Top 10 Most Interesting Yankees in 2020: James Paxton
By Lincoln Mitchell
As a part of Start Spreading the News’ top 10 list of “players we are most excited to see what they do” in 2020, let’s take a quick look at James Paxton.
Gerrit Cole is the new Yankees ace, but James Paxton remains a key player for the Yankees. After coming over last off-season in a trade for to pitching prospect Justus Sheffield, Paxton quietly had a very good season for the Yankees going 15-6 with an ERA+ of 116 in 150 innings. That is not quite ace material, although Paxton showed some flashes of dominance, but those numbers are very good for a number three or even two starter. If Paxton can improve on those numbers in 2020, the Yankees will have a top of the rotation that can compete with any in the American League.
More than almost any player on the Yankees, Paxton is in a position to benefit from the short season. The long delay in starting the season allowed Paxton time to recover from a back injury that would have cost him the first part of 2020, had this been a normal season. Instead, he will be ready to pitch when the season starts. Moreover, the short season will create less stress on Paxton’s arm meaning the injury prone pitcher might be healthy for the whole (short) season.