BOB, GROZ AND TOM

Mariners pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr: James Paxton has better understanding of who he is

Feb 25, 2017, 5:39 PM
James Paxton benefited from a minor league stint last season, according to Mel Stottlemyre Jr. (AP)...
James Paxton benefited from a minor league stint last season, according to Mel Stottlemyre Jr. (AP)
(AP)

The one player on the Mariners pitching staff with significantly higher expectations this spring training compared to last is James Paxton, and that’s all because of what he was able to accomplish last season.

The lanky left-hander seemed to transform himself in 2016, utilizing some mechanical tweaks to great success. The result was 10 out of 20 outings that were quality starts, including six in which he lasted seven or more innings and gave up two or less runs.

‘Bob, Groz and Tom’: Will Felix Hernandez be the key to Mariners season?

Mariners pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. joined “Bob, Groz and Tom” on Thursday and said a lot of Paxton’s improvement had to do with an early-season stint in the minors.

“He struggled in the spring, so we sent him back to Triple-A to not only get him some confidence, but to try to get him to have some understanding that he’s got big stuff but he’s gotta be able to get himself in good counts, throw strikes and command his stuff,” Stottlemyre said.

There was a profound impact on Paxton that has helped the 28-year-old British Columbia native become more of a pitcher and less of a thrower.

“He’s always known he’s had great stuff; he never really had a feel for what he was trying to do with it,” Stottlemyre said. “He worked his butt off … and in the process, when he came back up, the confidence was there, it carried over in the pitches, and then you really started to see him kinda grow up and have a much better understanding of who he was.”

Who Paxton was, and now is, is a pitcher who can flirt with triple digits with his fastball, fool hitters left and right with a biting curve, and is more likely than not to go deep into a ball game. Aaccording to Stottlemyre, that was accomplished by Paxton learning more about what he’s trying to accomplish on the mound.

“He gained that understanding, specifically in the second half of the season, of who he was and what he needed to do,” Stottlemyre said. “He told me there was numerous times that he had a handle on his breaking ball, or he had a handle on the command of his fastball, or setting hitters up and understanding not only what he was trying to do, but he was able to do and execute.”

Date Starting Pitcher
Tuesday, September 27 @ 6:40 pm Mariners' Robbie Ray vs. Rangers' TBD

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
Light Rain Likely
High 68° | Low 55°
No game today.

Bob, Groz and Tom

Seahawks RB Chris Carson...
Brent Stecker

Heaps: Bench Chris Carson? Seahawks need him running to make playoffs

Seahawks running back Chris Carson is struggling with fumbles, and it's imperative he corrects the issue, says Jake Heaps. "If this team is going to go to the playoffs, they have to have Chris Carson running the football."
3 years ago
The Groz at T-Mobile Park...
Brent Stecker

Watch: The Groz throws out the 1st pitch before Mariners-Astros game

Dave "The Groz" Grosby was honored by the Mariners on Tuesday night by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. Check out video, photos and more from his big night here.
3 years ago
Bob, Groz and Tom...
SeattleSports.com Staff

Highlights from The Groz’s last show on Bob, Groz and Tom

Dave "The Groz" Grosby signed off as a full-time Seattle sports radio host Friday on Bob, Groz and Tom with visits from several notable names from his career.
3 years ago
The Groz...
SeattleSports.com Staff

Watch: Members of the Seattle sports media pay tribute to The Groz

Watch a special tribute to 710 ESPN Seattle's The Groz featuring messages from members of the Seattle sports media to commemorate his 29 years as a daily host in the market.
3 years ago
The Groz...
Brent Stecker

The Groz’s final show on Bob, Groz and Tom airs Friday at noon

Dave "The Groz" Grosby will finish up his 29-year career as a daily Seattle sports radio host on Friday from noon to 3 p.m. on 710 ESPN Seattle's Bob, Groz and Tom.
3 years ago
Mariners OF Kyle Lewis...
Brent Stecker

What sets Mariners OF Kyle Lewis apart from other prospects?

Mariners outfielder Kyle Lewis hit his fifth home run in eight games in the big leagues on Wednesday. ROOT Sports analyst Mike Blowers talked to Bob, Groz and Tom about Lewis and what makes him stand out.
3 years ago
Mariners pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr: James Paxton has better understanding of who he is