Mets 1st Round Target - LHP - James Paxton

James Paxton – Kentucky… dominated SEC… 37.9% K 4.8% BB… born in Canada… 6-4, 210… 97 mph fastball, slurve, changeup… 4-0, 3.30, 47K/6BB/30.0 IP through March 2009… Through 3-25-09, Paxton is 4-0, 3.30 with 47 strikeouts and six walks in 30 innings. On March 20, he out-dueled Vanderbilt lefthander Mike Minor, striking out 10 in 6.2 innings… roughed up lately, but still touching 97 mph… From John Sickles: Paxton has an unattractive 5.40 ERA, but this is around average for his context, and his other numbers are sharp: 97/17 K/BB in 65 innings, 68 hits allowed, giving him K/IP, K/BB, and H/IP marks that are all very strong for the context in which he's pitching. His biggest weakness is a high home run rate, with 10 dingers given up. Paxton is 6-4, 215 and has been clocked as high as 95 MPH. He's from Canada and is a bit raw compared to some other college pitchers, but has a very high ceiling. He could go anywhere in the first or second round… for season: 5-2, 5.30, 109K, 20BB, 73.0IP… From Lincoln Hamilton’s Top 30 draftees… #11 (#3 LHP on list) - 6-foot-4 lefty with plus, plus velocity , dominating SEC (34.0% K 5.9% BB), long arm action… age: 20.5… May 25th ProjectProspect’s mock draft: 11) Colorado Rockies - James Paxton, LHP University of Kentucky The Rockies have gone surprisingly college-heavy in recent years, not taking a high school player last year until the 14th round. Even post-humidor, Coors Field is a tough place to pitch and the Rockies need pitchers who can get outs on their own. Paxton keeps the ball out of play, by striking everyone out. He could go much higher, but shouldn't last past Colorado with this pick.. 5-28 John Sickles: James Paxton, Kentucky: STRENGTHS: 92-96 MPH fastball, sharp curveball, good control, high strikeout rates in college ball, big and strong, from Canada so he has a fresher arm than most college guys. WEAKNESSES: Why does he have an ERA over 5.00? Vulnerable to home runs this year; needs a better changeup; Canadian background also means he needs more polish. Paxton is something of an enigma, but University of Kentucky pitchers actually have a pretty good track record, and despite the high ERA his K/BB and K/IP ratios are outstanding.

8-20: from www.rivals.yahoo.com: There’s no question Paxton always had the talent to be an excellent pitcher when he stepped on Kentucky’s campus. But his stock rose after having an impressive spring and compiling a great strikeout-to-walk ratio. With his stock at a high entering the draft, the Blue Jays chose the left-hander in the supplemental first round. Paxton may put together an even more impressive senior campaign, but there’s a very good chance he doesn’t get drafted as high next summer. He had the leverage the past two months, but didn’t get the deal he was looking for. UK is glad to have Paxton back, but time will tell if it was the best decision.

9-16: From www.baseballamrica.com : - College Top 25 draft prospects 7. James Paxton, lhp Kentucky

9-24: From: http://mlbresource.blogspot.com: Mock Draft Version 1.0 – 17th pick overall - James Paxton, LHP – Kentucky

9-28: From http://mlbresource.blogspot.com: - Mock Draft Version 2 - #5 pick overall - James Paxton, LHP – Kentucky - This is definitely the ceiling for Paxton as we will not go higher than this. Teams dream about building a rotation like Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz or Zito, Hudson, Mulder. Could Zack Greinke, Aaron Crow, and James Paxton be the next? If Drew Pomeranz gets here, the Royals should take him but with him off the board right now Paxton is the pick. The Royals top prospects all finished this season at Single-A Wilmington or Burlington and with Crow last year and Paxton this year who is a senior as well will rush in some older more big league ready talent.

