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Photo: Jon Wells

#65

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James Paxton

James Alston Paxton

Height: 6'4"    Weight: 220

Bats/Throws: Left / Left

Born: 11/06/1988 in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada

College: University of Kentucky

Nickname: Big Maple

Acquired: Drafted 2010 (4th round)

MLB Debut: 09/07/2013

Free Agent after: 2020 season

Twitter handle: @James_Paxton

Felix Hernández may be the King, but Big Maple is the new ace. The southpaw from suburban Vancouver, BC, was dominating the American League last year before he was bit once more by the injury bug and missed a month with a strained pectoral muscle. Staying off the disabled list has been a consistent challenge for Paxton, but when he's healthy he is among the very best the game has to offer, as evidenced by his record-tying seven wins in seven consecutive starts last July and August. In 2017, Paxton was the only pitcher in the Majors with two streaks of 18+ shutout innings (23 in April, 21 in July/August).

His goal is to pitch 200 innings this season. To do that he'll need to make a full campaign's worth of starts, and he knows that will involve discipline. "It’s all about limiting the amount of inflammation your body experiences after starts and in between them,” Paxton said. “If I can just find more of those little things that can add up to me staying healthy, that’s the goal." Among those little things are reducing if not eliminating dairy products from his diet, bikram yoga, and a "muscle activation technique" program he learned about from Hisashi Iwakuma. "Everyone has their own ideas. I try to sift through things and try the stuff I want to try. I’m going to continue to try and learn and incorporate things that could possibly help me.”

TH