Cactus League Game 8, Indians at Mariners

marc w · March 5, 2014 at 11:45 am · Filed Under Mariners 

James Paxton vs. Travis Banwart

At this point, James Paxton seems to be slotted in the M’s rotation and it would take an odd set of circumstances for him to start off in the bullpen or Tacoma. As his performance in his call-up showed, he’s blessed with extraordinary talent, but results – or rather, consistent results – have often lagged his “stuff.” Part of that’s been command problems (the projections systems, using his minor league track record, forecast a big increase in his walk rate in 2014), part of it’s been injuries, and a part seems to be that he’s susceptible to swings in velocity.

All of these factors came together when he was first drafted in 2009. He was hitting the mid-high 90s with Kentucky, and posted a 115-20 K:BB ratio in 78 1/3, but gave up 83 hits, 11 HRs and *52* runs that season too. He failed to sign with Toronto, but was barred from returning to college when Toronto mentioned that they’d had direct talks with Scott Boras and, in a preview of the Ben Wetzler situation this year, the NCAA said Paxton’s lost his amateur status. So he signed on with an indy league team, and this time his so-so results matched some so-so scouting reports (specifically, it sounded like , and that led to his draft stock falling significantly; the M’s grabbed him in the 4th round.

Last spring, his velocity dropped again – from 95 in the 2012 Arizona Fall League to 90 in Peoria the following February/March. If he’s on, Paxton can help the M’s compete for a wild card. If it takes him half a season to get his mechanics to click, or to build arm strength, then he and the M’s will suffer. As I mentioned a few days ago, he’s clearly ahead of last year’s pace – velocity wise – but how he looks throughout March is going to be a big story. Er, big for the Cactus League, anyway.

Travis Banwart is a non-roster invitee who came to Cleveland after toiling for years in the Oakland system. Banwart was a rotation cog for the Sacramento RiverCats for the past four years, but couldn’t crack the A’s solid roster. If he stays with Cleveland, he may get to spend some time in the International League and hang out in a different state capital.

1: Almonte, CF
2: Seager, 3B
3: Cano, 2B
4: Smoak, 1B
5: Morrison, DH
6: Ackley, LF
7: Saunders, RF
8: Franklin, SS
9: Zunino, C
SP: Paxton

Speaking of guys who’ve put in a lot of PCL time, Mike Curto was the guest on the BP daily podcast today. The episode’s dedicated to examining the M’s chances in 2014, and after Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller chatted with Curto, there’s also an interview with Ryan Divish. Check it out here.


12 Responses to “Cactus League Game 8, Indians at Mariners”

  1. unkrusty on March 5th, 2014 12:52 pm

    Paxton throwing in mid-90s according to MLB Game Day.

  2. Westside guy on March 5th, 2014 1:17 pm

    The Mariners seem to have some luck when it comes to facing crap pitchers in spring training. 😀

    Alternatively, maybe most of the opposing pitchers are working on stuff during spring, and the M’s take advantage of that.

    I listened to that BP podcast on my way in to work today. I quite enjoyed it.

  3. Westside guy on March 5th, 2014 2:09 pm

    Uh oh… Cleveland just tied it.

    Don’t have to worry about extra innings during spring, though!

  4. Westside guy on March 5th, 2014 2:36 pm

    Montero the Masher is in at first base!

  5. MrZDevotee on March 5th, 2014 5:42 pm

    “Masher”- def. someone who eats LOTS of mashed potatoes during the offseason.

  6. rowlandice on March 5th, 2014 5:53 pm

    Well today Paxton looked sharp. As Marc pointed out, if he can show any consistency start to start, he should be pretty good. In my opinion, Chis Taylor looks like the future shortstop. He’s really smooth out there with glove and shows both patience at the plate looking for a pitch to hit and swinging hard when he gets it.

  7. californiamariner on March 5th, 2014 8:58 pm

    Don’t think we need a future shortstop when we have Brad Miller!

  8. californiamariner on March 5th, 2014 8:58 pm

    Don’t think we need a future shortstop when we have Brad Miller!

  9. MrZDevotee on March 6th, 2014 10:54 am

    Having TOO many guys who profile as a decent MLB SS who can hold their own at the plate is one of those future type problems I’m willing to deal with…

    So much so I don’t mind ending sentences with prepositions.

  10. LongDistance on March 6th, 2014 11:13 am

    The with in “deal with” is actually an integral part of a two-word, phrasal verb, of which English has a buttload of… like the verbs “fill up”, “beat up”, “break out”… etc. The “with” is no longer a preposition. It’s a particle.

    A particle being the catch-all phrase for anything we can’t define.

    Like, for example, the possibility that today’s line-up resembles our regular game-day line-up… and whether Miller’s a gamer, or a particle.

  11. MrZDevotee on March 6th, 2014 1:24 pm

    You forgot “break up” which fans and the Mariners often flirt with.

    (Hey I did it again… Nifty.)

  12. jonw on March 8th, 2014 9:34 am

    That’s hilarious and it made reading this non new – news absolutely worthwhile. thanks

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