10-5 from http://mlbbonusbaby.com: 19. Detroit Tigers – James Paxton, LHP, Kentucky – (3rd LHP pick in draft) - If the Tigers win tomorrow, then they slide two spots from here. I’m just guessing they’ll lose. Sorry Tiger fans. Anyway, Paxton is a strong-armed lefty and Boras client, and the Tigers like both. With better results to go with the plus stuff that Paxton flashed in 2009, he’ll probably improve his draft position from the supplemental first round slot he landed to the Blue Jays in the 2009 draft. Paxton isn’t your typical senior sign, as he’ll still just be 21 at the time of the draft, and he’s still unlocking the potential he has after years in an even colder climate than Kentucky. He’s a probable first-rounder to at least a team with multiple early picks after the free agent signings shake out.

10-5 from http://baseballdraftreport.com: - top 50 prospects in 2010 draft – #24 – James Paxton – 3rd LHP on list

10-13 from www.mymlbdraft.com: 2010 MLB Mock Draft - #7 – (2nd LHP picked) - James Paxton

10-24 from www.baseballrumormll.com: - top 10 prospects: - 10. (only LHP on list) James Paxton, RHP (sic), Kentucky: Paxton was originally taken with the 37th overall pick in the 2009 draft, but was unable to sign with the Blue Jays and has returned to Kentuckey for his senior year. Paxton is a hard thrower who also has a good slider, but needs to improve his control.

11-2 from www.perfectgame.com: - Future Scout Sully said: Here is my list of the Top 50 in the class. I have seen almost every one of these players. Went out to AFLAC for the week, saw team usa play, and went to many cape games: - 24- LHP James Paxton (3rd LHP on list)

11-3 from www.mlbresource.com: 3rd Mock draft – #18 - James Paxton, LHP - Kentucky - Seattle at this point will have a ton of choices. I just look at their lack of depth in left handed pitching in their system and Paxton immediately provides that upgrade. Josh Osich out of Oregon State could be another possibility. (3rd LHP on list)

11-4 from: www.baseballamerica.com: - Paxton was already drafted in the supplemental first round as a junior in 2009, but he could climb into the top 10 overall picks if he can be more consistent as a junior. But he was limited in fall ball after having his knee scoped in August and then coming down with mononucleosis. He was throwing again by late October, but the Wildcats did not plan to give him any action in live intrasquads.

11-17 from www.mlbdraft.blogspot.com: - 10.Oakland Athletics- James Paxton, LHP, Kentucky - Paxton was taken in the first round last year, but didn't sign. A power lefty who can hit upper 90s, Paxton will be the first senior taken on draft day. However, Paxton will still be 21 by the signing deadline, and he still has yet to open his true potential. He has a good fastball/slider mix that he uses well, and a developing change up as well. (3rd LHP picked)

11-18 from www.macksmets.blogspot.com: - 27. LHP James Paxson – the last of the top LHPs in this draft. (4th LHP on list)

11-20 from www.draftamerica.com: - 18. Seattle -- James Paxton, LHP, Univ. of Kentucky. Paxton showed mid-90s velocity last spring before falling-off in the second half, and a solid spring could place him solidly in the first round and fair game for an organization that covets power stuff.

11-23 from www.deepleagues.com: - #11 - Toronto Blue Jays James Paxton (P, Kentucky) (2nd LHP on list)

12-15 from www.5tooltalk.com: Mock Draft – 1st round: - 25 Cardinals James Paxton LHP NCAA

1-7-9: Morisato's 2010 MLB Mock Draft - Version 1.0 - 19th Overall – The Detroit Tigers - James Paxton (LHP), Kentucky - Provided that he’s not suspended by the NCAA in their continued attack on amateurs that turn to agents for future career advice, Paxton is likely gone here. Paxton has potetial Number Two starter stuff. He throws in the mid 90’s, touching 98, and features a solid curveball and a changeup. He is also represented by Scott Boras. There are some concerns about Paxton that go beyond the money issue. He has had several injury issues, which have cropped up among Canadian pitchers (see Rich Harden and Eric Bedard, who saw their markets plummet this off-season). As a result, he’s probably going to fall to the back of the first round, unless his stock really rises.

2010 MLB DRAFT MOCK DRAFT- 12/31/09 – www.jjscouting.com - 10. Oakland Athletics- James Paxton, LHP, Kentucky - Paxton was taken in the first round last year (Blue Jays), but didn't sign. A power lefty who can hit upper 90s, Paxton will be the first senior taken on draft day. However, Paxton will still be 21 by the signing deadline, and he still has yet to open his true potential. He has a good fastball/slider mix that he uses well, and a developing change up as well.

