James Paxton New York Yankees
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

James Paxton is confident that he can stay healthy and reach the 200-innings benchmark in his first season with the New York Yankees.

Aaron Case

New York Yankees starter James Paxton believes he can fly like the eagle that landed on him. The lefty aspires to throw 200 innings in 2019, a tall order for any starter these days, much less a guy known for injuries.

Paxton told the New York Post’s Joel Sherman about his bold plan:

“My goal is to get to the 200-inning range. I understand the bullpening and leverage, but I wonder if those relievers who are being pushed to constant two- and three-inning stints will run out of gas. I think it is still up to starters to provide innings.”

If Paxton is going to reach his innings goal, he’ll have to do two things. He must both stay healthy and pitch lights-out ball.

With career highs of 28 games and 160.1 innings (both in 2018), Paxton’s path to success is lengthy and uncharted. Various injuries have limited the 30-year-old to just 98 starts in his first five full years in the MLB.

The good news is that he’s steadily built endurance throughout his career. Paxton made 13 starts in the 2014 and 2015 seasons, 20 in the 2016 campaign, 24 in 2017, and 28 in 2018.

Bombers fans hope that trend continues in 2019. However, just being healthy and available isn’t enough for Paxton to reach 200 innings.

He must so well that manager Aaron Boone would look foolish for pulling him early.

A bullpen stuffed with closers looms behind every Yankees starter. Adam Ottavino, Zack Britton, Dellin Betances, and Chad Green will all be seeking innings behind Aroldis Chapman.

Boone will be slaughtered in the media every time he leaves his starter in one pitch too long.

Props to Paxton for aiming high. But he faces an uphill journey to 200 frames tossed in 2019.

[membership level="0"] [/membership]
Freelance editor and writer, and full-time Yankees fan. Originally from Monticello, NY, but now lives in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.