New York Yankees left-hander James Paxton wasn’t going to be ready for the original MLB opening day due to surgery but should be when the season gets going. Here are two props available to wager at Mybookie on Paxton’s and the Yankees’ 2020 MLB season – assuming there is one – and an overview.
James Paxton Awards Odds & Analysis For 2020 Season
In November 2018, the Yankees acquired the big left-hander Paxton from the Seattle Mariners for prospects Justus Sheffield, Erik Swanson and outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams. Paxton had followed a breakout 2017 campaign by going 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA in 28 starts in 2018, including a May 8 no-hitter over Toronto.
Though injuries have been a concern for the Canadian-born hurler, Paxton set a career high in 2018 with 160 1/3 innings while collecting his first 200-strikeout campaign, with 208.
Paxton was very good for the Bombers in 2019 in finishing 15-6 with a 3.82 ERA in 29 starts. He set career highs in wins and starts and tied for eighth in the AL in wins. He won 10 consecutive starts from 8/2-9/21, the longest streak of his career and longest by any Major League pitcher in the last eight seasons.
On April 16 vs. Boston and April 21 vs. Kansas City, Paxton became just the second Yankees pitcher ever to record back-to-back games with at least 12K (also David Cone in 1998). He added a third 12K-game on Sept. 3 vs. Texas.
Paxton’s 11.07 K/9.0IP ratio (550K/447.0IP) since 2017 ranks sixth among pitchers with at least 300.0IP in that span (Chris Sale-13.21, Max Scherzer-12.29, Robbie Ray-12.09, Gerrit Cole-11.67 and Justin Verlander-11.32). He has recorded a sub-4.00 ERA in every season of his career.
Paxton started Game 1 of the ALDS vs. Minnesota, becoming the first Yankees pitcher to start the club’s first postseason game in his first season with the club, joining CC Sabathia (2009 ALDS), David Cone (1995 ALDS), Jim Beattie (1978 ALCS), Don Gullett (1977 ALCS), Spec Shea (1947 World Series) and Bullet Joe Bush (1922 World Series).
Paxton settled for a no-decision in Game 1 of the ALDS, giving up three runs on five hits over 4 2/3 innings against the Twins. He racked up eight strikeouts on the night while issuing just one free pass. Paxton struggled to keep the ball in the yard against the Twins with Jorge Polanco belting a solo homer in the opening inning and Nelson Cruz adding another in the third.
Paxton also started twice in the ALCS vs. Houston. He allowed a run on four hits over 2 1/3 innings in a no-decision in Game 2. In Game 5, Paxton racked up nine strikeouts over six stellar innings of one-run baseball. He scattered four hits and four walks on the night.
This offseason, Paxton and the Yankees avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $12.5 million contract. It’s a large pay raise for Paxton in what was his final year of arbitration eligibility.
The southpaw was not going to be ready for the original Opening Day as Paxton underwent a microscopic lumbar discectomy in early February and was ruled out 3-4 months. He has been back throwing bullpen sessions and should be ready whenever the season starts. He appears to be a strong bet for the No. 2 spot in the Yankees’ rotation.
“James Paxton has done great,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “feel really good about the decision to go ahead with the surgery. In every step of the way, it’s gone pretty smoothly for him. I think he threw his fifth bullpen the other day and continues to report that it’s going really well.”
In the prime of his career with a fastball that sits at 97 mph and a cutter set up nicely by his redefined knuckle-curve, Paxton would be an obvious candidate for the Yankees to try and extend a contract to, but that back injury probably scuttled those plans.
The team will wait and see how he looks this season. Paxton has been on the IL nine times in his six-plus seasons in the big leagues. Over the past year, Paxton has been shut down with a left forearm strain, a left pectoral strain and lower back inflammation.