Originally written on SeaTown Sports  |  Last updated 7/5/12

Editor's note: SeaTown Sports correspondent Kevin Neuzil is living in Tennessee for the summer, and put on the scouting hat on Tuesday while he watched the Mariners Double-A affiliate, the Jackson Generals face the Montgomery Biscuits. Neuzil kept his eyes on prized Mariners prospect, pitcher James Paxton. What follows are his observations and notes while he watched Paxton on Tuesday.

1st inning:

  • Five straight fastballs to first batter, mid 90s.
  • First curve a little loopy, just missed on a good change.
  • Third batter really fooled on a change up out of the zone, another groundout.

2nd inning:

  • First batter singles to deep right on a decent change up.
  • Good location on fastballs so far.
  • Threw his fourth change up, not one for a strike yet. Make that five.
  • No hitter has had a good swing on his fastball.
  • Cheap slow roller down 3rd line for a hit.
  • Nice double play off a well placed fastball and weak groundball.

3rd inning:

  • Two good breaking balls for first K.
  • First good change up, right on outside corner. R
  • Real quick inning, very efficient with good tempo on mound.

4th inning:

  • Much better breaking ball this inning, better location with good break, not overly sharp though.
  • Got last two batters out with it.
  • Fastball still with good velocity

Final stat line: 4 innings, 2 hits, 0 earned runs, 2 strikeouts

 

Finishing thoughts:

  • Efficient pitcher and no walks. Very promising. Only one batter made decent contact. Final pitch count was 62.
  • His velocity is pretty good. Sat around 92-94 all game, touching 96.  The change-up was 81-83 which isn't fast but he doesn't change his motion or arm speed to throw it so should be effective when he can locate it (which I didn't see at all). Curve was low-eighties as well which is a bit slower than you'd like to see but not by much and it was good enough where even though he didn't have the best location, it was enough to induce some weak contact and swinging strikes.
  • The fastball success was probably a combination of speed and location. 94 is by no means slow but most hitters are going to be able to get around on it unless its well placed, which from what I saw it definitely was. He was able to throw it inside and out, to both righties and lefties, and when he missed (which was rare) he missed out of the zone, not over the plate.
  • I think he needs to work on mixing his pitches up (at least from the small sample I saw). There was a point mentioned it in the notes where he threw five straight fastballs to a batter, which no matter how well placed in the majors that just won't work.  Change-up location at least on tuesday was also a pretty significant question mark. While it's clear his curveball is an effective pitch for him, I'm  interested as to why he didn't go to it more. He was only in for four innings which might partially explain the high fastball use, especially if he was expecting to go deeper into the game.
  • I would guess he finishes the year in AA, starts in Tacoma next year and has the chance to be a late-season call-up depending on how he
    does.
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