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Sunday, April 16, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE: JAMES PAXTON SP SEATTLE MARINERS

Now with three scoreless starts to begin his season in the books, here is what I wrote about Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton in spring training:

Sometimes a pitcher or hitter who appears in very small injury-abbreviated sample sizes can get lost in the shuffle and remain off the fantasy baseball radar.  This certainly applies to emerging Seattle Mariners lefty James Paxton who over the last three years has been hinting to us that there is some big-time potential lurking in his arm. We saw injury-abbreviated when it comes to Paxton due to the fact the label fits him like a glove going back to 2014.  That was when Paxton made his first extended foray into the majors with the Mariners and immediately gained notice when he logged a 3.04 ERA in 74 innings for the team.  The same thing happened in 2015 as Paxton this time got into only 67 innings with the team but still was solid with a 3.90 ERA.  In both those campaigns, Paxton put up a decent but not great mid-7.00 K/9 rate and also struggled with control as his BB/9 went above 3.50 in each.  However Paxton really became a major source of interest last season as he began to work out the kinks and hint at front-of-the-rotation ability for the M's. While again limited by injury, Paxton pitched to a 3.79 ERA in his 121 innings and better yet, boosted his K/9 to 8.70 and vastly lowered his BB/9 to a terrific 1.79.  With Paxton also not giving up home runs (0.67 HR/9), he clearly was putting it all together as a pitcher.  Now 28 and entering into 2017 as a firm member of the Mariners rotation with emerging high-end stuff in a spacious ballpark, Paxton now belongs on almost all the fantasy baseball sleeper lists that are out there.  Consider that Paxton's FIP ERA last season was a tiny 2.80 and you can see more clearly how he is a guy that could supply you some crazy value this season.  Paxton's draft price is quite affordable and that makes him a tremendous buy-low arm to use as your SP 4.  With an ability to pitch so much above that draft level, Paxton is one of the better value upside sleepers this season.

2017 PROJECTION:  12-8 3.22 ERA 1.24 WHIP 155 K  

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