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NorthWest Athlete Profile: James Paxton

From BC to Seattle

It is always good to see a kid from the North West end up with a local team.  That is just what has happened with Ladner, British Columbia native, James Paxton when he signed with the Seattle Mariners.

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Position: Left-handed Pitcher
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 200 lbs
Birthdate: November 6, 1988
Birthplace: Richmond, British Columbia
College: Kentucky

Paxton showed a high level of competence and a strong arm as a high school student with Delta Secondary School Pacers, but he really made a name for himself as a solid starter for the North Delta Blue Jays program in the British Columbia Premier Baseball League.

As a junior in high school he was awarded BCPBL Top Pitcher and first-team All-Star.

This was enough attention to attract the several Major League Baseball scouts as far back as 2005.  With his high nineties fastball and developing control he was expected to picked in the top seven rounds the following year, before an elbow injury kept him out of the running.

Paxton then chose to attend the University of Kentucky where he would split his time between baseball and an accounting degree.  He quickly moved into a starting role there as well.  In 2010 it seemed that nothing could go wrong for the young man.

He was a strikeout machine, posting a 13.22 strikeouts per nine innings. He was regarded as the top pitching prospect in 2009 and was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1st round the previous year which is a dream come true for any Canadian baseball fan.

Paxton should soon be pitching for the Mariners

There is a lot of speculation out there, but it seems that Paxton turned down an $800,000 signing bonus from Toronto.

He started working with the Agent, Scott Boras who was rumored to negotiate on behalf of the Paxton family with the Jays which is against the NCAA rules.

As a result, the deal fell through and Paxton was prevented from play in the NCAA league.  As it stands he is currently the highest drafted college level player to return to school.

He did play in the Independent Baseball League in Texas for the Grand Prairie Airhogs, but a lack of consistent playing time caused his control to suffer as well as the top end of his impressive fastball.

When he returned to the draft his declining skills and his reputation caused him to move out of consideration until the Seattle Mariners drafted him 132nd overall in the 4th round of the 2010 draft.

It took the two sides some time to come to an agreement but he ended up walking away with just short of a million signing bonus in 2011.  Which is A-Rod high.

Paxton was placed in the Seattle farm system and has been progressing well.

He and fellow Mariner prospect were selected to represent the M’s in the 2011 futures game.

Although the Seattle Mariners gave him a pretty strict inning limit this year, his control and velocity have both developing well and he is expected to be in contention for a big league job come 2012 spring training.

Want to learn more about this Northwest athlete? M’s fans can follow James Paxton (@james_paxton) on twitter as he builds his career.

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