Found April 10, 2014 on Fantasy Sports Locker Room:
PLAYERS: James Paxton
TEAMS: Seattle Mariners

Yes, he’d given up three runs through five innings but with just four hits allowed, in line for the win, and throwing 40 strikes on 59 pitches James Paxton was more or less cruising through another start. Then, the injury imp reared its ugly head. In the days since Tuesday’s start, the rookie (four starts last year) has been placed on the 15 day disabled list with a lat strain. Owners (he is currently available in 53% of Yahoo! leagues) of the promising Mariner can expect roughly a month of recovery time. For those with an open DL slot, the decision is fairly easy. For those without it, or who end up with another injury on their roster in the recovery period, things get more complicated. My take: find the room, keep him on your bench, and as the season progresses you’ll be happy you did. In six career starts, the 25 year old has held opponents scoreless three times and has never given up more than three runs. It seemed that Paxton was picking up right where he left off last year, after an impressive 24 inning cameo in which he posted a 1.50 ERA and struck out 21 batters in 24 innings (21:7 K/BB ratio). His resume already includes a 7 inning, 10 K shut out against Kansas City to close his 2013 season. This year, he’s 2-0 with three runs yielded through 12 innings, with 13 Ks relative to eight hits and walks through twelve innings. The future is bright for Paxton and owners who exercise patience with his injury will find themselves happy they did. Last season, he threw 169 combined innings between the Minor and Major leagues and as such he should be expected to go the distance when he returns, provided another injury doesn’t pop up. Sure, his career ERA is inflated by a LOB% that is unsustainable over a full season (88.5% of runners last year, 96.2% stranded this year) but his six start sample size shows a pitcher with plenty of potential. With a fastball that has averaged over 94 MPH across two seasons and a curve ball that FanGraphs grades in the black, Paxton has two strong pitches. He’ll work to develop a cutter and change that have been thrown into the mix on rare occasions (74.8% fastballs to date in his Major League career) and figures to be a strong mid-rotation arm for the team this year with the chance to develop moving forward. Find the room for him on your bench, if in doubt. You’ll be glad that you did.   While we’re on the topic of young pitchers to note: Garrett Richards had another strong start for the Angels, against Paxton’s M’s last night, giving up just one hit and striking out six across seven innings. He has now allowed just one run across two starts and plays on an Angels squad that figures to improve their W/L total over last season. If you have the space on your roster, its worth taking a flier on the 9% owned Richards to see where this story goes. The post Preaching patience: Weather the storm with James Paxton’s lat injury appeared first on Fantasy Sports Locker Room.

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