Paxton Dealt to New York
The New York Yankees have just made a big splash in the trade market. The pinstripes went all in on 30-year-old James Paxton. “The Big Maple” is a hard-throwing left-hand pitcher, sitting 95-98 MPH with his fastball and can touch 90 MPH with his slider. When he puts it all together Paxton is magical to watch. What I really like about his pitch selection is the depth he gets on his slider combined with a filthy curveball. They end up at similar points but cross the plate at different angles with a roughly eight MPH difference in velocity. Paxton has had some elite showings, such as his 16 strikeout performance in seven shutout innings against the Oakland Athletics. He would then follow that game up with a no-hitter on May 8th, 2018.
While Paxton possesses all the talent in the world, he is not a dominant ace that opposing hitters will bow down to. Last season Paxton went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA and 208 Ks in 160.1 IP. He is a great fit for the Yankees as his problem over the years has been not getting deep into starts. As with most strikeout pitchers, Paxton struggled to get deep into games, averaging 5.2 IP per start last season. His ERA was much higher than the 2.98 ERA he posted in 2017, despite his WHIP going down slightly, and his H/9 (7.5) and BB/9 (2.4) staying exactly the same. Most of his advanced statistics were consistent year to year, making for an unusually large disparity between his 2017 and 2018 earned-run average.
The Yankees went all in for a pitcher that is already 30-years-old and has never logged more than 160.1 IP in a big league season. The Yankees have the lefty under team control for two full seasons before he hits free agency. Paxton is injury prone with a ton of upside. If I had to give a player comparison to Big Maple, I would say that the Yankees just got themselves a Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi has not had the successes that Paxton has had in the regular season but is two years younger and should peak at the same age.
Mariners Land Top Prospect in Sheffield
New York dealt their biggest prospect in Justus Sheffield, as well as two other prospects. Sheffield is a 22-year-old lefty with a ton of potential. He is expected to start the 2019 season on the Mariners’ roster as he is considered MLB ready. He got a taste of the majors by logging 2.2 IP at the end of the season in 2018 for the Yankees and will shift his focus to making an opening day roster. Sheffield went 7-6 with a 2.48 ERA in 25 games with Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last season.
The Yankees also sent Erik Swanson, a 25-year-old RHP who had a 2.66 ERA in 2018 between A, AA, and AAA ball. Both pitchers will compete for a spot in the rotation on opening day. 23-year-old CF Don Thompson-Williams was also shipped to Seattle after hitting .299 with 22 HRs, 74 RBIs and 20 steals in A-ball. This was a great trade for the Mariners considering they have chosen to enter a minor rebuild. The Mariners got two players who will compete for starting spots on the MLB roster, including a top prospect and a young outfielder that dominated the minor leagues in 2018.
Scott Neville – Head Baseball Writer – WTF Sports