1-1-9 update: - -I think we’re all well-versed in the James Paxton situation by now, but I just wanted to touch on it quickly. There’s a lot more volatility in what might happen between now and February 19 (Kentucky’s opener), and more prospects than Paxton have roles on that team that are on the line. The Wildcats carry four highly-scouted pitchers including Paxton, with Alex Meyer, Logan Darnell, and Braden Kapteyn all having their possible roles undefined in the event of a Paxton suspension. Darnell’s the only 2010 pitcher in the bunch, but this sort of fluidity has a big impact on a team.

1-1-9 from www.draftsite.com: #7 Arizona James Paxton LHP Kentucky 6'4" 215 L,L

1-15-0 from http://mlbbonusbaby.com: - 12. Cincinnati Reds – Chris Sale, LHP, Florida Gulf Coast – Sale established himself among the elite of college pitchers with an excellent summer on the Cape, and with the slight fall of Drew Pomeranz in some scouting circles, he’s found himself at the top of the lefty pitching pile. He’s got good upside and projection, along with current production, and the Reds have been working to build young pitching from within over the past few years. This is a solid match. Previously: #10.

1-15-9 from http://baseballdraftreport.com: - #17 Tampa Bay Rays: LHSP Chris Sale – Florida Gulf Coast - I’d love to check in on Sale’s actual groundball numbers. Every scouting report him mentions his ability to induce weak contact for easy ground outs. That’s an excellent trait for a pitcher to have. Do the scouting reports jive with’s really happening on the field? I mentioned how everybody considers Ranaudo a groundball pitcher because he is big guy who throws on what appears to be a downward plane, but the numbers don’t support it. Sale’s reports mention the groundballs specifically, so I’m way more inclined to believe that he has the skill. Time to start digging through the game logs!

This may be as low as we see Sale on a mock on this site all year. His stuff is going to be too good to keep him from suffering from any post-helium backlash.

1-15-0 from http://mlbbonusbaby.com: - 25. St. Louis Cardinals – James Paxton, LHP, Kentucky – I might not be writing that Paxton is from Kentucky for much longer. It will be sad if Paxton truly becomes the latest victim of the NCAA, as Paxton has admirably come back for a senior year of college, despite a substantial offer from Toronto in August. Scott Boras is definitely a factor here, but if Paxton falls this far due to being unable to be on the field or having a similarly rough year to Andy Oliver’s 2009, he won’t be an early pick. There’s enough concern already to force him down this far. Previously: #19.

1-15-9 from http://baseballdraftreport.com: - #29 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: LHSP James Paxton – Kentucky - Pretty uneventful past couple of months for Paxton, huh? As we wait and see whether Paxton’s legal team decides to appeal to NCAA’s decision to keep him off the Kentucky roster in 2010, we can take some time to speculate on his professional future. I know I already made the comparison earlier in the mock with Jesse Hahn, but Paxton and Aroldis Chapman probably match up better from an overall talent perspective. Like Chapman, Paxton’s realistic floor is that of a late inning, shutdown reliever. That’s clearly not a floor to be taken lightly. Paxton’s current two-pitch combo (fastball at 92-98 MPH, low-80s plus slider) make him a good enough to pitch in the big leagues right now. The issues with Paxton come down to fastball command and the lack of a consistent third pitch (the change is a work in progress). Getting a chance to address those issues in the SEC this upcoming season could potentially do Paxton’s draft stock a world of good, especially considering the way he directly addressed one of the biggest concerns to his game (control) in 2009 by nearly cutting his BB/9 in half.

If Paxton’s floor is a big league reliever, his upside is a front of the rotation anchor, especially if he shows progress with the changeup this season. I’m always in favor of trying pitchers as starters first and position players at more demanding defensive positions before moving them elsewhere. Paxton’s ability to hold his velocity late (I’ve seen him hitting the high-90s as late as the sixth inning, for what it’s worth) make him worth trying as a starter until he proves that his stuff plays better in the bullpen…or not.


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