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LA Angels: 3 reasons to pursue James Paxton in free agency

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 15: James Paxton #65 of the New York Yankees in action against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on August 15, 2020 in New York City. New York Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox 11-5. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 15: James Paxton #65 of the New York Yankees in action against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on August 15, 2020 in New York City. New York Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox 11-5. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 15: James Paxton #65 of the New York Yankees in action against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on August 15, 2020 in New York City. New York Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox 11-5. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 15: James Paxton #65 of the New York Yankees in action against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on August 15, 2020 in New York City. New York Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox 11-5. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Rotation Fit

The Angels are looking for pitching options that could fit their very depleted rotation for 2021. James Paxton is a very good one because of his very good upside that has already been mentioned, another reason that Paxton is a good fit is because of his handedness. Paxton is a left-handed pitcher who’s fastball sat around 92 mph in 2020 but sat around 95-97 in prior years of his career, he has a good mix of pitches consisting of a cutter, changeup, and curveball.

His changeup gets a ton of swings and misses, he had a 53.8 whiff rate on the changeup in 2019 and had a stellar 68.4 whiff rate in his shortened 2020. The Angels could definitely use another left handed pitcher because they only have one, in Andrew Heaney.

Andrew Heaney is a very similar pitcher repertoire wise, his fastball sits around 91 mph and also throws a curveball and changeup. James Paxton would also benefit from the Angels use of the six-man rotation, as I have already mentioned Paxton has dealt with a ton of injuries over his career and the six-man rotation would lower his workload in the rotation.

I believe that more rest would help Paxton in more ways than one, he might be able to regain some velocity on his fastball based on him being healthy and getting more rest in between starts. If Paxton can be healthy, the Angels can have one of the better pitching rotations if they can add a Trevor Bauer type of pitcher. Although the Angels have quite a bit of work to do for the 2021 rotation, they definitely can get some high upside from Paxton who comes with very little risk.

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