Kluber, J.A. Happ and Luis Severino – all hard throwers who rely primarily on their fastballs.

Rotographs released their Top 100 Pitchers for 2019 and this is how the Yankee pitchers fared: Paxton #19, Luis Severino #12, J.A. Happ #32, Masahiro Tanaka #33 and CC Sabathia #74.

I love this rotation with it’s mix of styles and talents, it’s going to be exciting to see their success as a unit and to see how Paxton fares in the midst of it.

Paxton will share his debut with Tulowitzki, who missed the entire 2018 season for the Blue Jays.  Paxton and Tulowitzki are two important players in the Yankees plans this season for attaining #28.