Once 2017 fantasy baseball drafts got fully underway, a few things became very clear. Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout was still the consensus number 1 pick and Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton was wanted by all in the fantasy baseball community. Heading into his age 28 season and operating in one of the best pitching parks in the majors, Paxton seemed to be in a "planets aligning" setup for a big breakout campaign. Previously Paxton had hinted at big-time ability in registering ERA's of 3.04, 3.90, and 3.79 in his first three interrupted major league campaigns and his stuff showed itself to be potent to the point of generating a high amount of strikeouts. Now when I mentioned the word "interrupted" in discussing Paxton's previous stints in the majors, that was due to the fact the guy simply could not stay healthy to put a complete season together and thus show what he truly could achieve. For as talented as Paxton is, his arm and body has not cooperated since coming to the Mariners and that injury-prone label followed him to 2017 drafts as well. Still many looked past that and saw a guy whose velocity was in the upper-90's and who in 2016 began to control his stuff like he never had shown before.
Fast forward to present time and overall one would have to say that Paxton has been every bit as good as advertised. Heading into Wednesday's action, Paxton has accumulated the following numbers:
Looking at the numbers above, you would have to say that Paxton has pitched like a slam dunk fantasy baseball ace in every way. The record is glowing first of all and the ERA and WHIP are as good as it gets. The topper in all of the fun is the 10.48 K/9 which is power ace level and is vastly up from the 8.70 in 2016. Yes Paxton once again landed on the DL earlier in the season but he is back pitching healthy and for now is as good a hurler as there is in fantasy baseball. Which means Paxton is one of the rare cases where a guy that everyone wanted at the draft table panned out.